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Child Trafficking-Human trafficking of children

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This brothel keeper and her slaves are in a red-light district in Mumbling, India. The women and girls used in prostitution may be exploited 10 to 40 times a night, sometimes keeping as little as 20 rupees (less than 50 cents) per encounter. The Madam takes the biggest cut for herself, then pays the landlord, the pimps, and her "protectors." Government corruption is one of the driving factors behind the burgeoning trade in human beings.

Trafficking in children (child trafficking) is a global problem affecting large numbers of children. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year.

There is a demand for trafficked children as cheap labour or for sexual exploitation. Children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking, believing that better employment and lives lie in other countries.

Child trafficking is lucrative and linked with criminal activity and corruption. It is often hidden and hard to address. Trafficking always violates the child’s right to grow up in a family environment. In addition, children who have been trafficked face a range of dangers, including violence and sexual abuse. Trafficked children are even arrested and detained as illegal aliens.

Although our primary focus is on domestic human trafficking, child trafficking in the United States and North America, we also want to help make a global impact in some of the worst nations where this crime is all too accepted as status quo! – Marion Williams, Human Trafficking Movie Project

Some facts about human trafficking in children:

  • UNICEF estimates that 1,000 to 1,500 Guatemalan babies and children are trafficked each year for adoption by couples in North America and Europe.
  • Girls as young as 13 (mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe) are trafficked as “mail-order brides.” In most cases these girls and women are powerless and isolated and at great risk of violence.
  • Large numbers of children are being trafficked in West and Central Africa, mainly for domestic work but also for sexual exploitation and to work in shops or on farms. Nearly 90 per cent of these trafficked domestic workers are girls.
  • Children from Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana are trafficked to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Gabon. Children are trafficked both in and out of Benin and Nigeria. Some children are sent as far away as the Middle East and Europe.

Sexual exploitation

Sexual activity is often seen as a private matter, making communities reluctant to act and intervene in cases of sexual exploitation. These attitudes make children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Myths, such as the belief that HIV/AIDS can be cured through sex with a virgin, technological advances such as the Internet which has facilitated child pornography, and sex tourism targeting children, all add to their vulnerability.

  • Surveys indicate that 30 to 35 per cent of all sex workers in the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia are between 12 and 17 years of age.
  • Mexico’s social service agency reports that there are more than 16,000 children engaged in prostitution, with tourist destinations being among those areas with the highest number.
  • In Lithuania, 20 to 50 percent of prostitutes are believed to be minors. Children as young as age 11 are known to work as prostitutes. Children from children’s homes, some 10 to 12 years old, have been used to make pornographic movies.

Building a protective environment

Millions of children worldwide are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse including the worst forms of child labor in communities, schools and institutions; during armed conflict; and to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage. Millions more, not yet victims, also remain without adequate protection.

Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is an integral component of protecting their rights to survival, growth and development. UNICEF’s commitment to protecting children is underlined in our Medium Term Strategic Plan and Child Protection Strategy. We draw on our Core Corporate Commitments, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Millennium Declaration, and numerous international human rights agreements as the basis for our response.

UNICEF advocates and supports the creation of a protective environment for children in partnership with governments, national and international partners including the private sector, and civil society. National child protection systems, protective social practices and children’s own empowerment coupled with good oversight and monitoring are among the elements of a protective environment and enable countries, communities and families to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse

Report a Trafficking Victim and /or get help 24/7 Call 1-888-373-7888


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