The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
As of November 2009, 193 countries have ratified or accepted this international treaty. The only countries that have not signed it are Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States of America.
While the US has not signed the Convention, it has signed onto the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which requires countries to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
Monitoring children’s rights
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors implementation of two optional protocols to the Convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly approved a third optional protocol on a Communications Procedure, which will allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and its first two optional protocols. The Protocol opens for signature in 2012 and will enter into force upon ratification by 10 UN Member States.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
The Committee reviews additional reports which must be submitted by States who have acceded to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention.
As part of the protocol the US must report every five years on its progress in preventing and combating child trafficking. We at ECPAT-USA have prepared an Alternative Report to the US’s assessment on its own efforts.