The Down to Zero Alliance is a joint effort of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Plan Netherlands, Defense of Children - ECPAT, Free a Girl and ICCO Cooperation, under the leadership of Terre des Hommes Netherlands. It aims to eradicate the commercial sexual exploitation of children in 10 countries. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a strategic partner of the Alliance and the donor of this program.


The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a phenomenon that affects 2 million children worldwide. Children are sexually exploited, in exchange for payment in cash or in kind to the child, but more often to a third party. These acts are illegal, degrading and threaten the physical and psychosocial well-being of children. In many cases, the victims are vulnerable girls: girls who come from broken homes, have faced domestic violence, abuse child, parental neglect, children who have dropped out of school and are pressured by peers or relatives. Commercial sexual exploitation of children is a complex problem with multiple drivers. Poverty, armed conflicts, cultural norms and values, modern communication technology, increasing mobility around the world, lack of information, lack of political will and corruption are factors that make that children are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and the impunity of their offenders. Ideally, all of these causes are addressed in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children.


The Down to Zero Alliance aims to eradicate the number of sexually exploited children in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America, through four strategic objectives:

  • Child victims and children at risk are empowered and act as agents of change and can protect themselves from (re) victimization of commercial sexual exploitation by identifying and reporting cases. They are educated, and they participate in campaigns and decision making. They also play an active role in engaging their colleagues in addressing the problem and making decisions.
  • Targeted communities are safer, offer better protection to child victims, and can prevent children from becoming victims, making the public aware of the consequences of commercial sexual exploitation and challenging taboo and shame.
  • Governments, law enforcement, and the judiciary implement policies, action plans, budgets and protocols to effectively combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children, through evidence-based lobbying and advocacy. capacity.
  • Market leaders or sectoral associations from the private sector (tourism industry, ICT, transport and extractive industries) are actively involved in protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation, through evidence-based advocacy activities, connecting businesses with other key stakeholders and working on the Adoption and application of internal policies or sectoral codes of conduct.


The Down to Zero Alliance has identified four stakeholder groups that are key to achieving the goals:

  • Governments and law enforcement agencies of the 10 selected countries;
  • The private sector actors operating in these countries, more specifically in the tourism, ICT and extractive industries;
  • Families and communities in selected geographic locations, usually hot spots;
  • Children themselves: vulnerable children and child victims.
  • The joint contributions of these four stakeholders will lead to a durable solution to commercial sexual exploitation.


Through this program, the Alliance is committed to making a meaningful and lasting contribution to Sustainable Development Goals 16.2 "End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children "and 5.2" Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls and adolescents in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other exploitation ". The five partners of the Alliance, the Ministry, more than 25 partners and stakeholders in the implementation will draw on each other's experiences, learn from each other's best practices and develop innovative approaches. This will allow organizations to act and react in changing contexts and address new phenomena of sexual exploitation. Learning between countries and the two regions (Asia and Latin America) will lead to more effective and sustainable approaches in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Down to Zero Alliance is fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children by:

  • Allowing children and young people to protect themselves and defend their rights. The Alliance will raise awareness of the rights of the child and the risks of commercial sexual exploitation. They will ensure that children have access to child protection systems. They will provide appropriate services and support to child victims, and enable children to act as agents of change.
  • Support and empower communities to protect their children against commercial sexual exploitation. The Alliance will organize awareness campaigns, hold dialogues with community leaders and role models, and establish community child protection mechanisms. In addition, the Alliance will initiate discussions with families and provide care and counseling to help their children escape exploitative situations.
  • Encouraging governments to implement relevant policies and laws by developing and implementing national action plans that can effectively address commercial sexual exploitation. Through dialogue with governments and law enforcement agencies, the Alliance will put commercial sexual exploitation higher on their agendas. Dutch embassies will be contracted to address the international aspects of the problem.
  • Cooperating with the private sector, for example tourism companies, to prevent and address the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Codes of conduct are being developed with relevant companies to offer children the protection to which they are entitled. Through dialogue with companies and their clients, the Alliance will call for the detection and prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children in its supply chain. In addition, companies offer livelihood and education opportunities for families. Dutch embassies will provide contacts and resources where possible.


Alliance members are committed to working side-by-side, sharing their knowledge and experiences, and constantly striving for maximum impact. Alliance members are committed to supporting and developing the capacity of their local partners, who will implement and maintain the program. They will empower key stakeholders in their fight against commercial sexual exploitation and complement their efforts where necessary. The Dutch embassies in the 10 countries will provide access to networks and resources. The Alliance will actively inform stakeholders, international agencies, Dutch embassies about the objectives and achievements of the program.


The duration of the program is 5 years, from January 2016 to December 2020. The total budget of the program is 15 million euros, over 5 years in 10 countries (and Bangladesh up to 2018). The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the donor of this program.


Down to Zero is being implemented in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America. Asia: India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand. Latin America: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru.



Youth Voices for Change is an initiative of the Down To Zero Alliance that seeks to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents by amplifying the voices of young leaders for change in Latin America and Asia.