|© UNICEF/ HQ06-0375/Giacomo Pirozzi|
|A boy stands outside the Government of Punjab’s Child Welfare and Protection Bureau in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province. The UNICEF-assisted centre provides food, shelter, educational assistance, psychosocial counselling and family tracing and reunification services to children who live and work on the streets.|
Child trafficking affects children throughout the world, in both industrialized and developing countries. Trafficked children are subjected to prostitution, forced into marriage or illegally adopted; they provide cheap or unpaid labour, work as house servants or beggars, organ donors, are recruited into armed groups and are used for sports. Trafficking exposes children to violence, sexual abuse and HIV infection and violates their rights to be protected, grow up in a family environment and have access to education.
A ‘child victim of trafficking’ is any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country.
Trafficking is a criminal act, shrouded in secrecy. According to the latest estimates available, some 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year. In East Asia and the Pacific, most trafficking is into child prostitution, though some children are also recruited for agricultural and industrial work. In South Asia, trafficking is often related to debt bondage.
Trafficking of children links all countries and regions in a web of international crime. Every year, children are smuggled across borders and sold like commodities. Others are trafficked within their home countries, usually from rural to urban areas. Children’s survival and development are threatened, and their rights to education, health and protection are denied.
Trafficking in human beings, one of the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational crimes generates approximately up to $10 billion per year.
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.
Related press releases and news notes:
7 November 2005 - UNICEF applauds U.S. ratification of trafficking protocol
9 June 2005 -Benin and Nigeria pledge to fight child trafficking