Number of children and young people becoming victims of trafficking on the rise worldwide
BERLIN, 10 January 2013 — The UNICEF National Committee for Germany and the child protection organization ECPAT are calling for better protection and assistance for victims of child trafficking.
According to the United Nations` latest information compiled from 132 countries around the world, an estimated 27 percent of all trafficked victims are children and young people. About two thirds are girls. They are subject to systematic abuse and exploitation. Between 2003 to 2006, the percentage of minors among the total number of trafficking victims was significantly lower at around 20 percent.
Many governments have strengthened police actions and
legal measures to combat this serious crime. However, many victims of
child-trafficking are still not recognized as such or are inadequately
protected which makes the prosecution of offenders even more difficult.
"In Germany, the fight against human trafficking is an important issue," said Joerg Ziercke, Chief Commissioner of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany.
"From a technical perspective, the introduction of improved police supervision, control and monitoring means, as requested by the Conference of Interior Ministers in November 2010, makes a significant contribution to the fight against human trafficking and helps to improve the protection of women working in prostitution," he said.
"The current information the authorities have and the existing facilities for the support and protection of victims of child trafficking are not sufficient," said Mechtild Maurer, Managing Director of ECPAT.
"Germany needs to implement the relevant EU
Directive fully and improve the protection of victims, in particular for
minors," she added.
Child trafficking and human trafficking in general is estimated to be a global billion-dollar business according to UNICEF.
The European Commission estimates annual profits for the criminal networks to be over 25 billion Euros per year. Especially vulnerable are children and adolescents from economically poor regions. They live in dysfunctional families or without their parents in nursing homes or with relatives or neighbors. These children and young people are in great danger of becoming victims of trafficking
Due to the economic woes, tens of thousands of parents leave their homes in countries like Moldova, Bulgaria and Romania to find work in Western European countries. In Romania alone, public data says that up tp 80,000 children are left by one or both parents.
Adolescents are promised position as trainees or
apprentices. Once under the control of the perpetrators, they are often bound
to their traffickers for years, are held against their will, beaten and
humiliated. Around two-thirds of the world's victims were forced into
prostitution. Others need to do hard physical work, beg or are forced into marriage.
The exploitation often continues into adulthood.
Law enforcement, prosecution and convictions have
increased worldwide. Nevertheless, to date only a small number of perpetrators
are held accountable. Across the EU, in the year 2010 only 1,250 offenders were
convicted of human trafficking.
An important prerequisite for effective law enforcement
are the statements of the victims. Often they do not want to speak out because of fear or shame and refuse to
testify in court. Many of the victims also withdraw testimonies they made early.
Language problems are an additional hurdle.