Adolescence can often be a difficult period due to the fact that young people are on the crossroad from childhood to adulthood. This leaves them vulnerable to coming in conflict with the law, drug abuse, risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and STI’s. The economic situation often exposes young people to the danger of becoming victims of trafficking in human beings.
Building on the premise that young people are easily influenced by one another, UNICEF encourages participation of especially vulnerable young people in its HIV/AIDS prevention strategies.
Young people who come in conflict with the law might benefit from the new Juvenile Justice Law, if adopted, which will mandate different treatment of minors from adults in correctional institutions. This law also seeks ways to protect juvenile perpetrators of criminal acts against recidivism by providing educational and rehabilitative measures for young people.
Participation of young people in the decision –making process, especially at local level, is promoted through UNICEF’s pilot project. These activities at local level enable young people to have a say on their needs and work together with local governments in assessing and tailoring services based on their needs.
In response to the growing trend of trafficking human beings into western Europe, UNICEF supports national SOS helpline and shelters for victims of trafficking in the country. Lawyers, prosecutors and social workers are trained in identifying and assisting children, victims of trafficking and helping them reintegrate in their communities.
The absence of opportunities for young people to develop and participate and the number of juvenile perpetrators imprisoned with adults, for example, are ongoing challenges for improving the overall situation of adolescents in the country.