Identify ONE Human Rights issue and assess the effectiveness of both international and domestic legal measures is addressing this human rights issue. Under the United Nation Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2002, the human rights issue of child prostitution is defined as the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration. Child prostitution has been addressed internationally via the use of treaties and protocols, however despite this, these legal remedies are poorly enforced, and it remains an intense, recurring issue on an international scale.
On the contrary, on a domestic level in Australia, legal measures that address child prostitution are effective in a limited sense, due to the fear of legal sanctions and ethical considerations of the issue, which ultimately decreases the rate of crime in this area. Despite this compliance, the issue still occurs regardless of the various legal enactments. Sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes, such as child prostitution and child sex tourism, is an escalating violation of human rights.
However, international legal sanctions against this crime are extremely ineffective because they are disgracefully enforced. In the international community, child prostitution is a growing concern, due to the fact that in many developing countries, minors, meaning those under the age of sexual consent, are forced into commercial sexual activity as a means of income. Furthermore, the increasing acceptance of child prostitution on an international scale, due to the scale of poverty, causes the offence to be disregarded.
An international legal measure put in place via the United Nations to attempt to prevent child prostitution is the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, which was enacted in 2002. However, there is already a flaw visible in the legal remedy as protocol is merely optional. This means that a sovereign state becomes a signatory to the protocol at its own discretion. Furthermore, for the protocol's provisions to be binding on signatories, a state is required to follow a process of ratification.
It is only when the protocol is enacted into domestic legislation that legal sanctions can apply, making the international law effective on a domestic level. For instance, Indonesia signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and pornography on 24th September 20011, however this is extremely inadequate as the regulations of the protocol have not been enacted into the domestic law, thus no sanctions or enforcements can be applied to prevent this issue.
The ineffectiveness of merely signing an international protocol is seen through a media report revealing Indonesia's increasing child prostitution and child sex export trade. In the report, "Indonesia's Shameful Export, 8 June 2006" it states, "Indonesia is one of the world's largest exporters of sex workers, mainly children. " Furthermore, the media report also affirms that, "UNICEF says as many as 70,000 Indonesian children have been sold across the country's borders as sex commodities.
Similarly, nearly half of the 400,000 estimated sex workers in Indonesia are children under 18 years old. "2 In addition, the media file, "Human trafficking ring busted 17 August, 2006," supports the fact that is a protocol isn't ratified, it is ultimately of no use. In the article it states, "A Malaysian businessman and three Indonesians were arrested for allegedly luring teenage girls from Jakarta to Malaysia through Borneo Island with the promise of jobs and then forcing them into the sex industry".
This recent media report confirms the constant industry of child trafficking and prostitution industry in Indonesia, and the useless nature of the unratified protocol. Therefore, it is clearly evidenced that international legal measure of the protocol is ineffectual in addressing the human rights issue of child prostitution unless the protocol is ratified into domestic law. Except for international pressure from other sovereign states and a need to maintain diplomatic relations, there is no compulsory requirement of a country to sign and ratify the protocol.
This is one of the major factors reducing effectiveness of the protocol as an international legal measure to alleviate human rights breaches. For instance, Africa has not yet bowed to international pressures to sign and ratify the OPCROC protocol, therefore there is no concrete international legal enforcement mechanisms to protect its citizens from human rights violations. Furthermore, Africa isn't even a signatory nation of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which is the chief international legal measure to protect child rights.
Under article 34 of this treaty, "parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. " Consequently, if the United Nations has no authority to make a sovereign state comply with the legal measures put forward to protect the rights of a child, then countries such as Africa, where a strict moral code is non-existent, will continue to violate and ignore the issue of child prostitution. Cases such as "ZAMBIA: Poverty driving children into sex work", displays the acceptability of such actions to revive impoverished poverty stricken children.
As child prostitution is seen as the outcome of monetary desperation, it is accepted by everyday society. The media case states, "Many children were on the street because their impoverished parents or guardians expected them to make a financial contribution to the household… commercial sex work is driven by the poor economy. " Moreover, the widespread epidemic of HIV Aids in Africa has increased the consumer demand of child prostitution. This is because of the mistaken belief that having sex with a virgin will rid the perpetrator of HIV/AIDS.
According to Science in Africa, "Encompassed in the current belief system of both prevention/cure of HIV/Aids is the notion that an intact hymen, and the smaller amount of vaginal secretions in young girls, prevents transmission of the disease through sexual intercourse… The victim is most commonly a female infant in the age range five to eighteen months, or up to two years. " The increasing demand for child prostitution ultimately makes international legal measures useless to countries such as Africa, where consumer demand is elevating.