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Child Trafficking

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ue, Sept 11, 2012

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU)

Who is a child?

Article 3 of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, defines the word ‘child’ “as an individual under the age of eighteen years”.{{more}}

What is Child Trafficking?

Child Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of any person under the age of eighteen years for the purpose of exploitation. All forms of exploitation shall be considered within the definition including: exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation; forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude or the removal of organs; use of children associated with armed groups or forces, begging; use of children for illegal activities, sports and related activities, illicit adoption, early marriages or other forms of exploitation.

(UN Trafficking Protocol)

Editor, readers, it is important to note that trafficking in children is defined differently from trafficking in adults. The reason being that the means (the threat or other use of force, or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person) and consent are both irrelevant for trafficked children, but must be present for adults to be considered trafficked persons. Moreover, a child cannot voluntarily consent to be trafficked neither can a child’s parents gave consent for him/her to be trafficked.

Types of Child Trafficking

Children are trafficked to engage in a range of exploitative activities including:

  • Labour exploitation – plantations, mines, fishing, brick making, textile industry, restaurant/hotel industry, shop keeping, agricultural labour, sweatshops, labour and other forms of industrial production
  • Sex exploitation – prostitution, production of child pornography and child sex tourism
  • Domestic slavery/servitude – within private residential homes
  • forced military service – as child soldiers; some children are involved in front-line combat, but they are mainly used in logistical roles such as messengers, ammunition carriers, cooks, or to provide sexual services to the front-line soldiers.
  • Low-level criminal activity – begging, theft, street selling, etc
  • Organ trafficking – sale of kidneys
  • Child brides/Forced marriages – this happens mainly in South East Asia and the Middle East, where children (mostly young girls) are forced to marry much older men, mostly for economic reasons
  • Adoption – sometime a parent may give up their child/children for adoption for many reasons. That child can easily become a victim of trafficking and exploited in many ways for the financial or other material benefit of the ‘adopter’
  • The illegal drug trade

– Minors who may become vulnerable to trafficking

Minors who are especially vulnerable to trafficking include:
  • Orphaned children
  • Children coming from dysfunctional families
  • Children from very poor homes where there is pressure to help support the family
  • Young impressionable children (especially females) seeking some opportunity and hope for the future and are willing to take risks, but easily convinced and deceived
  • Young men and women desperate to improve their lives and willing to take risks without giving much thought to the consequences (for example the promise of a better life overseas, which turns out to be a nightmare and exploitation)
  • Homeless children or ‘runaways’
  • A child who is born into a trafficking situation i.e a child born to a mother who is herself is a victim of trafficking at the time of giving birth.

International Legal Framework for the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking

There are numerous international conventions and protocols adopted by the United Nations and other august bodies geared primarily to the protection of children all over the globe. Here are a few:

1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – Article 1 of the convention affirms “States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.” This is the main legal instrument which forms the basis of the Child Protection framework. It was ratified by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989. The convention calls on governments to protect the rights of all children and to respect a child’s personality and dignity. It also mandates protection of children from trafficking and sets the standard for national laws etc.

2. United Nations Protocol of Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children(2000) – this protocol is both a guide to countries in the implementation of child protection measures and a tool to measure the level of compliance to protect the rights of trafficked children

3. The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Form of Child Labour (1999) – this convention specifies trafficking as the “worst form of child labour”

4. Convention 28 of the Hague Conference/Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) – this Convention protects children from being “wrongfully removed” from their country of origin or “retained” in another country etc.

5. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (1993) – this convention serves as a legal basis for governments to protect children, biological parents and adopted families against illegal inter-country adoptions.

Further, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2006 published the following guidelines under the rubric “Published Guidelines on the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking in Children”:

  • Children who are the victims of trafficking shall be identified as such
  • Their best interests shall be considered paramount at all times
  • Child victims of trafficking shall be provided with appropriate assistance and protection and full account shall be taken of their special vulnerabilities, rights and needs
  • The State should take positive action to combat child trafficking and to protect and assist trafficked children
  • Continued in Weekend Searchlight – September 14

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU)
Police Headquarters
Questelles Police Station
Tel: 784-4571211
Email: svgantitraffickingunit@gmail.com

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