ECPAT International is a global network of organizations working for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. In 2015, its Secretariat in Bangkok asked Rain Barrel to help them develop a strategy to engage the world’s religious leaders in a dialogue about the sensitive issues surrounding the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The goal is to build a social movement to eliminate these crimes affecting as many as 1.8 million children worldwide. Rain Barrel agreed to undertake a literature review, an online survey and interviews with representatives of a sample of ECPAT’s 80 member organizations in 77 countries. We also interviewed religious leaders and representatives of faith-based organizations (FBOs), in cooperation with Arigatou International (see https://arigatouinternational.org/en/), a global, faith-based NGO committed to children’s well being.
We drafted a conference paper that was presented at the Forum on Religious Ideals and Reality: Responsibility of Leadership to Prevent Violence against Children, co-sponsored by ECPAT and Arigatou in Geneva in August 2015. See http://www.ecpat.net/news/ecpat-international-and-arigatou-international-co-host-geneva-discussions
Based on feedback from the research and the Forum, Rain Barrel then drafted recommendations for a multi-year initiative to promote ECPAT’s strategic engagement with religious leaders and FBOs at global, regional and local levels.
In a parallel project, Rain Barrel drafted ECPAT’s Annual Report for 2013-2014. See: http://www.ecpat.net/sites/default/files/Anuual%20Report%202013-2014_0.pdf
Rain Barrel’s support for these important initiatives is likely to continue into a new phase as the ECPAT attempts to implement its outreach to religious leaders and communities around the world.