Child trafficking. It's a horror that no child should ever have to experience. But around the world, some 5.5 million children are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry, one of the world's most profitable criminal activities. Children are especially vulnerable, and UNICEF is working across the globe to keep children safe from exploitation. Latin America is one focus of UNICEF's anti-trafficking efforts. We recently had a visit here at the U.S. Fund offices from two UNICEF representatives—Tamar Hahn, UNICEF´s Regional Communications Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Mark Connolly, HIV/AIDS Regional Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean at UNICEF. The pair described a successful UNICEF campaign to prevent child trafficking in Latin America. In order for this campaign to have the biggest reach and impact, UNICEF partnered with two collaborators.
Above: trailer for the documentary "Invisible Children"First, UNICEF worked with MTV Latin America and its anti-trafficking Exit Foundation, utilizing their know-how and extensive reach with the targeted youth audience. Then UNICEF asked the hugely popular Puerto Rican musical group Calle 13 to help out, which they gladly did. Among other things, the nineteen-time Latin Grammy winning band donated a song for an anti-trafficking music video, and is spending extra time on their Latin American tour to talk to local anti-trafficking groups. With Calle 13's help, the word on ending child trafficking and exploitation is definitely getting out! But this campaign is about reducing risk as well as raising awareness. It also includes screenings of a half hour documentary, called Invisible Slaves, which tells victims’ stories and educates viewers about how to stay safe. The documentary has had a proven impact—having been educated, at-risk young people in Latin America are now able to make better decisions. Child trafficking must be stopped, and education is a big first step. There is a lot that you, too, can do to help end child trafficking: Join our Action Center’s End Trafficking group, write your representatives, share the Calle 13 video, or donate to UNICEF's child protection programs. All of UNICEF's child protection efforts work to reduce factors that make children vulnerable to trafficking in the first place. Believe in ZERO exploited children. Help us end child trafficking. If you or someone you know has been affected by trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (1-888-3737-888) or visit their website to get help.