Child sex trafficking has become a big problem in many parts of the world.
The United Nations latest report on child trafficking revealed the following statistics:
Top ten countries of destination for human trafficking victims were the Russian Federation (837), Haiti (658), Yemen (552), Thailand (449), Kazakhstan (265), Afghanistan (170), Indonesia (148), Poland (122), Egypt (103) and Turkey (101).
Top ten countries in terms of origin for victims were Ukraine (835), Haiti (709), Yemen (378), Laos (359), Uzbekistan (292), Cambodia (258), Kyrgyzstan (213), Afghanistan (179), Belarus (141) and Ethiopia (122).
Another UN list disclosed the top countries with highest incidence of child prostitution are the following:
• Sri Lanka – Crimes against children increased by 64 percent.
• Thailand – There were 800, 000 child prostitutes 10 years ago.
• Brazil – The country has 500, 000 child sex workers.
• United States – Juvenile prostitutes reached 300, 000 up to 600, 000.
• Canada –Sexual exploitation of children is very common in this country. Child victims are recruited, detained or kept illegally against their will, and transported to other countries or places. These minors are sold and forced to become prostitutes in prostitution dens, escort services and strip clubs. It is about time that international institutions and governments act decisively and probably cooperate to put an end to child sex trafficking.
One of the main tasks of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is child protection.
The END TRAFFICKING Project is an initiative of UNICEF to enhance awareness regarding child trafficking and organize communities to carry out significant actions that will help secure children. This is supposed to be a collaborative effort between concerned organizations and private citizens.
Trafficking is not simply a problem that happens to young people in many countries. For example, the US is considered a source and transport country. In fact, it is among the primary destinations for victims of child trafficking and sexual abuse. Cases have been mentioned in all of the 50 states. This is why the US Federal and State governments are working hard with NGOs, volunteers, business leaders, educators, law enforcers, and policy makers to stop sex trafficking of minors. These initiatives come in the form of laws, corporate and socio-cultural programs.
International laws are potent tools in fighting, preventing and prosecuting child trafficking for sex at the global level. Those worth mention are the following:
• United Nations Convention against Trans-national Organized Crime
• United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking of persons particularly women and children
• United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea (2003-2004) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) established these conventions supporting capability of international legislation to tackle human trafficking. Likewise, the UNODC spearheaded the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking in 2007.
One of the countries that have been very active in these efforts is India.
In 2013, the late former Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Verma came up with an investigative report that observed the high incidence of sex trafficking of adult women and girls in this country.
Ironically, the arrest rate for persons charged with kidnapping of women and girls was very low (3.7 percent), based on reports from the National Crime Records Bureau of India. Upon the recommendation of this Report, the government espoused anti-trafficking conditions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by means of the 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment)
Act. Nevertheless, certain anti-trafficking laws such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956 have not been modified in almost three decades.
Amending this law will place India at the level of its international legal obligations covered by the proper protocols.
In New Zealand, prostitution is not against the law. However, there are stipulations that deal with several facets of prostitution that includes soliciting sex. Laws related to child prostitution as well as soliciting in general are presently the focus of reforms in this country.
The breach in New Zealand law concerned with child trafficking is being taken up by the 2001 Crimes Amendment Act. Section 149-A of the Crimes Act of 1961 forbids any person from accepting or tolerating an act of prostitution by a minor or someone below 18 years old. This Amendment Act also rectifies the gender partiality in said legislation.
In the past, the law only barred enlisting females for sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. The new provision (Section 149) now bans prostitution of persons with the same gender.
The Prostitution Reform Bill aims to protect children by making it a crime to be involved in a contract using someone under 18 years old as prostitute.
Other countries are in the process of formulating and implanting reforms that will help strengthen the worldwide campaign against child sex trafficking.