December 1, 2009
In December 2009, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law held a hearing on U.S. human rights treaty implementation. It was the first Congressional hearing on the U.S. compliance with its human rights treaty obligations. Professor Jonathan Todres co-authored written testimony on U.S. efforts to implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography. The U.S. ratified the Optional Protocol in 2002.
Professor Todres explained, "As we said in our testimony, there is greater value in the reporting process under human rights treaties. It is a collaborative process that helps identify what is working well and what else we need to do in order to stop human rights abuses, such as the commercial sexual exploitation of children." The testimony included recommendations on ways the U.S. government can more effectively engage non-governmental organizations and the general public to ensure that all individuals reap the benefits of human rights law.
The testimony was submitted on behalf of ECPAT-USA (which stands for End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) working to combat child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and co-authored by its Executive Director. Professor Todres first started volunteering with ECPAT-USA as a law student. He currently serves as the organization’s Child Rights Advisor and works on various legislative and policy initiatives for the NGO.