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Child Trafficking: A Humanitarian Disaster Hidden In Plain Sight

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Pope Francis once said, “Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity. It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community.” (Wise Old Sayings, 2016)

Child trafficking has been an issue since the early 1800’s; children today are kidnapped, transported and shifted from one place to another for either work, money, military service and sexual exploitation. These innocent victims are helpless when exposed to violence or abuse. Child trafficking leads to innocent children being used for child labor, organ trade, prostitution and slavery, these examples show how the victims live in an exploitive, oppressive and despotic environment. Different forms of child abuse can be found all over the world especially in Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle-East and especially eastern parts of Europe. Poverty, social, political and economic instability, war or conflict-stricken countries tend to be main causes that could lead to innocent children being manipulated as future sex workers, child brides, factory slaves, terrorists or drug traffickers!

Human trafficking is believed to be the fastest growing industry in the world. It has a major impact in the world estimating that about 70-80% of child labor is used for sex. There are instances where parents are willing to sell their daughters in marriage for financial gain. In the rural parts of India there are more than 100,000 children that are sold by family members in the name of marriage. When it comes to the trafficking of these girls, they have no say in the matter and after their marriage they experience many types of injustice in the form of sexual and physical abuse (Duong, Y, 2018). Some people look for help from the government as a last resort, but it turns out to be unsuccessful because the government does not see this as a form of human trafficking but only looks at it as domestic problems faced by a husband and wife and that they should be resolved by the family itself. Thus, the abused don’t have any route of escape and are stuck in these situations for life. (Lahiri, T, 2012)

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Child prostitution has been a problem all around the world and has been increasing rapidly over the past 10 years. There are situations where children are kidnapped from their parents, and other instances where parents or family members sell their children into this trade for financial gain. (Gupta, R.) Recent statistics show that there have been more than 2 million children exploited due to commercialization for sex, out of these it is reported that 70% of this populations have been young girls and 30% are boys. In the United States victims who are trafficked are subjected to numerous types of mistreatment which include being slaves and being forced into child prostitution. Unable to quantify the number of victims being trafficked is just one example of the difficulty and mystery behind child trafficking that authorities who are trying to curb this trade face. In order for us to improve this international dilemma of trafficking, it is essential to create awareness among the people. It is harder to catch traffickers if people do not know what to look out for in their environment to keep their children safe or in a situation where they witness a child being kidnapped.

Child labour is one of the major social issues that has been overshadowed in the minds of people, if thought of at all. It is defined as work which is physically, mentally and socially harmful to children hence denying them from the opportunity to learn and develop their skills as a human being in a safe and healthy environment. According to the International Labour organization there has been an estimated 165 million children below the age of 5 and 12 who are working in a stressful and hazardous job. In countries such as Nigeria and the Eastern parts of Africa this is considered as a normal way of life due to the severe poverty faced by these people (Osmond Chigozie, A, 2015). Child labour in Africa has grown beyond forced labour in factories and fields and instead to a harmful environment where children between 5 and 15 years of age are taught to use weapons and are used as child soldiers (Brown, G. 2011). Here children are not only harmed mentally where they are taught to kill but also beaten and harmed physically if they do not perform the tasks assigned to them. For example, in Burma children are taken away from their homes to be slaves in order to mine for blood diamonds. This what child labor looks like in today’s modern world. In order to eradicate such foul behaviour towards children, governments and world-wide organizations are working collaboratively to enforce laws which help protect children from child labor.

Therefore, to conclude we can see the trafficking industry is completely fueled by poverty, meaninglessness to the rights of the defenceless population, corrupt government and so on. Victims of trafficking are of lower income groups with very limited opportunities. One of the main components of traffickers is that they look for children in a similar kind of position of neglect and abuse. Since Human trafficking is the fastest growing business in the world making a revenue of more than $5 billion a year, the major organizations such as the United Nations (UN), International Labour Organisation (ILO) as well as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are working to control this problem by issuing strong laws as well as policies. They should also be firmer and more stringent when issuing policies to the various heads of states. If the UN encourages trafficking protocols on the various countries to enact them through their laws this will stop exploitation of children as well as the better treatment of migrant workers. With the United Nation following the 3P principal act as policy which is know as (Prevention, Protection and Prosecutions) will be used by governments all over the world to help diminish trafficking of men, women and children.

For children to grow up to be well balanced individuals who will lead the world tomorrow we need to ensure that they receive a good education and also that they grow up in a secure, protected and loving environment. When children are taken away from this type of an environment and are instead placed in unsafe and abusive environments they are affected for life. Children who have been recued from these sometime are unable to function as normal individuals their whole lives and many of them are institutionalized for life, or continue the sad and terrifying cycle of crime, as that’s all they know. Thus, not only parents but every individual needs to be aware of the negative effects that these issues could lead to and should always be on a look out for their children’s safety. Therefore, with the help of the world-wide organizations adding pressure to the various heads of states there can be new laws implemented to help stop child trafficking around the world. This will help ensure our children a better tomorrow free of sex trafficking, slavery and not becoming terrorist or drug traffickers.

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Child Trafficking: A Humanitarian Disaster Hidden In Plain Sight. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from
“Child Trafficking: A Humanitarian Disaster Hidden In Plain Sight.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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