Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse

UNICEF urges lawmakers to use power to protect children

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Philippines/2005
Executive Director Carol Bellamy addresses lawmakers at the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in the Philippines

MANILA,  4 April 2005 – This week UNICEF is challenging hundreds of lawmakers from around the world to use their power to alleviate the suffering of millions of children who are subjected to violence and exploitation.

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy is attending the annual Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in the Philippines, where she is calling on parliamentarians to use their unique budgetary and legislative powers to protect children from exploitation, and to “ask tough questions and demand answers” when governments are making decisions that they know will harm children.

On the first day of the conference, Ms. Bellamy launched a joint UNICEF/IPU handbook created to help parliamentarians combat one of the world’s worst forms of child exploitation: the multi-billion dollar industry in child trafficking.

Every year, lured by promises of a better life, millions of children are forced to work in hazardous conditions, sold into domestic labour, marriage or prostitution, forcibly recruited as child soldiers, and offered up for illegal adoptions.

The handbook outlines how parliamentarians can help prevent child trafficking, assist child victims of trafficking and hold traffickers and people who assist them accountable for their crimes.

On Sunday Bellamy visited a shelter for trafficked children that is part of a UNICEF-supported project to combat child trafficking in the Philippines. She also visited the busiest seaport in the Philippines and met with ship officers, port police, non-governmental organizations and others involved in a unique multi-sectoral partnership that has prevented thousands of children from being trafficked.

At a panel discussion on Wednesday organized by UNICEF, parliamentarians will be urged to protect women and children from violence during situations of armed conflict. Girls and women are routinely targeted in campaigns of gender-based violence, including rape, prostitution, forced pregnancy and sexual slavery. Children are often recruited as child soldiers, detained and tortured and trafficked out of the country. Most acts of violence are committed against women and children with total impunity.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video/2005
UNICEF Chief Executive Carol Bellamy visits the port of Manila where the authorities have joined force to stop trafficking.
Creating a protective environment

UNICEF works around the globe to build a protective environment for children – a safety net of interconnected elements designed to safeguard children from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse. This can be translated into a world in which:

  • Governments are truly committed to child protection.
  • Attitudes and prejudices that facilitate or lead to abuses are challenged or changed.
  • Media and civil society openly confront exploitation, abuse and violence.
  • Protective laws are in place and consistently enforced. 
  • Children have the information they need to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation.
  • All those who interact with children – teachers, parents and religious leaders alike – know how to recognize and respond to exploitation.
  • Proper monitoring is in place to identify victims of exploitation and abuse.
  • Services for victims of exploitation are available without discrimination.

The IPU was established in 1889 and brings together Members of Parliament from over 140 states. It contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights and has a long-standing commitment to the protection of children.


 


 

 

Video

6 April 2005:
UNICEF urges parliamentarians from around the world to end violence against children and women.

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5 April 2005:
UNICEF's Carol Bellamy addresses lawmakers.

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4 April 2005:
Executive Director Carol Bellamy visits a shelter for trafficked children in Manila, Philippines.

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