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CHILD TRAFFICKING IS A CRIME

posted Oct 19, 2009 9:47 PM by Lupu Veronica [updated Oct 21, 2010 7:01 AM ]

All children in the world should enjoy an education, play time, and live their lives in freedom. Unfortunately, this is not the case for millions of children who are victims of child labour. Many of these children, particularly those who experience the worst forms of child labour, are trafficked from one place to another to work for others.

Child trafficking is a crime under international law and a violation of children’s rights. Trafficked children may end up working as domestic servants, street beggars, agricultural labourers, miners, or may be sent to work on construction sites, in sweat-shops or entertainment places. In some cases, these children are forced into truly reprehensible forms of child labour such as prostitution, pornography, armed conflict, bonded labour, or other illicit activities. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that one in seven children who are victims of these latter types of exploitation is also a victim of trafficking.

Girls are affected disproportionately, and are trafficked particularly for commercial sexual exploitation. The isolation and separation from families and communities, sometimes in places where they have no legal status or do not speak the language makes trafficked children especially vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Trafficked children are more exposed than other child workers to severe physical and psychological abuse. Long working hours, heavy loads, exposure to dangerous tools and toxic substances, fear and intimidation, violent punishment and sexual abuse expose them to severe physical and psychological harm. Any attempt to disobey, protest or escape, may result in being punished or even killed. Trafficked children may be treated as criminals instead of victims, denounced to the authorities, arrested, and detained.

WHEN IS A CHILD “TRAFFICKED” AND WHO IS CONSIDERED A “TRAFFICKER”?

Child trafficking is a combination or series of events that may take place in the child’s home community, at transit points and at final destinations. The recruitment and movement may appear voluntary initially but then take on aspects of coercion by a third person or a group. The relocation may be across borders or within a country. Exploitation may occur at the beginning, middle or end of the trafficking process or even at several points. Those who contribute to it with the intent to exploit – recruiters, intermediaries, documents providers, transporters, corrupt officials, service providers and employers – are traffickers, even when they take part only in a small fragment of the whole process.

Child trafficking is difficult to stop because of its clandestine and dynamic nature. Those who engage in it may operate independently or in networks, following trafficking routes that change to evade law enforcement. Sometimes corrupt law enforcement officials facilitate trafficking or may be involved themselves. Trafficked children frequently find themselves shifted from one form of work into another depending on the will of the traffickers.

ROOT CAUSES, RISK FACTORS, AND VULNERABILITY

For many years, trafficking was thought of in the narrow sense of kidnapping, abduction and selling of children. Experience gained from numerous projects to combat child trafficking carried out by the ILO and other organizations has demonstrated that the issue is considerably more complex and has multiple causes, risk factors and manifestations. Poverty usually plays a principal role, but poverty alone does not explain why certain poor families fall victim to trafficking. There are often a number of risk factors at source, transit and destination points that, if combined, make children more likely to be trafficked. Additional risk factors include, for example, parent illiteracy, illness or death of one of the main family breadwinners, unemployment, early school drop-out of the concerned children, absence of workplace inspection or policing, and a specific demand for child labour. The following table shows the many risk factors in the trafficking process that can make a child more vulnerable to being trafficked, exploited and re-trafficked. Effective solutions to stop trafficking include recognizing which risk factors are present in a given situation and finding ways to minimize them. Without addressing these, trafficking is likely to continue.

THE WORLD CONSUMES ITS WOMEN

Poem

The world consumes its women, And claims it must to keep families whole: Babies and governments feed on them; Religions, traditions rely on them, Their silent assent, their free labor spent, Their willingness to look away, pretend they have intrinsic value to a globe of men sucking the marrow from female souls. What is rape to a woman, Given her gruesome everyday? Around the whole world, She wears abuse like her second skin, Not fully human, not fully free, Owned and traded, taken and degraded. Where should a sane woman’s outcry begin? Is it so different, the violent touch, From the baby girl of fifteen or such Given in marriage to a much older man? Or married to someone she’s never met? Given no choice, no voice or consent? Is it so strange that’s what families do? That strangers and gangs should join in, too? As below, so above: Amazing the world still speaks of love! Sovereign? Safe? Please, what is that? She was in the wrong place. She was at the wrong time. She wore sinful clothes. She had a sweet face. She must have asked for it They say all women victims do. Rape reasonable and customary Is patriarchy’s constancy Never to die? You must ask men why.