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Child trafficking in Lao PDR

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The first national study documenting instances of child trafficking in all 17 provinces of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) was released on 27 October 2004 by the Government and UNICEF. Lao PDR is one of the poorest countries in a fast-changing region; a majority of its population is under 19 years of age. While total numbers of trafficked children are unknown, the study found that 60 per cent of trafficking victims are girls aged 12 to 18 years, 35 per cent of whom are forced into the sex trade.

Child trafficking occurs internally across borders, particularly to neighbouring Thailand which is more prosperous and has a similar culture and language. East Asia accounts for about one-third of global trafficking in children and women.