Child Trafficking and Slavery
Child trafficking can be likened to modern-day slavery. Child victims of trafficking are recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for the purpose of exploitation. Children are exploited and forced to work in brick kilns and sweatshops, on construction sites, in houses as domestic slaves, on the streets as child beggars, in wars as child soldiers, on farms for agriculture, in traveling sales crews, in the tourist industry in restaurants and hotels, in the commercial sex industry in brothels, strip clubs, and escort and massage services. Some of these conditions are easy to see—but most are hidden. That's why putting a stop to child slavery is critical to UNICEF's work.
Child Trafficking in the United States
Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for child trafficking and child slavery victims. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States (National Human Trafficking Resource Center Report, 2011). It is important to understand that anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.
UNICEF’s Work in Child Protection
To protect children from exploitation, risk factors such as poverty and discrimination need to be addressed. UNICEF works in over 190 countries with development partners, governments and NGOs on all aspects of anti-trafficking responses including prevention, protection, and prosecution.
UNICEF’s work to stop child slavery and trafficking includes:
- Helping provide a living wage for parents so that their children do not have to work to support the family and can attend school instead
- Lobbying governments and other partners to develop laws and strengthen child protection systems to prevent and respond to violence and abuse
- Working with communities and faith-based organizations to change harmful societal norms that make children more vulnerable to exploitation
- Supporting the training of professionals working with children including social workers, health workers, and police and border officials to help stop trafficking
The End Trafficking Project
The End Trafficking project is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s initiative to raise awareness about child trafficking and mobilize communities to take meaningful action to help protect children. In partnership with concerned individuals and groups, the End Trafficking project aims to bring us all closer to a day when there are zero exploited children.
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