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C 284/92 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.


3.2. It therefore calls upon the Commission to adapt dates set out in Articles 1 and 2 (1 April 1998 and
its own proposals in this direction and to amend the 31 March 1998), which have already passed.

Brussels, 2 July 1998.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Exploitation of children and sex

(98/C 284/16)

At its plenary session meeting on 19 March 1997, the Committee decided, in accordance with
Rule 11(4) and Rule 19(1) of its Rules of Procedure, to set up a subcommittee to prepare its
work on ‘Exploitation of children and sex tourism’.

The subcommittee drew up a draft opinion on 8 June 1998 (rapporteur: Mr Sklavounos).

At its 356th Plenary Session (meeting of 2 July 1998) the Economic and Social Committee
adopted the opinion set out below by 72 votes in favour, with 3 abstentions.

SUMMARY OF THE MAIN POLICY PROPOSALS effective use of their funds, through EU and international
legal instruments for actions and by clearly incorporating
children’s rights in EU external relations policies.
The Economic and Social Committee considers that the
widespread and alarming problem of child mistreatment, A.2. The ESC can take the initiative, through its own
exploitation and abuse requires a fundamental repo- structured dialogue and cooperation with its national
sitioning and mobilization of society. The aim should and international counterparts, and its constituent mem-
be to go beyond public condemnation and reaction bers, to encourage and facilitate the setting-up of bodies
by ‘decree’, or piecemeal policies based on damage for pro-active and effective policies relating to children.
limitation. Society needs to tackle the: generating factors
of child abuse rather than react to their consequences. B. Proposals for coordinating an effective policy at
The Committee urges a comprehensive, preventive and European level
pro-active approach, putting ‘children first’ in our
every-day policy-making, social activity and cultural B.1. The current traditional policies for supporting
development. the family and children, e.g. provision of day care
centres, parental leave and child benefit, must be
accompanied by, and coordinated with, new, child
friendly, policies on town planning and urban regener-
A. Responding at an international level to the gener- ation.
ating factors of child mistreatment, abuse and
exploitation B.2. The ESC would also urge policies regenerating
‘the city’ as a civic, social and participatory cultural
entity. In particular, it proposes a network of child-
A.1. The EU can lead efforts to help the UN and friendly cities encouraging for example: opportunities
other international development bodies play an effective for reintegrating older people into the social mainstream
role in combating poverty and the most intolerable and harnessing their skills through voluntary schemes
forms of child abuse and exploitation through a more in collaboration with day care centres, schools, public
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/93

parks, etc.; opportunities for voluntary groups of older — a European youth theatre and cinema festival;
and younger people to cooperate in ‘joint ventures’;
school-workshops where people can be introduced in — a better application of existing EU directives which
an enjoyable way to art and technology; a systematic protect the physical, intellectual and moral develop-
effort to revive ‘the neighbourhood’; transforming ghet- ment of young people in programmes and TV
tos into places of cultural interaction; organizational commercials;
links between town and country; alternative forms
of tourism; public transport systems which reflect
children’s needs; safe open spaces and public places, — EU youth sport events and concerted policies to
stations, parks and squares; recreation areas for children combat violence and racism in sport;
and neighbourhood schools to provide educational and
instructive recreation facilities. — positive EU programmes for children with special
needs, seeing disability as a potential source of skills
and sensitivity;
B.3. The EU should encourage all concerned to
consider further the issue of schools in the 21st century — cultural tourism for young people (transnational
and the opening of schools to society as a priority. The family exchanges, international youth camps and
school of the 21st century should be the organizational multicultural children’s holiday packages);
impulse and defining force behind Europe’s cities and
social life, inclusion and reintegration in the future. The — the promotion of children’s needs in the programmes
ESC, in cooperation with its national and regional of European Cultural Capitals and similar events;
counterparts, can also contribute to and promote the
debate about the ‘school of the future’, involving relevant — extension of the Raphael programme to conserve
socio-economic actors, academics, parents groups and and make the most of the cultural heritage, especially
civic authorities. in additional areas such as traditional craft work-
shops, folklore museums and schools for folk and
traditional music;

— programmes to combat political apathy, to encour-
C. Encouraging young people and citizens to become age participation in political life and to promote
directly involved in civic, social and cultural activi- tolerance and understanding;
ties at every level.
— more dynamic, child-oriented, partnerships between
parents, the public authorities, civic organizations,
C.1. Europe-wide action should revive a culture of business life, socio-professional activity and schools;
participation among the younger generation and youth
organizations. In collaboration with the European Com-
mission, the European Parliament, UNICEF, the Com- — new Treaty provisions.
mittee of the Regions and European youth umbrella
organizations, the ESC can organize a pan-European
conference on the subject of participation among young
people in Europe. D. General mobilization of society and the ESC’s role

D.1. At European level, the Economic and Social
C.2. A ‘Youth for Europe 2000+’ programme, pos- Committee can take on the task of setting up a standing
sibly under a new European Commissioner for youth, committee that would be responsible for analysing and
could include various types of action and pilot projects, presenting models, means and methods of rallying
for example: ‘challenging’ participatory activities for society and mobilizing social groups, interest groups
young people; permanent transnational fora of thematic and voluntary organizations to combat the alienation
and cultural dialogue and interdenominational dialogue; and exploitation of children, with the view to promoting
mass media incentives; a permanent centre to disseminate a ‘European New Deal for Children’.
better practice, a European Cultural Policy (1) for Chil-
dren including:

— a ‘European children’s library’; E. Facing the problem of sexual mistreatment of
children and child sex tourism
— an annual children’s entertainment festival;
E.1. The scale of child abuse recorded today in
— a European children’s music academy; Europe is not only the result of poverty and destitution;
but a sign of social crisis, a materialistic ethos and
moral decay. The ‘erotic culture’, prevailing values and
standards and ethical conduct, in Europe are all to some
extent concerned and cannot be transformed fast or by
(1) See ESC Opinion: OJ C 153, 28.5.1996. fiat. Difficult though it undoubtedly is, devising a policy
C 284/94 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

at regional, national and EU level to put an end to international trade union movements and NGOs etc.),
child prostitution and abuse is an essential long term society up until recently has not been sufficiently
undertaking, clearly involving the mass media, and mobilized in response to the problem at a European or
presupposing a value system which puts first the integrity global level, and has tended to opt for damage limitation
and sanctity of human nature combined with solidarity rather than eliminating the underlying causes of child
understood as a welcome expression of neighbourliness exploitation and abuse.
and not as a ‘political obligation’.

E.2. Child sex tourism is an aspect and a symptom 1.4. The problem is a serious and multifaced one
of the general situation but one that can be tackled more which not only discredits our present culture, but is also
promptly and more specifically. Codes of conduct must an irrefutable indictment of the way in which post-war
be formulated without delay so that operators in Europe generations have failed to manage, human and social
are exposed and the issue included on the agenda of EU capital and the culture of everyday life.
enlargement with the Eastern and Central Europe
countries, in the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and (as
was the case at the ASEM Conference in London) in the 1.5. The policy of public condemnation, and the
dialogue with the Far East. moralistic and legalistic approach to the problem com-
bined with law enforcement, have not resulted in more
respect for law and order nor in mechanisms for effective
preventive measures and action.
F. Child labour

F.1. The Economic and Social Committee supports 1.6. The problem is a moral one but also much more.
the outline proposals of the ILO Amsterdam Conference It affects the whole of European and human society
on Child Labour and the preparations for a new regardless of class, income or culture.
Convention on the elimination of the most intolerable
forms of child labour. The Committee highlights the
particular vulnerability of girls and young women in
this context. It is imperative to promote concerted action 1.7. The nature and extent of the problem reveal a
between governments, the social partners and NGOs. growing disregard for the integrity of the human
person and the sanctity of human life, through a base
commercialization of the human body and of sexual
1. Introduction

1.8. The effects of these phenomena, and the fact that
1.1. The rights of the child are being violated through- society is becoming accustomed to their pervasiveness, is
out the world. Child exploitation and trafficking, abuse, putting severe pressure on, and undermining, the basic
forced labour and other forms of child labour, child sex value systems and principles on which European and
tourism, child pornography, drug trafficking, war, human culture has developed and is based, with ensuing
and the torture of children are phenomena that are consequences. The progressive erosion of these values
proliferating dramatically. These problems are not and codes of conduct has permeated every level of
confined to the developed or developing worlds, nor are society. Recent examples in European countries provide
they associated with any particular religious or political firm evidence of this, and of the growing awareness of
traditions. and reaction to it.

1.2. The forms of exploitation and abuse — and also 1.9. The almost universal and praiseworthy accep-
the way these are dissembled — vary in relation to tance of the UN ‘Convention on the Rights of the
economic and organizational development of a given Child (1)’ has not, unfortunately, freed the international
society. In the developing world, for example, forced community of this problem. This issue was put on the
child labour and the supply for child sex tourism are the political agenda by UNESCO at its summit in Paris in
main problems, whereas in the developed world, child 1994, by the Council of Europe through its successive
pornography and organized demand for child sex resolutions adopted by ministers and the parliamentary
tourism are the main problems. In the developing world, assembly, and by the European Parliament and the
children are used in the production and trafficking of
traditional drugs; in the developed world, children
are used in the trafficking of these and of synthetic
(1) ‘Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected
from economic exploitation and from performing any
work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the
1.3. Despite the efforts to date of international child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or
organizations (UN, UNESCO, UNICEF, the Council of physical, spiritual, moral or social development’. UN
Europe, the World Council of Churches, ILO, ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’, 1989, Art. 32.1.
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/95

Council of Ministers of the European Union. The 1997 2.2. Street children
World Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children for
Commercial Ends, held in Stockholm, and the summit 2.2.1. According to United Nations data and using the
on measures to combat the most intolerable forms of UNICEF definition of street children, about 100 million
child labour, held in Amsterdam, have been the most children in the world live on the streets. The geographical
recent efforts to address the problem. The Economic breakdown is:
and Social Committee also drew attention to the
problem. (1) It is hoped that a new ILO Convention to — Latin America 40 million;
combat the most intolerable forms of child labour
will shortly be adopted and ratified. The commercial — Asia 25-30 million;
exploitation of children ought also to be placed on the
agenda of the World Trade Organisation. — Africa 10 million.

The remaining 20-25 million are in North America and
2. Nature and extent of the problem
The vast majority of these children are also drug users
and victims of prostitution and crime rings.

2.1. Child labour 2.2.2. It should be noted in this connection that it is
virtually impossible to find statistics on the exploitation,
abuse, ill-treatment and abandonment of children in the
2.1.1. According to ILO and Commission data, there European Union, how many children in the EU live on
are some 400 million child workers worldwide between the streets or in children’s homes, or how many
the ages of 10 and 14 (the total estimate would be higher are involved in prostitution. It is regrettable that the
still if girls doing domestic work were included). An European institutions should document the dimensions
estimated 80 million of these children work under of this problem worldwide, while saying nothing about
dangerous and hazardous conditions, 15 million of them its prevalence in the EU. The general public (and the
in productions for export. Over 300 million children do world, which provides us with its own statistics) has the
not attend school. Nearly one billion adults are illiterate, right to know the extent of the problem in Europe.
nearly 600 million of them women. The percentage of Although there is no definite statistical data from a large
children of primary school age not attending school and number of reliable sources, such as the Council of
therefore a source of child labour are estimated as Europe or UNICEF, what data there is confirms that
follows: 47 % for Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 % for the this problem is serious and worsening in Europe. Street
Middle East and North Africa, 34 % for South Asia, children and child prostitution are also a European
6 % for East Asia and Pacific, 12 % for Latin America phenomenon.
and the Caribbean and 13 % for the CEEC/CES and
Baltics (2). At least 5 million underaged children currently
work in Europe. 2.3. Child prostitution, pornography, trafficking and
2.1.2. Child labour is both a product and producer
of poverty and of inadequate employment policies. It is 2.3.1. Every year, at least one million more children
an example of ‘social dumping’ at its worst, leading to become involved in prostitution (3).
international delocalization of labour to where children
are employed on the black market with little or no 2.3.2. The problem of transnational child trafficking
protection. It is a violation of ILO Convention No 138 in Europe (as recent tragic cases throughout Europe
and undermines the GATT provisions. Both child labour have demonstrated), has steadily worsened since the fall
and commercial/sexual exploitation of children thrive of the Berlin Wall and the economic and social upheavals
where poverty is prevalent. that followed, a very large number of children from
eastern European countries are now thought to be living
illegally in the EU. They are able to stay and subsist
2.1.3. According to UNICEF (The State of the mainly through prostitution, or the ‘sex industry’. This
World’s Children, 1997), child labour was reduced in the has obvious direct and indirect effects on public health,
West by a combination of legislation, the introduction crime and drug trafficking.
of compulsory education, and the increase in family
incomes and technological progress, which made child
labour less attractive to employers. 2.4. Child poverty

2.4.1. According to the UNICEF ‘Information News-
line’ of 18 April 1997 (based on a study by the World
(1) See ESC Opinion on ‘European Cultural Policy for Chil-
dren’, op.cit.
(2) The state of the world’s children, 1997/UNICEF. (3) COM(96) 547 final.
C 284/96 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

Bank), over 650 million children live on less than one the neighbourhood gang or in extremist groups. The
dollar per day. A Commission study further informs us problem is daily becoming more acute in deprived areas
that 14 million children die every year before they reach inhabited by minorities, which are turning into breeding
the age of five (1). grounds of ethnic and religious hatred and racism. The
natural sociability of mankind is finding expression in
antisocial group activity. This leads to formal links
2.4.2. By the year 2000, contrary to developments in between district gangs and organized crime, dealing in
Europe, some 50 % of the world’s population will be stolen goods, trafficking, prostitution and exploitation
under the age of 25, and the majority of these will be by fanatical fundamentalist and racist groups, for
living below the poverty line. The number of children political ends.
aged between five and 19 living in cities will be 247
million more than in 1980.

2.5.3. F a m i l y a n d s c h o o l
2.4.3. According to statistics from 1993 on the then
12 Member States (Eurostat 1997-6), 13 million children
under the age of 16 live in poverty, which means one in At the same time, ‘social institutions’, which ought to
every five children in the EU. Particular problems are counter this sense of alienation and antisocial activities,
faced by the children of single-parent families, unmarried are themselves being undermined by the same cumulative
mothers and under-age mothers, and those from ethnic phenomena. The ‘family’, for example, is a major source
minorities. of child neglect, violence and sexual abuse. Likewise,
schools are increasingly degenerating into areas of social
alienation where indiscipline, lack of respect, truancy
and bullying are in some instances the norm.
2.5. Other forms of abuse — social alienation, fear,
crime and violence

3. Generating factors
2.5.1. F e a r a n d d a n g e r i n t h e i n n e r c i t y
Given the various forms and extent of child exploitation
80 % of the population of Europe live in urban areas and abuse, it cannot be attributed to one single factor
(263,3 million). The city is, in many parts of Europe, no or underlying cause. It is the result of the cumulative
longer a desirable place to bring up children. Many of and exponential effects of all the above-mentioned
Europe’s children today live in fear of public places, underlying causes in combination. The many underlying
frightened and threatened by society, the city, and the causes interact with each other affecting:
wider social environment. Their fear and the risks they
face in public places lead to an increased reliance on — parents and the family;
television and electronic games. An increasing number
of European children in Europe now grow up without — children;
adequate opportunities for healthy socialization. This
problem is aggravated by the lack of proper play areas — society as a whole.
for children, especially in more deprived areas, and by
the increasing number of single-parent families and
lonely, disillusioned and poor children living in European The factors involved are considered to be (2):
— break-up of the family as an institution;

2.5.2. S o c i a l alienation (gangs and — crisis facing schools;
extremist groups)
— urban crisis and disintegration;
The district gang is a common phenomenon nowadays,
— cultural crisis (manifest in the prevailing climate of
especially in deprived urban areas, and one that is
individualistic consumerism);
widespread throughout Europe. The types of crime
associated with criminal and antisocial group behaviour
— hooliganism, vandalism, theft, beating up and robbing — lack of efficiency and credibility crisis of the insti-
old people — are on the increase. The need for tutions of law and order (courts, police, ...);
meaningful human relations, contact and communi-
cation felt by today’s children in Europe, their isolation — crisis of confidence in the traditional institutions
and their desire to belong find an outlet either in of social cohesion (church, political and social
organizations, trade unions, ...);

(1) ‘The future of North-South Relations: towards sustainable
economic and social development’, ‘Cahiers’ of the For- (2) UNESCO, UNICEF, World Council of Churches, Council
wards Studies Unit, 1997 No 1. of Europe, non-governmental organizations.
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— unemployment, social exclusion and poverty; 3.1.7. A strategy for re-integrating older people into
society would not simply mean their living with the
— lack of political will or capability to face the active members of the family, nor of course would this
generating factors. be a necessary objective. Such a strategy could provide
for co-existence without actual cohabitation in neigh-
bourhoods where there would be no exclusion on the
Recognition of this is the key to developing effective basis of age.
strategies for tackling the problem.

3.1.8. Support for all families to overcome depen-
dency through reform of the nursery, pre-school and
3.1. Crisis facing the family as an institution and ways school system to enable parents to combine work and
of addressing this generating factor child-rearing could also eliminate the prospect of life on
the streets for an increasing number of children.
3.1.1. The crisis facing the family, the oldest insti-
tution of human society, is considered to be one of the
main underlying causes of the problems facing the 3.1.9. Policies that address the effects of the crisis
children of Europe and the world. facing the family and the absence of parents from the
home must also include measures to improve children’s
television programmes and provide incentives at Euro-
3.1.2. What has happened to the family as an insti- pean, national and local level.
tution is the result of many — mainly socio-economic
— factors that affect the organization of production,
work, the places where workers live and the links 3.1.10. Policies to provide business premises and help
between where people work and where they live. SMEs also must be consistent with policies to promote
viable neighbourhood systems.
3.1.3. The predominance of the ‘factory model’ in
the organization of production, work and housing (and
of family relationships, i.e. the type of family that this 3.1.11. It is particularly significant despite — and
model dictates) is coming to an end. New ways of very probably because of — the crisis faced by the family
organizing production, work and more generally the in Europe, that the family is the value that is of greatest
‘knowledge’ and ‘information’ society, are in their turn importance to young people. Young people in Europe
affecting the family as an institution. see the family and friendship as their two main ideals,
the third being work.

3.1.4. The separation between people’s place of work
and their place of residence, the segregation of age 3.1.12. Relationships in which there is real communi-
groups, the demise of the family’s role as a social and cation, real human relationships within the traditional
cultural unifying force are no longer an inescapable fact institution of the family and friendship, is promoted
of life now that there are new ways of organizing through an urban environment characterised by stability
production and work. The new role of small and and continuity. The urban crisis, together with the
medium-sized enterprises and of tele-working present crisis facing the family, the move to the suburbs, the
fresh prospects for the family. fragmentation of cities and break-up of the neighbour-
hood have cumulative and manifold catalytic effects on
the problems of children in Europe. Isolation, despair,
3.1.5. Policies that reconcile work and family life excessive reliance on television, and the search for
must be approached not in a piecemeal way, but satisfaction in human relationships that leads to the
strategically and comprehensively, in the major EU setting up of extremist groups, neighbourhood gangs
decisions and strategies on sustainable cities, the Urban and circles of drug users are problems that can and must
Agenda, sustainable social development, etc. be addressed, not problems that are insuperable. What
is needed is clearly a new comprehensive, cohesive policy
3.1.6. The current traditional policies for supporting that will place problems facing the family in the context
the family and children, e.g. provision of day care of sustainable urban development.
centres, parental leave and child benefit, must be seen
as accompanied by and coordinated with new policies
on town planning, urban regeneration, the provision of
safe play areas for children and the creation in general
of conditions needed to revive the ‘neighbourhood’ as 3.2. Crisis facing schools
both place and social system countering the often
prevalent atmosphere of fear and insecurity. This means
inter alia radically reforming the school as an institution, 3.2.1. In conjunction with the crisis facing the family,
in line with future needs — demographic, educational, the crisis in schools is a basic contributory factor to
etc. — and setting up institutions for distance learning juvenile delinquency and crime, and to the abuse and
and a strategy for reintegrating older people into society. exploitation of children in Europe.
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3.2.2. Schools in Europe are facing serious difficulties. 3.3.2. The basic aspects of the crisis include: over-
The problems are thought to be one of the reasons that concentration of the population, fragmentation of urban
a large number of children in Europe are leaving school areas along economic, political, religious and ethnic
and thus a cause of their alienation, marginalization, lines, exclusion of certain age groups (the elderly and
exploitation and abuse. young people), ghettoization, crisis of social cohesion
and cultural identity, and crisis of democratic institutions
3.2.3. The problems facing schools in Europe ob- and processes (local authorities, trades unions, political
viously vary according to the social environment of the parties).
school, but it can be agreed that to a greater or lesser
extent European schools have certain problems in 3.3.3. Environmental crisis: in 1995 (according to a
common. report by the European Environment Agency), some
70-80 % of European cities with populations of over
3.2.4. Lack of interest in the learning process, children 500 000 did not meet standards set by the World Health
bringing family problems to school, the television Organization.
culture, violence at school, the teacher-pupil relationship
and the lack of self-discipline and mutual respect are
some of the typical basic problems faced by schools in 3.3.4. Traffic congestion: the classic sign of the traffic
Europe. problem in large European cities, as evidenced in London
and Paris, is the reduction in the average speed of cars
and trucks to the speed of traffic at the beginning of the
3.2.5. As a general rule, the school as a place and century. Mobility and accessibility have decreased in
system, its role in the neighbourhood, its purpose, the European cities, with unfavourable consequences for
means it uses and its links with society form part of the travel between home and work, home and school, and
agenda for education and school competitiveness and home and leisure facilities, in cities where such facilities
effectiveness in Europe, and for ongoing education and are available.

3.2.6. If the factory was the driving force that shaped 3.3.5. Political problems: there has been a prolifer-
industrial Europe, then the processes of education, ation of neo-fascist, racist and xenophobic criminal
training, lifelong learning and the school of the 21st movements and a parallel growth in fanatical and
century all with multi-media back-up must be the extremist organizations in ghettos, involving children in
organizational impulse and defining force behind particular, including — of course — young children.
Europe’s cities in the future.
3.3.6. De-industrialization, unemployment and pov-
3.2.7. It is clear that schools tailor-made to the needs erty: one-parent families, unmarried and single mothers,
of mass production are not appropriate for the learning teenage mothers, and of course their children, are
and information society. It is also clear that the school particularly hard hit by poverty. Children who are
of the 21st century, as a medium for lifelong learning ‘abandoned’ because both parents have to, or choose to
and training, can and must be a school of social cohesion, work and prefer to pursue their careers, are also affected.
renewing links between the generations and using the
talents of older people, a school that provides friendship,
not imprisonment or surveillance, for the children of 3.3.7. Absence of play areas for children: there is a
Europe, a place which combines the provision of lack of safe recreation areas for children. This is
education, learning, training, recreation and revitali- particularly a problem for children of one-parent families
zation of intellectual and cultural cohesion. The school (whose number is rapidly increasing in Europe) and
should be a place where the lost ‘participatory spirit’ children of families in which both parents work.
and ‘civic virtue’ of the European city are revived and
restored. — Europe has a role to play here. 3.3.8. In these circumstances it is clear that the specific
conditions on which urban culture was built, on the
basis of which cities were established and the citizen
3.3. Urban crisis evolved as the basic unifying element of Western
civilization, are in danger of disappearing from large
3.3.1. In its report entitled ‘Towards an Urban European cities.
Agenda in the European Union’ (1) the European Com-
mission considers the main issue in the general discussion
on the problem of European urban areas to be as follows: 3.3.9. The typical features of the medieval city that
sustained the guilds, the city of the Renaissance and
the Enlightenment, the city that fuelled the industrial
‘The city is, in many parts of Europe, no longer a revolution, are no longer present in large European
desirable place to bring up children, to spend leisure cities.
time, or to live. This erosion of the role of the city is
perhaps the greatest threat to the European model
of development and society and one which needs the 3.3.10. From being a manifestation of social develop-
widest debate.’ ment, solidarity, democratic participation and social
interaction in public places, the city has degenerated
into a place of withdrawal into the private sphere. Public
(1) COM(97) 0197 final, Brussels 6.5.1997. spaces are daily becoming dangerous areas.
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/99

3.3.11. It is clearly impossible for healthy socializa- 3.4.2. The tolerance and acceptance, the silence of
tion of children to be achieved in such an environment. collusion and active involvement in child trafficking,
With 80 % of Europe’s population living in urban areas, selling products of illegal child labour and child prosti-
the urban crisis can be regarded as a European crisis. tution and pornography enable and oblige us to agree
that the problem also has a cultural dimension.
3.3.12. The depth or extent of the crisis, and its
implications, have led the Commission to recognize the 3.4.3. The incidents of child exploitation recorded
need for an urban perspective in Community policy: today on a massive scale in Europe are not just the
result of poverty and unemployment, but also signs of
destitution, corruption, decay and crisis among large
‘Urban society will pay a heavy price in terms of groups of the population.
crime and anti-social behaviour if development is
accompanied by major inequalities of access to the
rewards of economic progress’. ‘Europe as a whole 3.4.4. From a cultural point of view, the European
will pay through disaffection of its citizens and the Union should address the problem at three levels:
loss of support for the European model of society’.
‘Finally, the European economy will suffer because
adjustment to rapid change, to maintain the competi- As far as adults are concerned, we must
tiveness of Europe’s cities, is only likely to succeed consider prevailing values and moral standards, the
where it commands the widest consensus.’ sense of human and social responsibility of groups in
the interlocking official and parallel economies and
of the competent authorities in society, which are
3.3.13. In its working paper entitled ‘Towards the indifferent, tolerate the problem or are ‘unable’ to take
5th Framework Programme: scientific and technological action.
objectives’ (1) and its proposal for a European Parliament
and Council Decision concerning the Fifth Framework
Programme of the European Community for research, We must look at the effects on society in
technological development and demonstration activities general of the existence and operation of such attitudes
(1998-2002) (2), the Commission observes: and the inability or indifference as to how to counter
‘The aim of this key action is the harmonious
development of the citizens’ urban environment As far as children are concerned, we must
from a global, innovative and resource-saving view- consider prevailing values and moral standards, the
point, in an environmentally sound manner, using sense of social responsibility that street children acquire
advanced models of organization bringing together and share in their milieu, the issue of children who earn
in particular the improvement of quality of life, the their living by selling their bodies and that of children
restoration of social equilibria and the protection involved in drug-trafficking.
and enhancement of the cultural heritage.’

3.3.14. According to the Commission, the cost of 3.4.5. The prevailing morals of a society, the hier-
erosion of the cultural heritage (architectural) alone is archy of values, aesthetic preferences and the ‘erotic
estimated to exceed ECU 14 billion yearly. culture’ in Europe will not be changed by government
publications and will not be transformed instan-
taneously, since they reflect complex processes that have
3.3.15. The ESC nevertheless thinks it necessary to developed over many years.
note that Agenda 2000 does not pay as much attention
to urban areas as it should given the size of the urban
population, the problems they face and the extent of the 3.4.6. Devising policies for cultural development in
urban crisis. this sphere at regional, national and EU level is an
absolutely essential, but also difficult, undertaking.

3.4. The cultural crisis 3.4.7. At the same time, a Europe free from the
exploitation, ill-treatment, trafficking and prostitution
of children, free from the supply of and demand
3.4.1. The fact that child exploitation, trafficking, for child sex tourism, presupposes a value system
abuse and prostitution exist despite the existence of characterized by respect for the integrity of human
laws which, if they were respected, would avert or nature and human life and by respect for the sanctity
prevent such activities, demonstrates that the problem and inviolability of human rights.
is not one of a legal vacuum, but of disrespect for law
and civic values in everyday life.
3.4.8. We want a Europe whose citizens respect and
abide by the law, in which citizens trust and esteem police
and the courts, a cultural foundation that underpins
(1) COM(97) 47 final, 10.2.97. lawfulness, respect for the law, the political system and
(2) COM(97) 142 final, 30.4.97. fellow human beings.
C 284/100 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

3.4.9. The problem of indifference to, and tolerance 3.5.2. By observing how district gangs work and
of, crime can be addressed only if we have a value recognizing the needs they meet for children in European
system and cultural foundation that promote social conurbations, we will be able to see which policies are
responsibility, participation, political accountability in called for to reduce the pervasive alienation of children
the profoundest sense of the word and a political culture in Europe and also to communicate with children who
of democracy, freedom and lawfulness. are heading towards, or are already on, the streets.

3.4.10. If sustainable development is to be accepted 3.5.3. District gangs in many instances replace the
and applied as a model and strategies to promote ‘missing family’. They meet a need for a sense of
sustainable cities are to succeed, then people must belonging to a broader reality but also to a well-defined
have a different, more responsible and less arbitrary group. They provide an opportunity for action, adven-
relationship with nature, a different philosophy for ture, a sense of danger, esteem, and the chance to earn
managing natural and human resources. unmediated recognition within the group, as well as
real, direct, emotionally meaningful communication, a
sharing of danger, excitement and pleasure. District
3.4.11. The manifestations of crisis and decay are
gangs give their members the chance to experience and
poorly documented in artistic works and production.
crude participation in group experiences. Steps can and
must be taken therefore at local, national and EU level
3.4.12. Cultural decay and brutality are documented to ensure that it is not only district gangs that offer
however all too regularly in everyday life: in the home, young people in Europe such opportunities.
in the sphere of mass entertainment (e.g. football), at
work, at school, in the media and through other
channels that dictate and promote models of existence, 3.5.4. To this end, traditional, non-governmental
consumption and behaviour. youth organizations, political youth groups, and young
people’s church organizations can be mobilized by
setting up new branches and adapting their organization
3.4.13. Policies should be promoted for active support and activities. The mass media can be encouraged at
to help local cultural characteristics flourish as a local and national level to draw attention to and promote
safeguard against abstract ideologies and a chauvinistic initiatives that offer outlets to young people, not on the
sense of identity. Europe’s commitment to maintaining basis of the fruitless prim and proper attitudes of
and developing national cultures, its commitment to a the past, nor in terms of antiheroic resignation and
multicultural model of cultural development, must marginalization or ‘heroic marginalization of crimi-
not surrender to inability to address in practice the nality’.
manifestations of the crisis. The ESC considers the
insignificance of cultural policy for Europe and inter
alia its absence from Agenda 2000 to be an unacceptable 3.5.5. Our young people can be given an outlet
situation. through a new culture of political activism, of account-
ability and ‘challenging participation’ in a climate of
democratic involvement. Such an outlet can be provided
3.4.14. The ESC believes it is necessary to encourage, by developing the specific features of local and national
reinforce and promote the participation of Europe’s cultures and traditions, both in terms of the form of
young people in the ‘production’ of cultural goods and organizations and of the methods and purpose of action
to encourage them and others to be involved in cultural taken and through such EU programmes as Eur. Youth
activities at local level. Voluntary Service scheme.

3.4.15. Apart from introducing people to art and
culture these processes accelerate the revival of the
collective spirit and participation in the democratic 3.6. Poverty and unemployment
system at grass-roots level. They breathe new life into
the fabric of society, with social cohesion and solidarity
being directly experienced as a welcome expression of
neighbourliness and not as a ‘political obligation’. 3.6.1. It is generally acknowledged that poverty alone
is not (and was not in the past) in itself a cause of moral
collapse. It is the combination of poverty with a lack of
hope for a better future and an inability to participate
3.5. Why are European children attracted to district in processes that change the circumstances of the
gangs? individual and society. It is poverty associated with
exclusion and marginalization.

3.5.1. So many problems are faced by Europe and the
world, by European cities and the countryside, that the 3.6.2. Likewise, the traditional view that unemploy-
children of Europe can be given the chance to help solve ment attracts people who are naturally predisposed to
problems and meet needs that are currently satisfied be out of work or social groups whose ‘culture’ is a
antisocially by neighbourhood gangs. factor that makes them prone to be idle and inactive
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/101

and to demand payment for being unemployed, is no promoting sustainable growth and jobs, involving pub-
longer taken seriously. Indeed, the lack of an employed lic-private partnership , flexibility and security, mobili-
‘role model’ can (unfairly) be felt as a source of zation of socio-economic actors at all levels and a sense
embarrassment and even shame among families and of solidarity best expressed by the term: the European
children of the long-term unemployed. social model. It is recognized that the coherence and
practical projects necessary to activate such a sustainable
employment-growth scenario should be underpinned
and bound together by the core values which characterise
and unite Europe’s democracies. This is the challenge
3.6.3. The Amsterdam Summit at last laid the foun- facing us: how to harness all resources available to
dation for concrete measures to elaborate a common combat unemployment and achieve tangible, practical
European employment strategy. The Treaty explicitly progress in terms of real jobs and employability.
made employment a matter of common concern. The
new chapter on employment reinforces the co-ordination
of employment policies within common guidelines.
The chapter clearly states that the Community shall 4. Evaluation of existing policies
contribute to a high level of employment by encouraging
cooperation between Member States and by supporting
and, if necessary complementing their action. Member 4.1. The ESC notes that, so far, political efforts to
States also committed themselves to consider the objec- deal with this immense problem have been inadequate
tive of a high level of ‘employment’ in the formulation and ineffective, with the result that the situation has
and implementation of all Community policies. deteriorated and reached ominous proportions at a
global level.

4.2. Successive declarations, conferences, campaigns
3.6.4. The Extraordinary European Employment and movements at European and international level
Council Meeting on Employment in Luxembourg have demonstrated the gravity and tragic dimensions of
last November rightly decided to put the new Treaty the problem, but have not been accompanied by concrete
provisions on employment immediately into effect and measures and effective prevention and control, thereby
to implement the provisions on coordination of Member having a negative impact on public opinion.
States’ employment policies in advance, as from 1998,
the idea being to create for employment, as for economic
policy, the same resolve to converge towards jointly set, 4.3. There is a danger that public opinion will either
verifiable, regularly updated targets. become inured to the existence of the problem and will
resign itself to living with it, or that it will conclude that
society is incapable of addressing the issue.

3.6.5. In all this — as the Economic and Social 4.3.1. What concerns the average European in connec-
Committee has itself often made clear — there is no tion with issues such as child trafficking, large-scale
illusion that jobs can simply be created ‘by decree’. The child pornography and drug trafficking is whether our
springboard for jobs is the continued development of a society is really capable of providing the necessary
sound, coordinated macro-economic policy, under- safeguards and protective mechanisms or whether lead-
pinned by an efficient internal market, which will lay ers have been so ineffective that any real attempt at
the foundations for sustainable growth, new dynamism prevention or control is futile.
and a climate of confidence conducive to boosting
employment. As the Luxembourg ‘Jobs Summit’ con-
cluded, the aim is to help unleash the potential for 4.4. Doubt is being cast on the credibility of
dynamism and enterprise to be found in Europe’s authorities and institutions; withdrawal into the private
economy. sphere, from active involvement in public affairs, is
becoming more prevalent throughout Europe.

4.5. Policies and measures to date have focused
3.6.6. However, while a favourable economic mainly on controlling the symptoms of the problem by
environment, based on sound finance, geared to market containing its negative effects (damage limitation).
needs and structural reform and capable of withstanding Efforts to change policy approaches to relief for victims
predatory currency speculation, should be conducive to and punishment of perpetrators have also been inad-
stable growth and employment, it will not by itself equate.
actively promote and sustain jobs and the necessary
skills to go with them. Just as jobs cannot simply
be ‘decreed’ from on high, nor will they simply, 4.6. The main methodological approach has been
‘miraculously emerge’ by putting all our faith in the broadly based on the logic of policing and of responding
‘market’. Neither ‘dirigisme’ nor ‘laissez-faire’ offer the by the provision of, health, welfare and charitable
‘miracle cure’. A complex policy mix is needed for services. The operational framework is one of ‘victims’
C 284/102 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

and ‘culprits’. When somebody breaks the law, efforts 5.1.2. The policy choices and strategy must be consis-
are made to find the guilty party and if possible to tent with the more general political goals of the EU.
compensate the victim. Within a healthy society there
are unhealthy people and groups. Although the health
of an individual is his or her own personal responsibility, 5.1.3. EU policies on sustainable development, urban
society endeavours to provide support. Politically, the strategy, lifelong learning, and the performance of
issue and arguments have traditionally been formulated schools in Europe are all relevant and must reflect each
in terms of a tension between: other and be consistent, furthering the sustainable
development of human and social capital.
— more or less intervention;

— more or less tolerance; Without sustainable development of human
and social capital, Europe’s society and economy will
be unable to hold on to its present share in world wealth
— more or less protection for victims.
and knowledge and influence with the up and coming
Asian powers.
4.7. There is no doubt that these three approaches,
or the best possible combination of them in any given 5.1.4. It is of great direct and indirect importance for
case, do not amount to a preventive policy. They do not Europe to address this problem decisively and effectively
form part of a strategy to address the underlying causes within its own frontiers, and to be the driving moral,
and generating factors of the problem, but remain political and organizational force behind tackling the
focused on limiting its negative effects (damage limi- problem at international level.

5.1.5. The demographic problem in Europe, i.e.
4.8. Although there is agreement among the inter- the ageing of Europe’s population together with the
national community as to the underlying causes of the immediate risk of 30 % of young people (i.e. the number
problem, it is clear both from the policies pursued and involved in child crime and drugs) being marginalized,
their results that these causes are not being addressed. is a very serious ongoing threat to social cohesion, and
to Europe’s economic and social competitiveness.
4.9. The direct, indirect and overall costs (economic
and social) of dealing with the problem are steadily 5.1.6. The financial burden on European society and
rising. pressure on the resources available in each country for
containing antisocial and criminal activities among
abandoned children, and the social burden of children
4.10. Society and government are tending to cede employed in organized crime, cause enormous economic
responsibility by asking non-governmental orga- damage.
nizations to find solutions to this primarily social
problem. On the other hand, investing in prevention
and in developing human resources, human and social
4.11. Further social marginalization and inertia and capital, and social cohesion is quite clearly a more
the development of new state-financed bureaucratic effective and, in the medium term, a more economical
— and, in most cases, unregulated — bodies with solution.
international links would not seem to offer the best
approach to dealing with this or related problems.
5.1.7. If the problem is to be addressed at regional,
national and international level, then the necessary legal
4.12. The fact that whole sectors of the economy are and institutional frameworks must be put in place that
sustained by the existence of crime or fear of crime will enable a policy to be formulated and pursued, and
— e.g. private police forces, electronic recording and measures to be implemented, on the basis of accepted
monitoring of private and public spaces, shops, etc. — international rules and with internationally accepted
constitutes a significant non-productive cost-factor and penalties:
a cause as well as a consequence of a divided society.
— With regard to combating the now intolerable forms
of child labour, for example, who should decide
5. Towards a ‘New Deal’ for children and what objective criteria should be used when
determining the priority of intervention in one
country over another?
5.1. Basic principles
— In the case of action against child sex tourism, should
priority be given to ‘demand’ countries or ‘supply’
5.1.1. The nature, manifestations and extent of the countries; who will take the decisions, on what
problem, and its consequences, naturally influence what authority, and with what international approval and
policies are chosen to tackle it. support?
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/103

The problem must be addressed on the basis of specific — ‘to promote the social dimension in international
coordinated programmes and organized cooperation trade agreements’.
with clear priorities in terms of countries and targets.
5.2.4. The EU Member States should continue to
5.1.8. Integrated, coordinated programmes are intensify their contributions to IPEC programmes and,
required if action taken is to be effective. together with the social partners, should participate
actively in the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive
new ILO Convention against the most intolerable forms Appointing impartial monitors to keep a of child exploitation, and should contribute further
check on illegal child labour, for example, will not be in promoting its universal ratification and effective
effective unless there are fair and objective mechanisms implementation, including appropriate forms of support
for imposing penalties at national level, as well as an to the developing countries willing to enforce ILO
independent legal system and an impartial police force. conventions related to the protection of children against

5.2. New Framework at an international level 5.2.5. The EU should seek, without delay, to secure
the essential legal instruments for action, either within
5.2.1. On the basis of the new EU objectives set out the context of the EU or as a group of national
in the Agenda 2000 (1), the ESC can take specific delegations working together within the UN.
initiatives to coordinate the efforts of actors and action
to tackle the underlying causes and generating factors 5.2.6. A European initiative is called for both to
of child exploitation (of any kind): ensure transparent and effective use of the resources
provided by UN and international bodies, but also to
— at European Union level; ensure the provision of adequate resources and effective
cooperation between the member states and UN bodies.
— at pan-European level;
5.2.7. In an international and coordinating context,
— at global level. the Economic and Social Committee and its constituent
members can take the initiative to encourage and
5.2.2. The EU can lead the efforts of the world
community to evolve specific and adequate programmes — setting up a coordinating body for policies relating
that will continue to promote the economic development to children in eastern and western Europe, in
of the less-developed regions of the world — in Latin cooperation with its partner organizations and with
America, Africa and Asia. due regard to the EU enlargement process, in
collaboration, where appropriate, with the Council
5.2.3. The Economic and Social Committee believes of Europe the ILO, the World Trade Organization,
that the EU can and must take measures: UNICEF, the World Council of Churches and similar
— to modernize the UN and its bodies so that they play
an effective role in combating poverty during the — setting up regional coordinating bodies for Africa,
first half of the 21st century; America and Asia in the context of dialogue with
social and economic interest groups;
— to ensure adequate resources to this end to the UN
and its specialized agencies (UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, — assuming responsibility for cataloguing the work of
UNESCO, WHO, FAO); the international development organizations and
evaluating the effectiveness of measures to combat
poverty every two years.
— to modernize international financial institutions (e.g.
World Bank, International Monetary Fund) in order
that they take into account employment and social The ESC also believes its proposals on human
needs as well as educational and health needs in rights in the context of EU foreign policy to be timely.
their policies and programmes; The ESC considers that cooperation between
— to consolidate new development processes in North- Interpol, Europol and the national police forces of the
South relations; Member States should be strengthened.

— to support decisions of the World Summit for Social
Development and to contribute actively to their 5.3. European level
universal implementation;
5.3.1. Formulating and implementing an effective
policy at European level means:
(1) Making the European Union a global actor, ensuring
complementarity between internal and external policies, — coordinating the work of politicians and other
developing a strategy for human resources. competent groups in the Member States;
C 284/104 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

— coordinating efforts within the European Union and social policy expenditure so much as an investment in
with the rest of Europe. improving human resources, in the sustainable develop-
ment of human and social capital and in ongoing
5.3.2. At European level, the Economic and Social improvement of the competitiveness of Europe’s cities.
Committee can take on the task of setting up a standing
committee that would be responsible for analysing and 6.1.2. A large number of Community documents
presenting models, means and methods of rallying recognize the need for an urban policy that addresses
society in general and mobilizing social groups and the enormous problems faced by European cities. A
interest groups to combat the exploitation of children. further effort to develop integrated approaches and
cohesive and complementary policies that also meet the
5.3.3. Once the problem is seen no longer as purely needs of Europe’s children must be regarded as a small
economic or legal, or a problem of welfare, than the investment which will bring enormous returns and
need for coordination takes on a different dimension. results.

5.3.4. If the problem is considered to be one of social
development, a matter of rescuing human and social 6.2. Network of child-friendly cities
capital at risk, and if policies are adapted to address the
underlying causes and not just to limit the effects of the 6.2.1. The setting up of a network of child-friendly
problem, then there must be active and determined cities could be the catalyst for a long-term policy in
co-ordination at national level between authorities, which effective, tried-and-tested methods could benefit
institutions, governmental and non-governmental the wider public (town planning, urban regeneration,
organizations concerned with: restoration of historical city centres).
— pre-school and school education, and long-term
planning thereof; 6.2.2. The planning of public transport systems, and
planning and redesign of train and bus stations, can and
— lifelong learning and training; must reflect children’s needs.

— careers advice and employment; 6.2.3. Open spaces and public places, stations, parks
and squares must fulfil a number of functions in such a
— culture, sports and leisure; way as to be inherently safer.
— town planning, urban renewal, provision of safe
areas where children can play in their own inner-city 6.2.4. Providing enough recreation areas for children
neighbourhoods, children’s games; and encouraging after-school clubs and neighbourhood
schools to provide educational, instructive recreation
— reconciling family and working life; facilities are measures that serve the interests of children,
parents in general, and one-parent families in particular.
— reorienting the relationship between home and work;
— collaboration between the public and private sectors 6.2.5. Opportunities can be provided for reintegrating
in the spheres of: older people into the social mainstream and harnessing
their skills through voluntary schemes in collaboration
• children’s recreational activities (individual and with day care centres, schools, public parks, etc.
group activities);
6.2.6. Schools that are no longer in use in Europe
• children’s entertainment; owing to the decrease in the child population can be
• children’s television; used for various activities, as workshops where people
can be introduced in an enjoyable way to art and
• children’s books; technology.

• traditional forms of social project, charities, 6.2.7. Other measures could include systematically
churches, professional organizations, societies; transforming ghettos into places of cultural interaction,
involving, for example, tourist offices, embassies, exhi-
• judiciary, police, social services; bition centres and centres for education and training in
• local self-government. professions.

6.2.8. There should be a systematic effort to revive
‘the neighbourhood’, with the help of local churches,
6. Policy proposals schools, businesses and their agents, associations, trades
unions and political parties.

6.1. Urban policies 6.2.9. Steps can be taken to establish organizational
links between town and country (e.g. through producers’
6.1.1. The ESC considers that the development of and consumers’ associations, environmental protection
child-friendly urban policies is not an increase in organizations).
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/105

6.2.10. Policies could be developed to provide (low- 6.3.5. The targets of general social mobilization must
cost) educational trips to areas of natural beauty not be limited to so-called high-risk groups, or the
in Europe, combined with environmental education people most closely affected by the problem.
programmes and the provision of opportunities to
develop alternative forms of tourism, e.g. historical and
cultural, based on networks of cities, such as cities of The target of general social mobilization can
the Industrial Revolution, cities of the Reformation, and and must be the wider ‘grey area’ of social strata and
European cities of historical and cultural importance. young people suffering the pressures of the crisis within
the family, in the city, among the out-of-work, etc. Action in this sphere may be indirect, but at
the same time complementary and cohesive, e.g. a
6.3. General mobilization of society radical, ongoing, Europe-wide effort to reinforce, pro-
mote and enhance the status of non-political youth
organizations (e.g. Scouts and Guides) and to develop
6.3.1. The ESC and its constituent members, includ- political youth organizations of all persuasions in a
ing employers, trade union and diverse socio-economic Europe-wide campaign to revive a culture of clear
interests can take some initiatives to help promote a participation among the younger generation, in contrast
general mobilization of society to tackle the exploitation, to the resignation, withdrawal and extremism of today.
abuse and destruction of the EU’s enormous human and
social capital in all its forms. Efforts must be made to ensure that youth
organizations, both political and non-political, do not
become overprofessionalized and overbureaucratized,
6.3.2. The ESC considers that establishing a climate and their openness to society must be encouraged.
of general social mobilization which would reverse the
process of withdrawal into the private sphere and the All persuasions of the European Parliament
sense of resignation and inertia prevalent in broad can and must be involved in this effort.
sections of society calls for new approaches and forms
of action that are much more integrated and cohesive
than traditional awareness-raising campaigns. The World Council of Churches can mount
a campaign of its own to revive and restore the role of
church youth organizations, thus enhancing its own
6.3.3. In this effort, the social partners and the position. The recent rally of young Catholics in Paris
European social dialogue in its broader sense can play a also showed that young people respond when called on
very constructive role. to participate. Steps should be taken to introduce Europe-
6.3.4. New forms of action are also called for, both wide awards and prizes for programmes and action by
from the traditional agents of social cohesion and from youth organizations that seek to address social problems.
the new agents and institutions such as non-
governmental organizations, local government, etc. These can be institutionalized by the Euro-
Non-governmental organizations must adapt their pean Parliament, Council and Commission in the frame-
activities or a new generation of non-governmental work of youth policies, and promoted by national
organizations will come into being. Most action taken parliaments and churches (the World Council of
by non-governmental organizations to date has been by Churches and local churches).
and for society. The new types of non-governmental
organization proposed will not take on the task of
tackling social problems and will not stand in for society In collaboration with the competent services
or the State. On the contrary, their aim will be to of the Commission, UNICEF, the Committee of the
improve society’s ability to organize a response to the Regions and European youth umbrella organizations,
problems. Their aim will be to help local communities, the ESC can organize a pan-European conference on the
to bring about change and to use problems as a subject of participation among young people in Europe.
basis for acquiring the organizational capabilities and
knowledge of resources needed to solve them. They will
not replace traditional social institutions, but rather will A ‘Youth for Europe 2000+’ programme,
help them to modernize their means and methods of possibly under a new European Commissioner for youth,
action and social intervention. By the nature of their could include various types of pilot projects, dynamic
objectives, such NGOs will be small, flexible and benchmarking and demonstrative actions on youth
low-spending; they will develop sequentially, in the form issues for the proper physical, psychological and cultural
of a network, so that they can become firmly established development of the younger generation in Europe, for
and respond readily to local particularities, thus steering example:
clear of the hierarchical and bureaucratic multinational
model. These efforts can be encouraged more at Euro- — ‘challenging’ tourism for young people and cross-
pean and Member State level. cultural ecological education and communication
C 284/106 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

programmes could be organized around major rivers numbers of young people to set up permanent institutions
or rivers of historical interest in Europe. For example, for interaction and communication, as well as procedures
there could be a series of camps on the Danube and for tackling common problems and mobilizing broad
a multilateral programme between countries through sections of Europe’s youth. This will result in the
which the Danube flows entitled ‘Travelling through establishment of permanent ties and the creation of a
the cultures of the Danube’; commonality of interest among Europe’s young people.

— similar programmes could be organized in the Alps
or between the countries around the Adriatic and
Ionian seas; The increased cost of combating manifes-
tations of racism, xenophobia, racist violence and
— for instance, university-level schools of Fine Arts in juvenile crime can be converted into investment in social
Europe could set up a permanent forum for cultural cohesion by means of a new policy for young people in
dialogue that could be located in a European city Europe, a policy that will reflect the heritage and
and run by two or three universities under a aspirations of European peoples.
multilateral programme;

— a permanent forum for interdenominational dialogue
could be organized as part of a multinational
programme involving theology schools and various
church representatives, with the aim of fostering a
culture of solidarity, tolerance, and why not even 6.4. Unemployment and poverty
cooperation between young people of different
Churches and beliefs, in an effort to address the
problems they face.
6.4.1. The Economic and Social Committee has Steps should be taken to persuade local and rigorously focused on the priority issue of employment
Member State governments to provide the mass media as part of a sustainable economic and social development
with incentives to make programmes that promote a model. It has attached great importance to the achieve-
responsible culture of participation and democracy in ment of economic and monetary union on schedule in
which there is equality between different peoples and order to stimulate confidence and employment. It has
cultures, programmes that promote models of youth backed the idea of comparative employment perfor-
action, ways for young people to organize, healthy mance criteria and a multi-annual plan with specific
lifestyles and democratic forms of social interaction, measures and a binding timetable, as well as instruments
mobilization and effective employment for young and monitoring mechanisms to which Member States
people. commit themselves. It has encouraged dynamic ‘bench-
marking’ procedures, including a European ‘employ- A permanent centre should be set up to ment impact check’. It has constantly urged the Com-
disseminate better practice in programmes relating to mission to stimulate the development of focused, specific
actions by youth organizations at local and European sector and branch framework strategies for growth
level. and employment, entailing dedicated cooperation and
commitment from the actors involved from both sides
of industry. It has called for a ‘root-and-branch The ESC considers the following to be the revamping’ of the Structural Funds in favour of lasting,
necessary prerequisites for mobilizing society, increasing ‘additional’, jobs. It has especially backed the objective
its involvement in tackling problems and combating of a European-wide guarantee for all young people,
illegal activities detrimental to children: within one year of finishing school, to have access to a
job, work experience or further training, and has called
— a Europe-wide campaign to restore the authority for sharper quantitative and qualitative educational and
and efficacy of the Courts of Law; training targets. The Committee has also argued that
European taxation policy should be re-assessed from
— a Europe-wide campaign conducted by the Member the perspective of employment impact, and that a
States to end corruption in police forces; coordinated European fiscal strategy would be conducive
to generalised negotiated reductions of non-wage labour
— a Europe-wide campaign conducted by the Member costs. It has called for lower VAT rates for products
States to make and keep prison systems free from and services that are labour intensive and offer major
criminal activities; opportunities for job creation. It has expressed strong
support for entrepreneurship and investment in job-
— an issue of particular concern, where action is creative SMEs and micro-businesses. The Committee has
required at European and national level, in both welcomed the European Investment Bank’s ‘Amsterdam
western and eastern Europe, is that of orphanages. Special Action Programme’ and has urged the EIB to
The ESC considers that this subject requires a adopt a more risk-taking attitude and a more focused
specific, additional opinion. approach to projects which can enhance employment-
intensiveness and the quality of jobs, with due regard to It is absolutely essential that Europe should their commercial viability. The Economic and Social
progress beyond cultural exchanges involving small Committee has also called for negotiated reorganization
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/107

and reductions of working time which, linked to centres appropriately staffed by qualified personnel
functional flexibility, attractive part-time working from the countries sending and receiving such tourists
options and longer business and operating hours, may with the task of recording, uncovering and publicizing
have a positive effect on employment, within the cases of child sex abuse.
framework of collective agreements.
7.1.7. The threat of exposure in one’s home country
6.4.2. P o v e r t y a n d s o c i a l e x c l u s i o n may be one of the most effective deterrents.

6.4.3. The Committee has regularly proposed income 7.1.8. Firm action should ensure there are no
support and poverty prevention policies in keeping with organized agents providing such services in the demand
the European social model. countries. Imposing penalties on businesses that adver-
tise, organize or promote child sex tourism and pub-
lishing the names of the directors and employees of such
7. Addressing the problem of child sex tourism businesses would act as a powerful deterrent.

Commission communication (1).
7.2. Stemming the flow of paedophile tourists from the
Member States
7.1. General comments

7.1.1. The Commission communication is seen as a 7.2.1. Under this heading, the Commission underlines
contribution to the broader effort of the European the importance of policies to raise awareness and
Union to combat the sexual abuse and exploitation of establish codes of conduct.
7.2.2. The awareness-raising proposals are impor-
7.1.2. The communication brings to bear the con- tant, as long as care is taken that such campaigns do not
clusions of the Stockholm World Congress against also inure public opinion to the existence and extent of
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (held the problem and lead to indifference, or tolerance of it.
in August 1996), in particular the action programme
produced as a result of the Congress.
7.2.3. With regard to promoting codes of conduct
7.1.3. The Commission communication can be con- and self-regulatory mechanisms in the tourist industry,
sidered as basically a balanced approach that addresses the ESC believes that codes of conduct must be formu-
the problems posed both by the demand for child sex lated without delay, and people must be encouraged to
tourism and by the corresponding supply. respect and observe them by introducing merit awards
at local, national and European level which the tourist
7.1.4. The basic proposals of the Commission rest on industry can use to good effect in advertising.
a three-pronged approach:
— deterring and punishing child sex abusers; 7.2.4. The ESC believes that the problem is so
widespread and serious that it warrants a comprehensive
— specific action to curb both the supply and the deterrent policy comprising penalties for marketing in
demand mechanisms of child sex tourism; the demand countries across the board to penalties for
trafficking and supplying child sex tourism services.
— encouraging the Member States to take a common
stand against the problem.
7.2.5. The approval of declarations does not amount
to a policy of deterrence.
Deterring and punishing child sex
7.2.6. German tour operators provide a good example
of self-regulation, demonstrating the key role that tour
7.1.5. With regard to achieving the first goal, the operators play throughout the tourist industry and thus
Commission recognizes that there is a need for judicial the need to formulate an unambiguous policy to regulate
cooperation and harmonization of legislation. There is their activities at every level, from codes of conduct to
no doubt that the process of harmonizing legislation, punitive measures.
from definitions right through to penalties, needs to be
speeded up.
7.2.7. A bold step in the right direction would be to
7.1.6. In as much as both the countries and regions examine the possibility or usefulness of setting up
receiving child sex tourists are known, deterrence of specialized tourist police units in Member States that do
abusers could be stepped up by establishing monitoring not have them, coordinating the activities of these forces
through Europol and Interpol and making appropriate
arrangements for them to be strengthened and ‘equipped’
(1) COM(96) 547 final, 27.11.1996. with the essential infrastructure.
C 284/108 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

7.3. Helping to combat child sex tourism in third 7.4. Role of the ESC
countries 7.4.1. The Economic and Social Committee can take
the initiative and responsibility to make use of the
dialogue it maintains with its counterparts in each group
7.3.1. The Commission’s proposals represent an
of countries falling into a particular category in the
important contribution towards tackling the problem.
regions concerned, in order to raise and deal with the
issue. The ESC considers that third countries do 7.5. More general policies
not constitute a single, homogeneous area. Political,
economic, religious and cultural differences necessitate 7.5.1. The ESC considers that as part of its inter-
and allow the development of different policies, measures national role the EU can highlight the issue as a priority
and collaborative efforts. for the international community.
7.5.2. In the dialogue of international organizations
such as the UN, UNESCO and UNICEF, in the North-
7.3.2. The ESC proposes that this issue be included South dialogue, within the World Trade Organization,
on the agenda for dialogue with the countries of central etc., the EU must promote policies with definite deadlines
and eastern Europe, the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and geographical targets which are clearly directed at
and dialogue with the ASEAN countries. combating the specific underlying causes of the problem.
7.5.3. The ESC’s proposals on how to deal with
7.3.3. Particular care must be taken in the context of child exploitation at international and European level
the dialogue on EU enlargement to make it quite clear obviously also apply to dealing with the underlying
in every regard that respect for human rights, and in causes of child sex tourism.
particular the rights of the child, and the harmonization 7.5.4. The proposal to set up regional coordinating
— as well as observance — of laws on child-trafficking bodies to address the problem of child exploitation (on
for purposes of sex tourism are matters of the utmost the initiative of the ESC) obviously also applies to
importance for the EU. addressing the problem of child sex tourism.

Brussels, 2 July 1998.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee
14.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/109


to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee

The need for a common terminology

Clarifying the meaning of terms is a useful tool for effective communication, policy drafting, guideline
implementation and harmonization of policy.

The large number of international NGOs dealing with this issue means that a common terminology
must be defined and used.

Basic terms and definitions

What is meant by ‘child’?

According to the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the term ‘child’ refers to any person up to
the age of 18.

ILO Convention No 138 states that the minimum age for legal employment is 15. This is calculated on
the basis of the minimum age for completion of compulsory education (6 + 9 = 15).

Different legal systems define permissible work for children between the ages of 15 and 18 in different
ways. German law on the protection of children at work and on the provision of assistance to children
and young people defines a child as young person of under 14 years of age, or any young person covered
by legislation on compulsory education, i.e. young people of up to 15. Young people aged between 14
and 18 who have been exempted from compulsory education are deemed to be adolescents.

Compulsory education lasts until the age of 15 in Germany and Austria, 16 in France, the UK and The

The age of legal employment generally coincides with the end of compulsory education.

Legal age of consent

The Committee considers that possible EU harmonization of the age of consent is an issue which should
be examined by the appropriate, competent authorities.

Exploitation of children

Exploitation of children is understood to mean:

a) the use of children by any third party for his/her own interests in any way or for any purpose which
is harmful to their physical, psychological or mental well-being;

b) anything contrary to the rights of the child as expressed in the UN Declaration;

c) anything violating the moral standards of the society of either the perpetrator or the victim of

Child abuse

The ESC considers the infliction of any kind of physical, psychological or mental violence on a child for
any purpose as coming under this heading.

The infliction of violence on children for self-interest or satisfaction is defined as abuse. Forcing children,
directly or indirectly, to act for the benefit or satisfaction of third parties constitutes abuse and
ill-treatment. The infliction of psychological, mental or physical violence on children in the ‘social’,
‘family’ or ‘national’ interest is also defined as abuse. The use of children for the erotic/sexual satisfaction
and pleasure of adults also constitutes child abuse (physical, psychological, mental) and exploitation.
C 284/110 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

Neglect and ill-treatment

Neglect of the physical, psychological and mental needs of children and ill-treatment of children are
phenomena for which the definition may vary in accordance with the dominant morality of different
social groups or societies. Even so, limits to what is tolerable, beyond which the state intervenes, exist
virtually everywhere.

Since this category includes a large number of children who are nearing, or have reached, the critical
point of either finding themselves on the streets, or remaining at home under difficult circumstances, it
requires special attention. This is the category potentially swelling the numbers of street children. Social
or official intervention is, to some extent, impossible. It is, however, also the category where prevention
can have a real impact.


Abandonment of children

The ESC defines abandonment of children as the discontinuation of any interest, care or contact by
parents or relatives towards the children.

Abandonment of home and family by children

The abandonment of home and family by children — temporary, repeated or permanent — is the term
used to define the estrangement of the child from home and family.

It is clear from the above definitions that the exploitation and ill-treatment of children is a dynamic,
multi-layered, complex and evolving process. Approaching the problem as a collection of individual
offences fails to identify and tackle the root causes.

Child exploitation, in whatever form and to whatever degree, is primarily a social problem, a symptom
of an unhealthy society. It is also a crime which, when practised, embodies the social problem in the
shape of perpetrator and victim. Reducing a social problem to a criminal act predetermines the policies
chosen to tackle the problem and the crime.

Child sex tourism

We define child sex tourism as organized tourism, of which the principal aim is to provide child sex
‘services’ to customers, or trips that include organized provision of such services or links with ‘networks’
that cater to this type of demand.

The ESC agrees with the profile and definition of the particular types of tourists involved in child sex
tourism set out in the Commission communication (1).


to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee

Commission measures addressing the problem of child exploitation (2).

(1) COM(96) 547 final.
(2) SEC(97) 1265, 24.6.1997.