The has announced , a global network of organizations dedicated to stopping the commercial sexual exploitation of children, as the winner of the $1.5 million .
Founded in 1990 to stop child sex tourism in Asia, Thailand-based ECPAT has developed into a global social movement dedicated to ending child prostitution, child pornography, and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Comprising eighty-one member organizations in seventy-four countries, the network provides technical support and information, works to help child survivors of sexual exploitation return to health and well-being, and partners with law enforcement and the tourism industry to implement local initiatives to protect children from exploitation. The world's largest humanitarian prize was announced at a consultation convened by ECPAT in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where participants are working to develop an action plan to combat child trafficking, prostitution, and pornography in Africa — all of which have been growing as a result of increased tourism, family breakdown, greater access to new technologies, unsafe migration, and widespread poverty.
To help combat child sex tourism, ECPAT developed the , to which more than a thousand private-sector companies in forty countries have committed. The organization also has been a pioneer in empowering youth survivors and at-risk youth to run advocacy campaigns, lobby governments, and raise awareness of the issue. And in partnership with and the , it has convened three World Congresses since 1996 to focus global attention on the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.
"Each year 1.2 million children have their childhoods stolen from them by unscrupulous traffickers and pimps, generating a $12 billion global market," said Hilton Foundation president and CEO Steven M. Hilton. "ECPAT's work has been pivotal in mobilizing the international community to stop this evil commerce that does such harm to our children."