World's Largest Humanitarian Prize Awarded to ECPAT

ECPAT, the leading global network of organizations dedicated to stopping the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), has been selected to receive the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million, the world’s largest humanitarian prize. This is the 18th year for the Hilton Prize given by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering. 

The announcement was made here today at a Consultation convened by ECPAT to develop an action plan to combat child trafficking, prostitution and pornography in Africa which has been growing due to increased tourism, family breakdowns, greater access to new technologies, unsafe migration and widespread poverty.

“Each year 1.2 million children have their childhoods stolen from them by unscrupulous traffickers and pimps, generating a $12 billion global market,” said Steven M. Hilton, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation. “ECPAT’s work has been pivotal in mobilizing the international community to stop this evil commerce that does such harm to our children.”

Founded 20 years ago to halt child sex tourism in Asia, ECPAT today leads a global social movement dedicated to ending child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.  Its international secretariat based in Thailand provides technical support and information, forms partnerships with key actors such as law enforcement and the tourism industry, and is an international voice for children who are being exploited sexually for commercial gain.   Its 81 member organizations in 74 countries implement local initiatives to protect children from sexual exploitation and help child survivors return to health and well-being.

“ECPAT is deeply honored to be selected to receive the prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize by its distinguished jury. Over the last 20 years the name ECPAT has become synonymous with action to stop the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Hilton Humanitarian Prize is welcome recognition of the pioneering role ECPAT has played to bring this issue to the world’s attention. The Prize is also an impetus for ECPAT to accelerate action as we seek to build a world where no child is a victim of child prostitution, child pornography or trafficking for sexual purposes,” said Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director of ECPAT International.

"I want to thank the Hilton Foundation for its willingness to stand behind a cause that too often goes under the radar," said Carol Smolenski, executive director, ECPAT USA. "No one wants to think about children being sold for sex, especially not here in the United States, yet it goes on every day within our borders. This award helps us educate Americans about the issue and continues the growing momentum to pass laws and create services that protect these children and punish the exploiters."

“ECPAT was one of approximately 200 nominees received this year for the Hilton Prize,” said Judy Miller, vice president of the Hilton Foundation and director of the Hilton Prize. She added, “The Hilton Prize international jurors recognized the pressing need to put a spotlight on this malignancy that is growing throughout the world.” As a member organization of ECPAT, FAN would like to congratulate them on this honor.