In 1996, the world was shocked by the revelations from the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, convened on the initiative of the Swedish Government. This Congress launched a global discussion about the evidence and scope of the atrocity – sexual and otherwise – of violence against children. Despite global efforts, sexual abuse and violence against children is still pervasive. In all countries and regions, across all societies, children are exploited in numerous ways – starting from infancy and at all ages.

The world congress coincided with the Swedish Presidency of the CBSS. The CBSS Ombudsman for Democracy and Human rights wrote a letter asking the Swedish Foreign Minister to put the issue of sexually exploited children on the agenda for regional cooperation.