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UNICEF calls for increased efforts to prevent trafficking of children

NEW YORK, 16 June 2007 – UNICEF marked the Day of the African Child today by supporting the African Union’s call to increase efforts to prevent child trafficking.
 
“Globally, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, within countries as well as across borders,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “Children are trafficked into prostitution, into armed groups to serve as child soldiers, to provide cheap or unpaid labour, and to work as house servants or beggars.

“Trafficking exposes children to violence, sexual abuse, severe neglect, and HIV infection. It violates their right to be protected, to grow up in a family environment, and to have access to education,” she added.

UNICEF is calling on governments, communities and families to work together to end trafficking.

One element in this collective approach must be the punishment of the perpetrators.  Human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion a year, attracting organized criminal gangs and leading to corruption on a global scale. The profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities.

But concerted action is also needed to tackle the social and economic factors behind this crime. 

Poverty is central to child trafficking. Children are frequently lured with promises of good jobs in other countries or in cities in their own countries. In reality they are traded like commodities to work in brutal conditions and many children face beatings and other forms of physical and sexual abuse from their employers.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals will help families stay together and keep children in school. These are vital safeguards against child trafficking.

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The Day of the African Child is celebrated on June 16 in recognition of the day when, in 1976, thousands of black school children in Soweto, South Africa, took to the streets to protest the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young boys and girls were shot; and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than 100 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments

For more information, please contact:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York, cell:1 917 796 9845, kdonovan@unicef.org


 

 

 

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15 June 2007:
For the Day of the African Child, UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on child labour and trafficking in Niger and West Africa.
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