The 18th of May – “National Day to Combat Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents”, established by Federal Law 9.970/00, is an achievement that marks the fight for the Human Rights of Children and Adolescents in Brazilian territory and that has already reached many municipalities in our country.
This day was chosen because on May 18, 1973, in the city of Vitória (ES), a barbaric crime shocked the entire country and became known as the “Araceli Case”. That was the name of an eight-year-old girl, who had all her human rights violated, was kidnapped, raped and killed by upper-middle-class youth from that city. The crime, despite its hideous nature, to this day goes unpunished.
The annual proposal of the campaign, which this year celebrates the 20th year of mobilization, is to highlight the date to mobilize, raise awareness, inform and summon the whole society to participate in the fight in defense of the rights of children and adolescents. It is necessary to guarantee to all children and adolescents the right to their development in a safe and protected way, free from abuse and sexual exploitation.
Sexual violence against children and adolescents involves several risk and vulnerability factors when considering gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, generation and economic conditions. In this violation, different power relationships are established, in which people and/or networks use children and adolescents to satisfy their sexual desires and fantasies and/or obtain financial advantages and profits.
In this context, the child or adolescent is not considered a subject of rights, but a being dispossessed of humanity and protection. Sexual violence against boys and girls occurs both through intrafamily or interpersonal sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Children and adolescents victims of sexual violence, because they are vulnerable, can become merchandise and thus be used in different forms of sexual exploitation such as: trafficking, pornography, prostitution and sexual exploitation in tourism.
We want to emphasize the responsibility of public authorities and society in the implementation of the National Plan to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents, in guaranteeing care for children, adolescents and their families, through networking, strengthening the Guarantee System of Rights advocated in the Statute of Children and Adolescents (Federal Law 8069/90) and having as a privileged locus the Councils for the Rights of Children and Adolescents within the scope of states and municipalities.
This year, once again in reference to the day, the National Committee to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents and the ECPAT Brasil Network emphasize the importance of mobilizing and participating in this action by different sectors.