Terminology guidelines for the protection of children

Terminology guidelines for the protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

These guidelines are an important step in strengthening collaboration to address sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. 

Child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse are complex phenomena involving multiple actors, and requiring a multi-sectoral response. The absence of common language to describe sexual exploitation and sexual abuse undermines global efforts to protect children. In the context of transnational child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, these difficulties are magnified. The guidelines, also known as the ‘Luxembourg Guidelines’, aim to strengthen data collection and cooperation across agencies, sectors and countries. 

 “In these important guidelines, policy makers, professional associations and child rights defenders find a crucial resource to provide precision in terminology, enhance accuracy in the development of monitoring tools, and gain conceptual clarity to mobilise efforts for the safeguard of children’s freedom from sexual violence across regions,” said Marta Santos Pais, the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children.

“In the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, terminology is not just a matter of semantics: it determines the effectiveness of responses,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio. “The Luxembourg Guidelines will contribute not only to protecting children, but also in ending the impunity for these heinous crimes.”

Plan International is a member of the global Interagency Working Group that developed these guidelines.

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Protection from violence, Child protection in emergencies