SITUATION ANALYSIS OF CSEC IN BELIZE Literature review of studies, reports, laws and policies addressing CSEC. Focus group discussion of DHS social workers involved in CSEC and trafficking. Interview of youth regarding perception of CSEC. Interview of community activist involved with working with victims. 2002 – Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children: Belize 2004 – Vulnerability Analysis of Children and Adolescents in Belize 2006 – The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Belize – only published study on the subject 2006 – BTB/Rainforest Alliance sensitisation of hotel operators 2007 – Draft Law Bill prohibiting CSEC 2007 – 2009 – Pilot project with YES to remove 100 victims from CSEC activities 2008- Care Model Protocol for Stakeholders 2007 -2009 – Media campaign and public awareness; sensitisation of Police, social workers, teachers and other stakeholders 2008-2009- ECPAT/BTB – sensitisation of resort operators 2008 – National Child Labour Policy – Labour Department initiative to address CSEC one of the worst forms of child labour 2009 – DHS took over responsibility of victims from the pilot project and appointed social worker to coordinate response. CSEC remains one of the worst human rights violations facing children and adolescents in Belize in 2010. DEMOGRAPHICS AND LANGUAGE ◦ Preliminary findings of 2010 census – population of 350,000 ◦ About one third of population is resident in Belize District but majority of the population lives in rural communities with a slight increase in urban centers since the last census in 2000. ◦ Marked increase of migrant communities. ◦ The official language is English, however, Spanish is the most spoken language . ◦ Belize is ethnically diverse with Hispanics being over 50% of the entire population; Creoles over 25% ; Maya over 10%; Garifuna over 6% with smaller percentages of East Indians, Chinese, Europeans , Mennonite, etc. ◦ Such strong ethnic identification and sensibilities must be addressed in program design and service delivery. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONTEXT ◦ Preliminary findings of 2010 CPA - over 44% of population below the poverty line, an increase of more than 10% since the last CPA. ◦ Persons living below the poverty line have severe difficulty meeting basic food and non-food needs such as rent, utility bills, education and medical care. Poverty is the main contributing factor of CSEC ◦ Most persons living in poverty live in variations of the extended family including step-father couple relationships; visiting father relationships and families extended by informal adoptions. ◦ Communities are becoming more urbanised and are losing the support that subsistence agriculture, culture of social sharing and strong biological ties provided to extended families in traditional rural communities. The reduction of international demand for tourism products, sugar, seafood and other agricultural products have left entire communities dependent on these products without the primary means of support for families and have acerbated the effects of the worldwide economic recession in Belize and means less public and private resources for the social sector. ◦ The increase proliferation of bars and nightclubs in peri-urban and rural communities reflect erosion of traditional values that provide strong family support and protection for children. Children under 12 years being sexually molested in exchange for sweets and food and other personal items. Families are usually not aware of this crime taking place. Children under 12 years selling food and other items or shining shoes or begging for money and food on the streets engage in CSEC when they don’t acquire enough money to contribute to the family income. In this case, families are either aware or not aware of this crime taking place. Adolescents having relationships (encouraged and approved by parents) with older persons who provide for them economically. The family receives benefits from this relationship which is reported to be prevalent among rural Mestizo and Latino communities in Belize. Adolescents having sex with one or more recognized partners in exchange for food, school fees, “bling bling”, or social status. The family benefits from this sexual activity. Adolescent students being solicited for CSEC activities during and after regular school hours. They leave school on the pretext of being ill to engage in this activity and have intermediaries who set up the contact with perpetrators. Families are either aware or not aware of this crime taking place. Adolescents exhibiting “uncontrollable behavior” partly constituted by engaging in sexual activity that cannot be controlled by the parent or guardian. Parents or guardians in these cases do not know what to do about the behavior. Adolescents left on their own to survive have no parents or guardians at home with them (either permanently or intermittently) to provide for their economic and social needs so they engage in CSEC activities to pay for food, utilities, and school fees. Adolescents referred to as “street-walkers” who target tourists as clients or who frequent bars and other locations where mostly older men pick them up for CSEC “services”. Immigrant adolescents working in bars as “waitresses” or “dancers”. This group lives in fear of police raids and the possibility of deportation. There are elements of trafficking in persons that are related to these cases. Adolescents engaging in pornography as an economic activity. Not much was reported to be known about this type of CSEC activity in Belize. Paid Sexual Intercourse with children and adolescents Child Pornography via DVD, internet images, magazines, posters, phones, movies Nude dancing and other exotic dancing in bars and nightclubs Private dance shows Exotic massages Poverty - key informants indicate that faced with situations of extreme poverty, CSEC becomes a means to survive. Family Breakdown Gender Issues Social and Peer Pressure Cultural Values/Breakdown in morality Migration Lack of Recreation and Positive Social Outlets for adolescents Increased teen-age pregnancy and abortion rates Increased number of babies being given up for adoption. Increased risk and incidence of STDs and HIV transmissions to younger populations Further family breakdown and increased number of single parent female headed households. Increased drug use and abuse amongst victims seeking to self medicate Increased risk of developing and learning disabilities to children born to younger mothers who due to poverty do not have an appropriate pre-natal and post natal diet. 2010 Nutrition Survey now revealing this as well as the Height Survey. Increased levels of mental health issues amongst adolescents. Increased levels of rebellion and resistance amongst adolescents who are often brought into the juvenile justice system as “uncontrollable” Increased number of school drop outs FAMILY - Survey of victims for the 2006 study found that a majority of the victims were from families where the main income earner worked in low paying jobs or in the informal economy working such jobs as farmers, sanitation workers, labourers, bar workers, sanitation workers or were economically dependent on men for survival or the main income earners were involved in the sex trade. EDUCATION - None of the victims in that study had completed high school and half of the victims did not complete even primary school. ◦ The main reasons for quitting school was poverty, failing or not doing well in school, running away from home, sexual abuse, parents refusing to send the child or adolescent to school. ◦ Only one of those victims who had quit primary school reported that a teacher tried to find out why they had quit school. HEALTH – 2/3 of the victims in the study accessed health care but only for treatment of pregnancies, venereal diseases, substance abuse issues or mental health issues and except for HIV testing, only sought medical care when they experienced a medical problem. About half of the victims in the study reported having experienced physical and psychological aggression. Not all these respondents accessed health services in relation to either physical or psychological aggression from exploiters during CSEC activities that they were involved in. Of those who accessed health services, 1/3 thought the service was inadequate and felt there was no follow up from social services SEXUAL EXPERIENCES BEFORE 12 – 12 was the average age at which victims in the study became involved in CSEC. However, 1/3 of the victims had experienced sexual abuse before the age of 12 and most of the perpetrators were relatives or acquaintances Of those who had experienced sexual abuse only two cases had been reported and assistance provided to victims by institutions in the form of counseling services. In all the cases, the perpetrators were men, victims were mostly female with two male victims There were also 2 cases of incest which lasted for several years again with male perpetrators INCOME FROM CSEC- income varied significantly amongst those in the survey – from $20 to $300. Whatever income earned had to be shared with others including parents, siblings and other sex workers CSEC was the primary source of income for 2/3 of the victims in the study CLIENT EXPLOITERS – More than 2/3 of the exploiters were men between the ages of 22 and 50, 2 were over 50 and 3 were under 22. More than ½ of the exploiters were from the same districts as the victims. Most of the victims were contacted directly by exploiters via phone and internet and most of the CSEC activity took place at the exploiter’s house Definition of Trafficking of Persons: ◦ UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime “a) “trafficking of persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of explotation” Trafficking is not synonymous with CSEC, ... Sexual exploitation of local children Sexual, economic and labour exploitation of children and adults transported from other regions Child pornography CSEC Removal of organs Sex tourism Labour exploitation Local exploiters Sex shows Illegal adoptions Forced marriages … but overlap exists Commercial sexual exploitation of children that have been trafficked Trafficking The persons that use, procure or offer a child under 18 years for exploitation. • Local and national “client”-exploiters • Foreign and tourist “client”-exploiters • Producers and users of child pornography • Pimps • Traffickers • Promotors and facilitators of sex tourism • Intermediaries PUBLIC EDUCATION ON CSEC GAPS IN LEGISLATION AND POLICY LACK OF SERVICES LACK OF RESOURCES TRAINING NEEDS INADEQUATE DATA COLLECTION BREAKDOWN IN THE MULTI-SECTORAL RESPONSE PUBLIC EDUCATION ON CSEC ◦ Stakeholders remark that the consistent public education and media saturation against CSEC between 2007 and 2009 has waned and that has increased tolerance of CSEC in communities. ◦ Renewed public awareness to educate the public on the rights of victims, where to report and where help can be accessed is urgently needed. ◦ Public awareness campaigns must also address issues contributing to men being the main exploiters of children and adolescents for CSEC. GAPS IN LEGISLATION AND POLICY ◦ At present no laws explicitly criminalising CSEC. The draft law bill on CSEC has not yet been enacted, reports are that it will be merged with the existing Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act. ◦ The existing Criminal Code, which contains the main law on sexual offences, criminalises the victim’s behaviour and does not adequately sanction perpetrators of sex crimes against adolescents and children ◦ There is still no Police Department policy manual, which covers intervention and investigation of CSEC and other sex crimes, yet the Police is an arm of the dual track response in the child protection system. ◦ Urgent need to standardise laws defining “child”, age of consent, age of marriage, minimum age for work. LACK OF SERVICES ◦ Lack of trained trauma counselor attached to any public hospital, clinic, Youth Hostel or counseling facility. ◦ Inadequate access to counseling and other health services for children and adolescents. ◦ Lack of affordable medical care in both urban and rural areas – reports that contraceptives are sold at some clinics, reports that fees charged at some public clinics to access services. ◦ Other problems in accessing health care include lack of confidentiality, cost of transportation to facility, long waiting periods at clinics. LACK OF RESOURCES ◦ Social Workers indicate that there is inadequate staffing to properly address CSEC cases which require more intensive one on one intervention and more provision of services at the victim’s location than in office. ◦ Also lack of resources to properly address needs of victims and families for rent assistance, food assistance, clothing and education assistance. Social workers indicate no separate fund for CSEC victims and families as exist for trafficking victims ◦ Inadequate resources to provide re-training of families to wean them from CSEC activities and no fund to help them transition. ◦ Inadequate resources to provide educational support to at risk families to keep them out of CSEC. Not only addressing crisis cases where they are already in CSEC. TRAINING NEEDS- ◦ Re-training of Police, social workers and health care providers on the Care Model Protocols as most of those who received the original training have been rotated to other divisions. ◦ Training programs for families for alternative income generation. ◦ Training programs for families on how to parent adolescents with behavioural issues. ◦ More training for counselors and psych nurses on mental issues faced by victims. ◦ Re-training for Doctors on how to do medical examinations, complete medico-legal form and give evidence in Court. INADEQUATE DATA COLLECTION ◦ No National Database adequately tracking CSEC. ◦ Many of the cases are reported as sexual abuse and are logged as CSEC after the investigation is done confirming the presence of the indicators. ◦ No automatic data collection ◦ Data from districts is uploaded when cases are supervised ◦ Data from hospitals, clinics etc who treat victims not centralised, no overall picture of the incidence of CSEC exists. ◦ Counseling provided by clinics etc,. will not indicate if counseling need arises from CSEC. Need standardise data collection for all stakeholders BREAKDOWN IN THE MULTI-SECTORAL RESPONSE ◦ Police and DHS not always working together to provide dual response. Police complain that social workers take too long to respond when called by Police, Social Workers complain that Police do not have standard response procedure but rely on Social Workers to tell them what to do. ◦ Complaints by both Police and Social Workers that Health sector does not follow agreed practice to facilitate medical exams and protect privacy of victims. ◦ Complaints that not enough alternative education programs for victims to re-enter the school system to facilitate continued education when they have been out of school for extended periods of time. Some schools will not allow reentry where student does not have adequate documentation such as social security and birth registration. ◦ Social workers not always facilitate at the Births Registry BREAKDOWN IN THE MULTI-SECTORAL RESPONSE ◦ Greater collaboration needed with other agencies to provide housing assistance to families, develop and maintain support groups for parents. ◦ Psych nurses will not provide services unless they certify that adolescent has a mental disorder, often adolescents have mental issues but no disorder and cannot get medication ◦ Magistrates in districts often rule in interest of parents and do not follow SIR recommendations ◦ Need more involvement with DPP to secure convictions ◦ Main complaint is the lack of implementation of recommendations made in previous studies. CSEC must be aggressively addressed and eradicated if the next generation is to be able to break the cycle of poverty and if the rights of children and adolescents are to be enforced so that achieve their true developmental potential. The cause cannot be more right , the situation cannot be more dire, the time for action cannot be more urgent. Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!