Trafficking violates the entire spectrum of children's rights
Trafficking of children takes many different forms: Some children are forcibly abducted; others are tricked and still others opt to let themselves be trafficked, seduced by the promise of earnings but not suspecting the level of exploitation they will suffer at the other end of the recruiting chain. It always involves a journey, whether within a country - from the rural areas to a tourist resort, for example - or across an international border. At the final destination, trafficked children are brought into an underground world of illegality and violence where they effectively disappear. [figure 3.6]
The relocation takes children away from their family, community and support networks, leaving them isolated and utterly vulnerable to exploitation. Often they are even more disempowered by having been transported to a place where they do not speak the local language, making it much more difficult for them to seek help or escape. Because they are there illegally and without documents, they may feel unable to trust the police or other officials . In addition, by being trafficked to other countries they find themselves deprived of access to basic services.
Trafficked children are also almost invisible to the eye of the statistician. Collecting data about these children is notoriously difficult and reliable global statistics are impossible to compile. However, it is estimated that trafficking affects around 1.2 million children each year.
Although trafficking is a shadowy practice that has neither particular rules nor predictable sequences, some dominant regional patterns are identifiable:
Often children trafficked into one form of labour may be sold on into another, as with girls from rural Nepal who are recruited to work in carpet factories or hotels in the city but are then trafficked into the sex industry over the border in India. In almost all countries, the sex trade is the predominant form of exploitation of trafficked children, a practice that entails systematic, long-term physical and emotional abuse. [figure 3.7]