Press Release

ICMEC Recommends Child Protection Improvements to Central American Heads of State

Guatemala City, Guatemala, December 9, 2021, 17:15 EST – The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) presented the results of its Multisectoral Response and Capacity Assessment (MRC Assessment) during the International Symposium on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling to the Vice Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. 

In partnership with the Guatemalan Central Authority, ICMEC launched its pilot MRC Assessment in Guatemala in June of 2021. This first-of-its-kind national assessment identifies gaps in child protection investigation, response, and victim assistance practices that leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and abuse and provides a practical roadmap to improve child protection practices.

The assessment was conducted with participation from Guatemala’s justice and criminal investigation units, executive branch, legislative branch, and civil society, ultimately resulting in a comprehensive view of Guatemala’s current child protection practices. The final report provided targeted and actionable recommendations for addressing critical gaps that leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Key recommendations from the report include: 

  • Improving coordination between public institutions and civil society organizations to safeguard children and ensure restitution to victims.
  • Upgrading technologies and technology infrastructure including hotlines, helplines, databases, and complaint portals. 
  • Supporting the private sector to establish specific policies to enhance protection.
  • Strengthening specialized investigative units to ensure timely response and restitution to child victims. 
  • Formalizing children’s voice and role in their rights to protective legislation. 

The assessment is part of a larger commitment from the central authorities against human trafficking in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to protect children from online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

About the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children

The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is a non-governmental organization working to make the world a safer place for all children by defending against child sexual exploitation, abuse, and the risk of going missing. Headquartered in the United States, ICMEC works with partners around the world to develop research, technologies, and educational resources to aid in the search and recovery of children who are missing, fight child sexual exploitation, and empower caring professionals, institutions, and communities to safeguard children from all forms of sexual abuse.

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Media Contact:
Jeff Swingle
ICMEC Senior Vice President of Strategic Advancement