Prevention of Child Exploitation

With child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation severe violations of children’s rights, UNICEF is working to address these rights abuses that expose children to exploitation and ensure a full spectrum of services are available for survivors.

Prevention of Child Exploitation
UN Viet Nam\shutterstock

The Challenge

Child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation are gross violations of children’s rights that affect their well-being and deny them the opportunity to reach their full potential. In Viet Nam, children remain vulnerable to serious exploitation, in the form of trafficking for sex work, pornography, forced labour, servitude or removal of organs. There is significant evidence that such exploitation and abuse can affect a child’s physical and mental health in the short and longer terms, with increased risks of illness, unwanted pregnancy, psychological distress, stigma, discrimination and difficulties at school. These factors impair a child’s ability to learn and socialize as well as impact on the transition to adulthood with adverse consequences later in life.

"These physical, psychological and social consequences not only affect girls and boys, but also their families and communities"

The arrival of digital technology, with Viet Nam among countries with the highest number of internet users in Asia, is linked to an escalation in child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Offenders use the internet and mobile phones to groom, lure, harass and blackmail children into exploitative situations. Only a small proportion of such exploitation and abuse is reported and investigated, with few perpetrators held accountable.

The Solution

With the country’s child protection system and professional services still in their infancy and yet to adequately respond to the needs of vulnerable children, UNICEF is working with government and partners to address the underlying human rights abuses that create conditions for child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. By targeting poverty, discrimination and violence through the strengthening of laws, policies and services in Viet Nam, we are helping to address vulnerabilities that expose children to exploitation.

In taking a holistic approach to protection of children in Viet Nam, we are also making progress in ensuring a full spectrum of services are available for prevention, early identification and intervention in cases of child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, with referrals of survivors to rehabilitative and specialized services.

"UNICEF is working in Viet Nam to strengthen the child protection system and promote positive social norms in all contexts to prevent and respond to exploitation and abuse directed at children."

To better protect children in the digital age, UNICEF is working with the business community, government and other stakeholders to guide more effective policy-making and responsible business practices to benefit children, in line with UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business Principles.


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Viet Nam today marks the start of its national month of action by rolling out a campaign to end violence against children to raise awareness and encourage people to speak up and take action.
Link to video on it's hosted site.
Tattoos are marks that often represent special memories, but millions of children bear marks they have not chosen - and that will last a lifetime. Physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children around the world experiencing violence in their homes, schools, online and in their communities. Violence against children is not inevitable. It is possible to break the cycle of violence against boys and girls.