The Body Shop and ECPAT present one of the largest petitions in the history of the United Nations calling for action to stop sex of trafficking of children and young people
Embargoed until September 29th 2011, 1.00pm CET. Geneva, 29th September 2011. The Body Shop and ECPAT today presented a petition of over 7 million signatures from all over the world to the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ms. Dupuy Lassere calling on governments across the world to take urgent action to stop the sex trafficking of children and young people.
The petition is part of The Body Shop and ECPAT’s ground-breaking campaign to urge governments to do more to protect the 1.2 million children and young people trafficked every year for sexual exploitation. This campaign has already inspired change on an unprecedented scale, leading to 14 countries across the world to commit to adopting new legislation in response to this petition. Countries where governments have already committed to action as a result of the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign include Malta, Denmark, Portugal, South Africa, Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, Pakistan, Romania, Taiwan, Ireland, Indonesia, The Philippines and New Zealand.
Receiving the petition, President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ms. Dupuy Lassere said “This petition represents an historic occasion for the United Nations Human Rights Council to build on the notable successes of the campaign and to inspire governments to join and take action to tackle this crime in its internal and international form and work on prevention and reparation of victims.”
The campaign has been active across 65 countries and senior representatives from 35 national governments have accepted campaign petitions and met with representatives from The Body Shop, ECPAT and other local partners, to discuss actions to support those at risk or affected. With over 2.3 million signatures collected in the European Union, the campaign produced the largest human rights petition ever presented to the European Union and has received a number of prestigious awards and secured the support of major opinion formers including President Bill Clinton who described it as “an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge’.
Commenting on today’s event, Christopher Davis, International Campaigns Director for The Body Shop, and winner of the United Nations Business Leaders Award Against Human Trafficking said: “Our success demonstrates that the approach of The Body Shop to campaigning can change the world. By uniting the voices of people calling for social change instead of focussing on short term fundraising activities we know we can inspire governments to take action which creates long term sustainable change. What we have achieved with our campaign so far will create a safer world for children for decades to come.”
Kathleen Speake, Executive Director of ECPAT International added, “Trafficking in children and young people is a grave crime, where offenders have been operating with impunity and where child victims are often criminalised or abandoned without care options. The unprecedented support for ECPAT’s campaign with The Body Shop demonstrates that the world is calling for change, and governments are beginning to listen. Alongside the United Nations Human Rights Council, we will continue our efforts to fight this egregious crime against children, calling for governments to take urgent action and to promote productive multi-stakeholder partnerships”.
In addition to today’s presentation, The Body Shop and ECPAT, with the support of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have hosted an exhibition which tells the story of the campaign and celebrates progress. Praising the campaign, former President of the Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN Office at Geneva, H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, said “This campaign demonstrates the power of partnerships. When companies join NGO’s and governments we can take action to protect our most vulnerable. I congratulate The Body Shop and ECPAT on their achievements so far”.
Human trafficking is the third largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, affecting over 1.2 million children and young people every year who are trafficked for sexual exploitation and cheap labour. The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign aims to put an end to the trafficking of children and young people, guarantee their rights to be protected from exploitation and inspire long-term change to protect children and young people. The campaign has been launched in over 65 countries and in just two years has raised over US$3million worldwide which goes towards ECPAT International’s Global Youth Partnership Project and a number of anti-trafficking initiatives implemented by the ECPAT network and NGO partners around the world.
We don’t just campaign for change, we create change
The Body Shop Mission Statement says that we will “passionately campaign for the protection of the environment, to defend human rights, and against animal testing within the cosmetics industry.” Since The Body Shop opened its first store in Brighton, UK, in 1976, we have been famous for running cutting edge campaigns, raising awareness and catalysing change on a number of important social and environmental issues. Our campaigns are designed to inspire and inform customers and reach out to key decision makers who can make a difference.
The Body Shop campaigns history
- Campaign successes include the Against Animal Testing campaign. The campaign led to a UK-wide ban on animal testing on cosmetic products and ingredients in November 1998 and led to four million signatures being delivered to the European Commission in 1996.
- To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1998, The Body Shop launched a joint worldwide campaign with Amnesty International to highlight the plight of human rights defenders around the world, encouraging customers to ‘Make their Mark’ for human rights. This successful campaign saw three million people sign up.
- During 2002, The Body Shop ran a global campaign with Greenpeace International on promoting renewable energy, which culminated in the presentation of over six million customer signatures at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. We further our commitment to environmental sustainability through investment in renewable energy, funding of energy efficiency projects in the developing world, and incorporating post-consumer recyclate into our packaging.
- During 2003 The Body Shop launched a global campaign to help Stop Violence In The Home. This was built on almost a decade of campaigning on the issue in a number of our markets, including Canada, the USA, and West Malaysia. The campaign aimed to highlight the issue, raise money to support the work of groups helping victims of violence, and ensure that customers and employees are provided with information on sources of advice and help.
- The Stop Violence in the Home campaign teamed up with the United Nations Secretary General’s Study on Children & Violence to create Behind Closed Doors, the first global Report on the impact and extend of domestic violence on children. The campaign expanded into the Middle East and, in total, reached 52 markets worldwide.
- In 2007 The Body Shop launched a unique three year partnership with MTV International which marked a renewed commitment to The Body Shop’s fight against HIV and AIDS.
- In 2009, The Body Shop and ECPAT International launched a ground breaking campaign to urge governments to put an end to Sex Child Trafficking.
The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People Campaign – facts & figures
- The campaign was adopted by 2,600 of The Body Shop stores throughout the world to raise awareness and to inspire action.
- Our most powerful campaign advocates include 50,000 members of The Body Shop store teams, who have been mobilised to speak to customers about the campaign.
- After extensive training on the issue, teams proactively asked customers to sign petitions and raised funds to support the campaign. Our teams also used their own creativity to promote the campaign using store windows and hosting special store events.
- 90% of our petitions have come from The Body Shop stores!
- Over 7 million signatures have been collected in total
- At the time of printing, 14 national governments had been inspired to create change
- In just two years, over US$3million has been raised for the ECPAT network and NGO partners by creating and selling products especially for the campaign.
- Christopher Davis, International Campaigns Director for The Body Shop, was awarded the United Nations Business Leaders Award for Fighting Human Trafficking in December 2010.
Notes to editors:
What are ECPAT and The Body Shop asking the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to do?
ECPAT and The Body Shop, along with the supporters of the campaign petition, are asking for the UNHRC to respond to the call for action to protect children and young people. We are also asking the UNHRC to use its considerable influence in urging all governments to focus on the issue of child trafficking and to take concrete action by strengthening their efforts in preventing, protecting and offering specialised care services for child survivors.
The campaign has also made the following specific requests to the Human Rights Council:
- To encourage Member States of the Human Rights Council to organise an ‘Annual Full Day Meeting’ on the rights of the child, focusing on child trafficking
- To urge all states to strengthen their national efforts to combat child trafficking, especially in areas of prevention, protection and specialised care services
- To urge Member States where the campaign has been active to implement the specific campaign calls to action that require urgent attention and follow up
- To encourage Member States to invite the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking to visit their countries and provide them with adequate assistance
- To urge Member States to ensure that within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the fulfilment of each Member State’s obligations under the UPR to systematically examine the protection policies that are in place to combat all forms of violence against children, including trafficking
About the Stop Sex Trafficking campaign
The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign is a three-year global campaign in partnership with NGO ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking) an international network of children’s rights organisations. The campaign aims to put an end to the trafficking of children and young people, guarantee their rights to be protected from exploitation and inspire long-term change to protect children and young people. The campaign has been launched in 65 countries and in just two years has collected over 7 million signatures and raised over US$3million worldwide. The campaign has presented petitions to 36 governments around the world and already inspired governments to change laws in 14 countries. Recently, the campaign presented the biggest petition on human rights in history to the EU. On September 22nd, The Body Shop launched a strictly Limited Edition “The STOP bag” with Tamara Mellon OBE, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Jimmy Choo. Retailing at [LOCAL RRP], profits from the sale of The STOP bag will go towards ECPAT International, [INSERT LOCAL CHARITY PARTNER], and the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign.
About The Body Shop
The Body Shop International plc is the original, natural and ethical beauty brand, with over 2,500 stores in over 60 markets worldwide. The Body Shop seeks out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe to deliver products bursting with effectiveness, to enhance your natural beauty. By striving to use the planet’s resources wisely, The Body Shop searches for outstanding natural materials and ingredients from across the globe to include in its range of products. The Body Shop is proud to have been the first beauty brand to have brought the benefits of fair trade to the beauty industry through its own unique Community Fair Trade programme, to have introduced 100% recycled packaging, and to raise funds and awareness on key issues of the day, including the sex trafficking of the most vulnerable in our society, children and young people.
The Body Shop has received the recognition of organisations including the British RSPCA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, having been proudly awarded their ‘Lifetime Achievement Award 2009’, “in recognition of the significant contribution the company has made in helping to achieve a ban on animal testing and in particular the work carried out by its late founder Dame Anita Roddick”. In addition The Body Shop is pleased its products continue to win illustrious awards and accolades internationally. The brand continues to be cited as an ‘ethical’ and ‘green brand’.
ECPAT International is a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. It seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Currently, the ECPAT global network is composed of 83 member organisations in 75 countries. ECPAT works to build collaboration among local civil society actors and the broader child rights community to form a global social movement for protection of children from sexual exploitation. Its membership reflects the richness and diversity of experience, knowledge and perspectives that arise from working in widely different contexts. ECPAT members provide direct care to child victims, conduct research, implement awareness-raising campaigns, work on advocacy and lobby with governments and capacity building trainings for relevant stakeholders.