London — An international anti-trafficking group received an Interpol award on Friday for its work tackling the sexual exploitation of children around the world.
The international police agency presented the Crimes Against Children award to ECPAT during a ceremony in Lyon, France, for its "excellent work" in fighting the crime, Interpol said.
An estimated 40 million people were trapped as slaves last year - mostly women and girls - in forced labour and forced marriages, according to anti-slavery groups.
"We know that the number of victims is huge and that very often these children suffer in silence," ECPAT's executive director, Dorothy Rozga, said in a statement.
ECPAT's says its 103 member organisations operate in 93 countries.
The group's U.S. branch was among several that lobbied for new laws to make to crack down on operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking that made headway in the U.S. Senate this month.
"We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with ECPAT to protect the most vulnerable members of society from abuse and further develop awareness of this global issue," said Bjorn Sellstrom, head of Interpol's crimes against children team.
- Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Ros Russell