Ireland Ready to Take a Firm Stance Against Child Trafficking, Child Abuse Material and Child Prostitution

Published date: 
2 Jan 2019


Ireland Ready to Take a Firm Stance Against Child Trafficking, Child Abuse Material and Child Prostitution

Children’s Rights Alliance supports Minister Zappone’s Call to Ratify the Second Optional Protocol

The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD’s call for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Protocol details important safeguarding measures for children and young people from offences including child trafficking, child abuse material (referred to in the Protocol as child pornography) and child prostitution.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance commenting today said: “It is great to see the Government finally pushing ratification as a political priority for 2019. This Protocol covers some of the worst offences that can be committed against children including child trafficking, child prostitution or the production, consumption, dissemination or possession of child abuse material. Ratification will demonstrate that Ireland is meeting the highest standards in the protection of our children and young people and sends a clear message nationally and internationally that these offences will not be tolerated here.

The Protocol creates obligations on Governments to criminalise and punish activities related to these offences. It also prioritises the voice of the child at the heart of these cases. Countries are required to adopt appropriate measures to protect the rights and interests of child victims at all stages of the criminal justice process, including measures recognising their vulnerability. We have seen our Government’s commitment to this particular requirement in the most recent Budget, which included a One House Model in Galway for children who have been sexually abused. We look forward to seeing how this pilot Model works and how it can be resourced in order to reach vulnerable children all across the country.

Tanya Ward continued, “The Minister’s announcement today follows almost two decades of work from organisations including the Children’s Rights Alliance and our members to ensure Ireland remained committed to the standards in the Protocol and that the legal requirements were in place for Ireland to join the rest of the EU in ratifying the protocol. It is something we recently advocated for in May of 2018 when we met with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio during her visit to Dublin. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child also recommended that Ireland ratify the Protocol back in 2016. It is now time that we take the final step in defining the kind of country that we are when it comes to the care and protection of our children and young people.”


For further information, please contact
Emma McKinley / Emma Archbold: 01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067 or email /

Note for Editors:
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview.
• The second optional Protocol is available at  

Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography was adopted and opened for signature on 25 May 2000 and entered into force on 18 January 2002. The Optional Protocol supplements the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by providing states with the detailed requirements necessary to end the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The Optional Protocol also supplements Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that governments must protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.

For the purposes of the Optional Protocol, the following definitions apply:
• ‘Sale of children’: any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration
• ‘Child prostitution’: the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration
• ‘Child pornography’: any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.

About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL