TOKYO, 21 May 2004 - Japan's National Committee for UNICEF sponsored an international symposium on child trafficking today. The aim of the symposium was to raise awareness of ongoing European intiatives to combat trafficking.
An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Hidden from view and often from legal protection, children are lured by promises of a good education or a better job and smuggled across borders. Far from home or in a foreign country, trafficked children are disoriented, without papers, and excluded from any protective environment and can be forced to endure prostitution, domestic servitude, early and involuntary marriage, or hazardous and punishing labour.
Participants included UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Dr. Agnes Chan and Philip O'Brien, UNICEF's Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Baltic States.