The trafficking of children is a serious human rights violation.
A child’s right to be free from exploitation is violated in many ways through child trafficking:
- Girls and boys are trafficked into the world’s commercial sex trade
- Children are trafficked into labour exploitation in agriculture and other jobs in manufacturing, including large-scale sweatshops
- Girls in particular are trafficked into domestic child labour
Criminal networks and individuals exploit children in begging, street hawking, car window cleaning and other street-based activities. Some children are exploited as drug couriers or dealers or in petty crime such as pick-pocketing or burglary.
According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000), child trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation.
Children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking when they are transient, at times of political crisis or in the face of social or economic pressures.
Some children may willingly consent to being smuggled in order to escape a desperate situation or to seek better opportunities. However, once they are a part of the smuggling network, they may find themselves trapped and without protection.
Many trafficked children are linked to the commercial sex trade. Commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a contemporary form of slavery. Girls represent 80 to 90% of the victims of child sex tourism.
SOS Children’s Villages provides a safe home for vulnerable children, who have lost, or at risk of losing the protection of parental care. In areas affected by conflict and disaster, we offer child friendly spaces as a place of refuge for displaced children and their families. Through our programing, we provide education, medical care, social support and vocational training to children and families in the community, providing safer, more sustainable means of income-generation, to put an end to child trafficking.