Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Monday, 21 August 2017

Disturbing UN Report on the Sale and Trafficking of Children

III. Vulnerabilities of children to sale, trafficking and other
forms of exploitation in situations of conflict and
humanitarian crisis
A. Introduction

13. The present joint study by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons,
especially women and children and the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual
exploitation of children addresses the vulnerabilities of children to sale, trafficking,
and other forms of exploitation in situations of conflict and humanitarian crisis.

14. The forms of exploitation covered include the sexual exploitation of children,
child and forced marriage, the labour exploitation of children and child labour,
including in its worst forms, such as the recruitment and use of children in armed
conflict. The children who are considered in the context of the present report are
those who are said to be “on the move”, and may be unaccompanied or separated
from their families. This includes refugee children, internally displaced children and
child migrants below 18 years of age. The report is based on a literature review of
available material on this topic.

15. The rationale of the joint report stems from the fact that addressing emerging
forms of vulnerabilities of children has been identified as a priority area by both
mandate holders during their respective tenures. The joint report also reflects the
commitment of the Special Rapporteurs to ensuring complementarity among those
special procedures mandate holders who address cross-cutting issues of concern and
to mainstreaming the protection of children’s rights within the special procedures

16. The sale of and trafficking in children, although similar, are two distinct but
linked human rights violations, and States are legally bound to take measures to
prevent both (article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).
States tend to confuse the sale of children with child trafficking. Indeed, most national
legislations and available data refer to the crime of trafficking, while the crime of
sale is overlooked. Consequently, most of the data and documents that were
analysed for the purpose of the present study focus on trafficking, as specific
information on the crime of sale of children continues to be scarce.

B. Vulnerabilities of children to exploitation in situations
of conflict and humanitarian crisis
1. Overview

17. Whether induced by armed conflict, natural disasters or protracted
humanitarian situations, crises are accompanied by a breakdown in public
institutions, violations of human rights, the erosion of essential services, inequalities
and impoverishment. Existing vulnerabilities to sale, trafficking and exploitation,
from gender-based violence to discrimination and to lack of economic opportunities,
are exacerbated during such crises. Furthermore, crises tend to fuel impunity, the
breakdown of law and order and the destruction of communities, and foster the
conditions in which trafficking and other forms of exploitation flourish, often past
the point at which hostilities or the humanitarian crises cease.  Other aggravating
factors are related to discrimination, whether gender-based, ethnic, racial, religious,
social, within a community or at the national level.

18. The increase in conflict and humanitarian crises has led to a record level of
displacement, with 24.2 million new displacements worldwide in 2016, mostly
caused by weather-related disasters.  Children are disproportionately affected by
conflict and humanitarian crises. According to the Secretary-General, children
suffered from human rights violations in situation of conflict in 14 countries in
2015, namely in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Central African Republic, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines,
Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.  By the end of
2015, 28 million children had been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, of
whom 17 million had been internally displaced, 1 million were asylum-seekers and
10 million were refugees. Children are overrepresented in the number of refugees
worldwide, accounting for 51 per cent of the 22.5 million refugees in 2016, while
they only represent a third of the world’s population. 

19. At the regional and national levels, children on the move are also vulnerable to
sale, trafficking and other forms of exploitation. There are also reports of missing
children, some of whom fall into the hands of criminals to continue their journey to
reach relatives or acquaintances in another country.  In Africa, nearly 3 million
children were refugees by the end of 2015.  As of mid-2016, 390,000 Nigerian
children had been displaced to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and
the Niger, and a further 1.1 million children had been internally displaced owing to
the conflict in the Lake Chad basin.  Children have been subjected to abhorrent
abuses, mainly at the hands of Boko Haram, which has reportedly recruited and
used more than 8,000 children since 2009, abducted at least 4,000 girls, boys and
young women, and inflicted sexual violence on more than 7,000 girls and women,
often leading to pregnancies. Since the beginning of the conflict in South Sudan,
in 2013, children have constituted 66 per cent of the 1.3 million refugees, and the
majority of the 1.9 million internally displaced persons.  A direct consequence of
the war has been the recruitment and use of more than 17,000 children, with a
further 3,090 children abducted and 1,130 children sexually assaulted by armed
forces and armed groups, among others. 

20. In Asia, children constituted 48 per cent of the 14.8 million refugees by the
end of 2015. The ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, which had created
2.4 million child refugees in 2015 and more than 2 million internally displaced
children by 2016,  has led to situations of extreme vulnerability. Indeed, United
Nations assessments have revealed cases of child recruitment in 90 per cent of the
locations surveyed in that country and cases of child marriage in 85 per cent of
them. Similarly, the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan has created 1.3 million
child refugees and, by 2016, had displaced more than half a million persons,
56 per cent of whom were children. Those children are at a particularly high risk
of being abused and exploited, with a very elevated level of child or forced marriage
and domestic abuse.  Likewise, the reported rise in the number of child brides
among Rohingya children who have fled Myanmar and live in neighbouring
countries perpetuates the cycle of violence and poverty experienced by those girls. 

21. As one of the main destinations for children on the move who are fleeing
violence, conflict and humanitarian crisis, Europe is at the heart of the sale of,
trafficking in and other forms of exploitation of children. In Europe, child
trafficking has increased sharply owing to the migration crisis. High rates of
trafficking in and exploitation of children have been documented on the central
Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy.  While in transit from sub-Saharan
Africa to Europe, young Somalis become victims of frequent and serious violence at
the hands of traffickers, criminal gangs and Libyan groups.  Those children are
frequently detained in Libyan jails until a ransom of about $2,000 is paid. 

22. In Central and North America, 100,000 unaccompanied or separated children
were identified at the border between Mexico and the United States of America,
comprising one third of such children who were registered worldwide in 2015 and
2016. More than half of those children have been fleeing situations of extreme
violence, generally related to organized crime, in countries such as Honduras,
Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. Those who undertake this perilous journey
are exposed to xenophobia, discrimination, abuse, violence and exploitation, and
many end up detained at the border, where they risk further ill-treatment, abuse and
exploitation.  Up to 38 per cent of the children coming from Mexico and
apprehended in the United States had been recruited into the smuggling industry,
indicating a high proportion of exploitation at the border.

23. In the absence of safe and regular migration channels, as well as permanent
and accessible mechanisms for children and their families to access long -term
regular migration status or residence permits, children are forced to search for
precarious alternatives that increase their exposure to risks of sale, trafficking and
other forms of exploitation.

2. Specific vulnerabilities

24. Conflict and humanitarian crises result in children risking being exposed to
sale, trafficking and other forms of exploitation, whether in their homes,
communities or society, or in places where migrants or refugees reside, including
reception centres, refugee camps or informal settlements in source, transit and
destination countries, some of which are discussed below.

(a) Vulnerability of children to exploitation in source countries

25. In many conflict-affected countries, girls become victims of sexual
exploitation, including forced marriage, sexual slavery, prostitution and forced
pregnancy. The egregious pattern of girls abducted from their homes or schools in
conflict-affected settings by extremist groups has also emerged. In Iraq, for
example, girls from ethnic and religious minority groups such as the Yazidis
continue to be subjected to sexual violence by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL). There are also reports of trafficking in and sale of children by ISIL.  In
Somalia, there is a pattern of forced marriage of girls to militants from groups such
as Al-Shabaab and Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama‘a and soldiers of the National Army.

26. In addition to being a means for advancing their criminal endeavours, the
sexual exploitation of children is further used by violent extremist groups to
generate revenue, as part of the shadow economy of conflict and terrorism, through
trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, sexual slavery and the extortion of
ransoms from desperate families. In some circumstances, girls are themselves
treated as the “wages of war”, being gifted as a form of in-kind compensation or
payment to fighters, who are then entitled to resell or exploit them as they wish. 
Such strategies are also believed to be a way of recruiting, rewarding and retaining

27. In humanitarian crises, the pre-existing vulnerabilities of girls that are rooted
in discriminatory traditions and customs persist and lead to negative coping
mechanisms. Children seeking to survive are often compelled to exchange sexual
services, and girls are even forced to marry for food, shelter, protection or safe
passage. According to the Secretary-General, approximately 90 per cent of women
and girls affected by conflict in north-east Nigeria do not have access to basic
services. As a result, they are forced to exchange sex for food and other essential
supplies, and the child or forced marriages of girls to older men are on the rise, as a
supposed protection mechanism and source of income for desperate families.

28. In addition, despite their role in supporting the maintenance of peace and
security and providing humanitarian assistance, the deployment of peacekeeping
forces and international humanitarian personnel, generally in the context of conflict
and humanitarian crises, has also proven to be a risk factor for children. In 2016,
138 cases of children allegedly victims of sexual exploitation and abuse committed
by such forces and personnel had been reported by the Office of the United Nations
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding
Office in Guinea-Bissau, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the United
Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, the United
Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central Afric an
Republic, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, the United Nations
Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. 

29. Chaos in the aftermath of a natural disaster can also exacerbate the
vulnerability to exploitation of the affected communities by making children more
prone to accepting, for example, bogus offers of employment or education from
traffickers or criminal networks. In order to support the family’s dire economic
situation or meet their own needs, children are sold or trafficked for the purpose of
labour exploitation. They may be entrusted by family members to people who
promise to find them work either within or outside the country, or they may directly
offer their services to employers and middle persons. Once in the hands of
traffickers who prey on their eagerness to work and send money to the family, those
children are forced into the worst forms of child labour. 

30. In addition, children, especially those who are unaccompanied or live in
conflict and humanitarian crisis areas, may be sold or trafficked to serve as
combatants in armed conflict. Children are also used as human bombs and human
shields. For example, in Iraq, ISIL and other extremist groups traffic boys and
young men, including members of the Yazidi minority, into armed conflict,
radicalize them to commit terrorist acts, using deception, death threats or the offer
of money and women as rewards. In Nigeria, between 2014 and 2016, a total of 90
children (70 girls and 20 boys) were used by Boko Haram in 56 suicide bombings. 
Children are also compelled to work as porters, cooks, guards and messengers, or
are forced to commit crimes, such as looting and physical and sexual violence.  In
addition, boys and girls in those situations are often sexually abused.

31. The aftermath of humanitarian disasters is also a fertile ground for the illegal
international adoption of children, as it is facilitated by the breakdown of
institutions and the lack of border control. For example, following the earthquakes
in Haiti in 2010 and Nepal in 2015, there were concerns that separated and orphaned
children were being trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation, sold or illegally
adopted, sometimes by well-meaning families. In addition, the crossover between
smuggling and trafficking represents a major risk for children,  including those
who go missing with the aim of reaching relatives or acquaintances in another

(b) Vulnerability of children to exploitation in transit countries

32. Threats faced by boys and girls do not end when they leave their home
countries. As they travel onward, often paying their way through dangerous routes
by using exploitative smuggling and trafficking networks, children are subject to
further violence, abuse and exploitation,  including at borders owing to pushbacks
and interceptions by border control officials. Unaccompanied children and those
separated from their families face heightened risks, both along the route and upon
arrival in transit countries.

33. Factors contributing to the sexual exploitation of children on the move include
their lack of financial resources, the failure of child protection and welfare systems
to act as a safety net, the prolonged exposure to inhumane living conditions and a
protracted and overly burdensome path to residence status. 

34. In Greece, children in or outside refugee camps are sexually exploited,
generally through deception about the amount they would need to earn in order to
pursue their journey. Unable to collect enough money to cover their onward journey,
many get discouraged and get involved in drugs, shattering any hope of continuing
their journey.

35. Similarly, girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation in temporary reception
centres and informal settlements. In northern France, some children were
transported to Spain, where they were sexually exploited in order to cover the cost
of their onward journey to London of around €9,000.  In the same area, some
children claiming to be adults were sexually exploited for the promise of passage to
the United Kingdom or in order to pay for the journey by receiving around €5 a time
for sexual services, revealing the level of pressure that they were under to raise the
€5,000 to €7,000 charged for their passage.

36. There are also indications that the most common form of sexual exploitation
for Afghani boys on the move is rape by their traffickers and their “friends”, which
they endure without reporting.

37. Living in limbo for long periods owing to delays or inefficiencies in or the
absence of legal paths to migration may drive children who have depleted their
financial resources to seek alternative ways, whether legal or illegal, to earn money
either to survive or to continue their journeys. Moreover, when they are out of
school for long periods, undernourished and without health care, impoverished and
beset by mounting anxieties as uncertainty drags on, children become increasingly
vulnerable and desperate.

38. Children may be compelled to work to sustain themselves or provide for their
families’ basic needs, especially where parents cannot work legally or simply cannot
find work, legally or illegally. Iraqi and Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, for
example, work in textile factories, construction or the food service industry, or as
agricultural labour or street vendors in conditions amounting to forced labour. 
According to UNICEF, in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, shopkeepers, farmers and
manufacturers hire Syrian refugee children because they can pay them a lower
wage. Children, especially girls, are seen as less likely to be targeted by the police
or prosecuted for illegal work than adults, making families more likely to send them
to work. These types of child labour, which often mask other forms of exploitation,
such as trafficking for forced labour, have dire consequences on children.

39. Moreover, in transit countries such as Libya, migrant girls are often exposed to
sexual violence by parties to the conflict, as well as by smugglers, traffickers and
other criminal groups.  They face threats and sexual violence when held,
sometimes for months, in detention centres and in poor conditions, and are also
abducted and sexually abused by groups pledging allegiance to ISIL. 

40. Finally, the practice of “temporary” child or forced marriages is one of the
dangerous coping mechanisms that girls face while in refugee camps in transit
countries. Confronted with the economic burdens brought on by protracted
displacement and limited or inexistent work opportunities, some refugee and
migrant parents, and often children themselves, turn to those measures because they
feel that they are the only option for safeguarding a child’s future or supporting a
family’s immediate needs.  For example, Syrian refugee girls are often forcibly
married by their parents, who view such arrangements as a way of securing their
daughters’ safety and ensuring the family’s livelihood through the dowry. Once
married, those girls are likely to end up in a situation of sexual and domestic
exploitation by a spouse whom they have followed abroad. The use of child and
forced marriages to traffic girls into prostitution in another country is also

41. For the girls involved, these coping mechanisms have dangerous short- and
long-term implications that put them at increased risk of physical and emotional
abuse. Such mechanisms also reduce the likelihood that a girl will complete
schooling, a reality that can have negative repercussions throughout a girl’s life,
including earlier childbearing, worse health outcomes and lower income. 

42. Children are also coerced into criminal activities by adults or peers. For
example, in refugee camps in Iraq and Lebanon, Syrian refugee children are
trafficked for forced begging and selling items on the street. Moreover, trafficked
children are often obliged or induced by their exploiters to commit crimes, such as
pickpocketing, burglary and drug cultivation and transportation.  On the route from
the Horn of Africa to North-Eastern Africa, there have also been cases of trafficking
for the purpose of organ removal. Although the extent of such crimes is unknown,
children on the move travelling along these routes are also vulnerable to them.

(c) Vulnerability of children to exploitation in destination countries

43. Once children reach their destinations, they may encounter a different array of
obstacles, including detention, lengthy family reunification processes (when they
are available at all), discriminatory treatment while in State care, limited access to
social services, education and career opportunities, and uncertainty regarding their
residence status in the country.  In the United States, there have been cases of
trafficking in unaccompanied migrant children who, after their cases were processed
by agencies of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health
and Human Services, have been placed with family members in the country. At
times, some of those children have been trafficked for sexual and labour
exploitation by criminal networks who posed as family members or forced them into
begging or drug smuggling.

44. By the time children arrive at their destination, they have acquired debts with
exploiters who take away their documents and use threats or violence to subdue
them into labour exploitation. For example, Iranian and Afghani children who have
crossed the English Channel find themselves pressured to send money to their
families, while also repaying substantial debts related to their journeys.  This heavy
financial burden drives children to accept working conditions that constitute worst
forms of child labour, including trafficking. At destination, many are trafficked for
forced and exploitative labour in farms and factories and on fishing boats. For
example, in France and the United Kingdom, young men are exploited in cannabis
farms, while others are allegedly exploited in the agriculture sector in Europe.

45. Finally, the detention of children on the move may occur in both transit and
destination countries, in general for identification or security purposes. Regardless
of the context, detained children are profoundly and negatively affected by such
detention. Children in immigration detention have been subjected to abuse, torture,
and ill-treatment or have witnessed such acts.  In destination countries, detained
children are housed in inadequate facilities, which leads them to fall victim to
sexual abuse and exploitation. Although underreported, such violence has occurred
in asylum accommodations in Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Turkey.

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