Featured Case Study: Creating Change Through Partnership – The STOP Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People

Featured Case Study: Creating Change Through Partnership – The STOP Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People-90

The STOP Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign proved to be a highly effective global advocacy campaign led by ECPAT International and The Body Shop targeting consumers, supporters, activists, decision makers and states.

UNICEF estimates that every year 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Profits from this trade in vulnerable children are thought by the International Labour Organization to exceed $27 billion a year. The problem is particularly pronounced in Asia Pacific: the US Department of State estimates that three out of every 1,000 people are victims of child sex trafficking, double the global ratio. The clandestine nature of the problem means that official figures are likely to underestimate its prevalence globally.

Nearly 80 per cent of human trafficking is believed to be for sexual exploitation, and over 20 per cent of victims are reported by UN crime agency UNODC to be children.

In every country in Asia Pacific, children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, with those Asian states suffering from high rates of poverty most likely to be the source of children bought, sold, transported or resold for exploitation including prostitution, pornography and forced marriage.

In 2009 ECPAT International, an NGO that fights the sexual exploitation of children, reckoned that Cambodia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Indonesia and India were making “slow progress” or had implemented only “limited measures” to tackle the problem of child sex trafficking.

Objectives and Delivery

Given the scale of the problem of child sex trafficking and the slow progress made by societies and governments to tackle it, ECPAT International sought to create a partnership focused on international and intersectional cooperation. After the death of its founder, Anita Roddick, The Body Shop canvassed for a partner to launch a three-year campaign on human trafficking as a way of honouring her memory. In these early discussions ECPAT International convinced The Body Shop of the need to focus resources and campaigning efforts on children and young people who were trafficked and exploited.

The Body Shop, ECPAT International and its global affiliates designed a campaign that aimed both to raise awareness of the problem and deliver long-term action to tackle it. Mobilising The Body Shop’s customer base, the campaign focused on advocacy, education and fundraising over a three-year period from 2009-2012.

Central to the campaign was a robust system of measurement: using progress card methodology and drawing on its expertise on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, ECPAT International produced 47 reports looking into grassroots issues, which formed a central component of the advocacy strategy and gave an extensive assessment of the scale of the problem on a country-by-country basis. This system allowed constant analysis and a benchmark against which to measure the success of the campaign globally and locally.

Phase One: Education

The first year saw ECPAT and The Body Shop utilise their combined expertise and access to consumers to educate the public and raise its understanding of the trafficking of children and young people for sex. Some 15,000 Body Shop employees working in more than 2,500 stores around the world were trained to promote the campaign and ensure its success in their communities. An estimated 300 million people a year were reported to have seen or heard about the campaign in Body Shop stores.

Phase Two: Mobilisation

By leveraging The Body Shop’s customer base, the campaign mobilised significant global support: over seven million people signed a petition against child sex trafficking that was presented to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and, in Asia, to senior government figures including President Aquino of the Philippines and President Ram Baran Yadav of Nepal.
Uniting the voice of millions of people, the campaign inspired policymakers to accelerate and sustain their efforts to enhance the protection of children and young people. It pushed for change in three distinct ways: to implement community-based prevention programmes among groups at risk; to incorporate international legal standards that protect children into national legal frameworks; to integrate specialised services for victims of child sex trafficking into national policies.

Phase Three: Global Overview – Measurement and Reporting

Using the 47 campaign reports as benchmarks, the programme captured important data on trends relating to child protection measures and developed detailed reporting mechanisms that could themselves be used as tools to lobby governments to act to combat child sex trafficking. This reporting phase found that most action being taken was focused on enacting adequate legal frameworks to tackle the problem. It found more limited progress in the area of prevention. For example, the research recorded progress in the adoption of national plans and the “creation of spaces for multi-stakeholder collaboration” but noted that much more remained to be done to create a common standard of preventive care.

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On the downside, the global overview reported significantly less progress in the care and rehabilitation of victims and their families. For example, it noted that only a handful of countries operated helplines for the victims of child sex abuse.


The focus on measurement allowed all partners and government agencies to assess the impact of the campaign and the 47 reports created a body of knowledge to educate both the public and governments about the global problem of child sex trafficking.

The campaign recorded a 7 percent increase in the number of states that were “making notable efforts” to stop child sex trafficking, along with a 50 per cent decrease in countries making insufficient or limited progress.

Globally four countries ratified the UNCRC Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography during the life-cycle of the campaign and three countries, including Indonesia, agreed to subsequent ratification. Four countries adopted the UN Trafficking Protocol and eight countries revised or had begun the revision of their own legislation covering child sex trafficking.
Two in 10 governments took action to provide more adequate support services for child victims and researchers found a 20 per cent drop in the number of countries deemed to be operating “totally inadequate” shelters.

On the fundraising side, The Body Shop and ECPAT raised $3 million through the campaign and channelled these funds directly into projects to tackle child sex trafficking. The programme also delivered training to hundreds of law enforcement officers and social workers to educate them about the realities of child sex trafficking.

Ultimately the collaboration between ECPAT, The Body Shop and a wide range of agencies resulted in millions of people learning more about the commercial sexual exploitation of children, harnessing this process to drive change in the protection of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Asia Pacific and around the world.

This case study was compiled by SharingValueAsia in consultation with relevant stakeholders. It will appear in a special report “Partnership in Action”, published in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard in August 2014


About ECPAT:

ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography And Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a non-governmental organization  and global network of organizations dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It primarily focused on stopping three main forms of sexual exploitation: child pornography, child prostitution and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. The network consists of an International Secretariat based in Thailand, together with 81 local member organisations in 74 countries.

About The Body Shop:

The Body Shop has a range consisting of 1,200 products, including cosmetics and make-up in its 2,500 franchised stores in 61 countries.  It has made a number of social commitments including ethical trading which is about brands, retailers and suppliers taking responsibility for the working conditions of the people who make the products they sell. It’s about making sure that workers are treated fairly, with dignity and respect.  The company also refuses to trade in products connected to animal testing and is committed to reducing its negative impact on the environment.  Since 2004, over £4 million has been donated to local partners who fund the prevention, support and protection of abused women and children.

Other Partners:

Australia: Child Wise, ECPAT National Group
Cambodia: ECPAT Cambodia
Hong Kong: Against Child Abuse
India: STOP India and Sanlaap
Indonesia: ECPAT National Coalition for the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Japan ECPAT STOP Japan
New Zealand: ECPAT New Zealand
Pakistan: Pakistan Pediatric Association
Philippines ECPAT Philippines
Singapore: UNIFEM Singapore, HOME and Dr. Sallie Yea
South Africa Child Welfare South Africa, ECPAT Affiliate
South Korea Naeil Women’s Center for Youth, ECPAT Affiliate
Taiwan: ECPAT Taiwan
Thailand: ECPAT International