Child Exploitation and Trafficking

This thesis aims to define and tabulate child exploitation and trafficking. Children are categorized as anyone under 18 years of age. Trafficking has been defined as the recruitment, transportation, purchase, sale, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a person by threat or use of violence, abduction, fraud, deception, or coercion (including the abuse of authority or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding such a person, whether for pay or not.

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Child trafficking is defined as Child trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion to compel them to engage in commercial sex or involuntary labor. We can also terminate any child engaging in commercial sex as a victim of human trafficking. Children are always trafficked for various reasons, these include; sexual exploitation these include, commercial sex, prostitution, pornography, and sex tourism; labor exploitation; domestic servitude; forced marriages, and private fostering. [UNICEF]

Approximately 600000 to 800000 victims are trafficked every year according to the United States state department. Of these 14500 to 17500 are trafficked into the united states of America. Over 60% percent of these numbers trafficked are children. Frequent sources of child trafficking are the pacific islands, South America, Africa, South East Asia, and the former Soviet Union. In southeast Asia, trafficking is rampant as less than 10% of childbirth is recorded. This makes it hard for the government to track the number of children in the country. [U.S DEPT. OF STATE]

There are a number of reasons that make children the most vulnerable victims. First, they are easy to lure and thus exploitation under the guise of opportunity is often administered. Another major underlying factor behind this is that children are often unaware of their legal rights, or are made to feel they cannot exercise those rights. In general, the rights and desires of children are often overlooked, particularly for the most vulnerable group, such as adolescent girls.

Poor law enforcement compounds this. Inequality is also another respect of this issue, often disabled or girls are more vulnerable. Impoverished or isolated regions are also more attractive to gangs of traffickers because it is both harder for parents to seek law enforcement but also easier to sell the idea of lucrative jobs to impoverished parents. In general, services for exploited or abused children are scarce but are even more so in these areas. Children who have a lack of economic opportunities and poor education are also more at risk of being trafficked, abused, and exploited. [U.S DEPT OF STATE & UNICEF]

For child victims of exploitation, the destructive effects can create a number of long-term health problems. They have distinctive medical and psychological that must be addressed before advancing the formative years of childhood. They are generally malnourished and neglected, have reproductive problems if abused, there psychological effects of torture which are helplessness, shame, and humiliation, shock, denial and disbelief, disorientation, and confusion. Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress, phobias, panic attacks, and depressions. Traumatic bonding (Stockholm syndrome) is also experienced, it is a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills fear as well as gratitude to the victim for perceived favors, however small. [ECPAT 5-15]

It is not easy to identify a victim of human trafficking but there some ways one can. Traffickers frequently instill fear in their victims and confiscate their immigration and identification documents but their physical and mental clues that can alert you. Environmental and psychological factors give in these clues.

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Help for victims of human trafficking can vary from place to place. Generally in the U.S.A, there was the enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to prevent trafficking, increase prosecution of traffickers and to protect victims, and administer benefits for victims to safely rebuild. [U.S DEPT. OF STATE]

According to the international conference on population and development (ICPD), in Cairo 1994 governments of both receiving and countries of origin should adopt effective sanctions against traffickers. Conventions on the Rights of the Child (1989) articles 9, 10, 11, 21, 32, 34, 35, 36, and 39 provide for the protection of children against trafficking and its vices.

There many institutions that have come up to save the child from trafficking, some examples are the United Nations Education Fund (UNICEF), End Child Prostitution, pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes (ECPAT), Irish society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) amongst many others.

Efforts against trafficking should be focused, in particular, on preventing vulnerable groups of children from becoming victims. Gender discrimination places girls at greater risks. It essential to raise the awareness of media, communities, and families on the rights of child victims of any form of trafficking. Victims need special protection and support and must be treated with respect and in a manner consistent with their age and needs. Laws and policies designed to prevent and punish trafficking should be enacted and enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Governments should work together to ensure the safe return of victims of trafficking and to ensure girls are treated with compassion and respect. [CRC & UNICEF].


Conventions of the Rights of the Child (CRC). [1989]. Articles of the conventions of the rights of the child (9, 10, 11, 21, 32, 34, 35, 36 and 39)

End Child Prostitution, Pornography and the Trafficking of children for sexual purpose (ECPAT) UK. [2007]. (5-15) Research findings of ECPAT. Web.

” Human trafficking” Report on global women and child trafficking. United States Department of State sources.

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International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD). [1994] articles of ICDP (paragraph 10.18). Cairo.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). [2001]. UNICEF reports and articles of child trafficking, New York.

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