Child Trafficking

Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking and is defined as the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt" of a child for the purpose of slavery, forced labor and exploitation.

Child trafficking victims, whether for labor, sex or organ trafficking, come from all backgrounds, include both boys and girls. They span a wide age range from 1 to 18 years old. Sex trafficking victims up to roughly 25 years old most often started as young as 14.

Average age a child is trafficked into the commercial sex trade is between 11 and 14 years old.

The majority of victims — 24.9 million people — were held in forced labor. And 15.4 million were forced into marriage. An estimated 4.8 million people, mainly women and children, were trafficked in the commercial sex trade in 2016. More than 1 million children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation each year

Most of the cases involved sex trafficking and many of the victims were children. ... Sex trafficking, according to the United Nations' International Labour Organization, is a $99 billion-a-year global industry. The exploitation of more than 1 million children accounts for more than 20 percent of those profits.

What are the reasons for child trafficking?


  • Poverty is one of the main causes of child trafficking. ...
  • Humanitarian Crises. Child trafficking is particularly prominent in areas struck by natural disasters. ...
  • Lack of Education. ...
  • Absence of Birth Registration. ...
  • Lucrative Activity. ...
  • Insufficient or Unenforced Legislation. ...
  • International Adoption. ...

Children Exploited for Commercial Sex

Each year, more than two million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Many of these children are trapped in prostitution. The commercial sexual exploitation of children is trafficking, regardless of circumstances. International covenants and protocols obligate criminalization of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The use of children in the commercial sex trade is prohibited under both U.S. law and the U.N. TIP Protocol. There can be no exceptions, no cultural or socio-economic rationalizations that prevent the rescue of children from sexual servitude. Terms such as “child sex worker” are unacceptable because they falsely sanitize the brutality of this exploitation.

Child Sex Tourism
Child sex tourism (CST) involves people who travel from their own country—often a country where child sexual exploitation is illegal or culturally abhorrent—to another country where they engage in commercial sex acts with children. CST is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of violent child abuse. The commercial sexual exploitation of children has devastating consequences for minors, which may include long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possibly death.

Forced Child Labor
Most international organizations and national laws recognize that children may legally engage in light work. In contrast, the worst forms of child labor are being targeted for eradication by nations across the globe. The sale and trafficking of children and their entrapment in bonded and forced labor are clearly among the worst forms of child labor. Any child who is subject to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage, or slavery through the use of force, fraud, or coercion is a victim of trafficking in persons regardless of the location of that exploitation.

Child Soldiers
Child soldiering is a unique and severe manifestation of trafficking in persons that involves the unlawful recruitment of children through force, fraud, or coercion to be exploited for their labor or to be abused as sex slaves in conflict areas. Such unlawful practices may be perpetrated by government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. UNICEF estimates that more than 300,000 children under 18 are currently being exploited in more than 30 armed conflicts worldwide. While the majority of child soldiers are between the ages of 15 and 18, some are as young as 7 or 8 years of age.

Many children are abducted to be used as combatants. Others are made unlawfully to serve as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. Many young girls are forced to marry or have sex with male combatants and are at high risk of unwanted pregnancies. Male and female child soldiers are often sexually abused and are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Some children have been forced to commit atrocities against their families and communities. Child soldiers are often killed or wounded, with survivors often suffering multiple traumas and psychological scarring. Their personal development is often irreparably damaged. Returning child soldiers are often rejected by their home communities.

Child soldiers are a global phenomenon. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, but armed groups in the Americas and the Middle East also unlawfully use children in conflict areas. All nations must work together with international organizations and NGOs to take urgent action to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate child soldiers.

What are the effects of child trafficking?

Effects of child trafficking.

Child trafficking can have long-lasting and devastating effects. Being kept captive or living or working in poor conditions can have a seriousimpact on a child's mental and physical health. They might also be suffering from the effects of multiple forms of abuse and neglect.

Warning signs that an individual is being trafficked:

  • Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
  • Unexplained absences from class
  • Less appropriately dressed than before
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Overly tired in class
  • Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out
  • Brags about making or having lots of money
  • Displays expensive clothes, accessories or shoes
  • New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking)
  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
  • Talks about wild parties or invites other students to attend parties
  • Shows signs of gang affiliation? (ie: a preference for specific colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)

How can we prevent child trafficking?

  • Support livelihoods to help families avoidthe need to have their children Raise awareness of trafficking, reducing the number of children being trafficked. Rehabilitate survivors, and help them rebuild their lives. Protect unaccompanied refugee children, and keep them from the clutches of traffickers.
  • How many children are trafficked in India?
  • NGO's estimate that 12,000-50,000women and children are trafficked into the country annually from neighboring states for the sex trade. There is an estimated 300,000 child beggars in India. Every year, 44,000 children fall into the clutches of the gangs.

Despite the fact that many people believe that slavery no longer exists, an estimated five million children are in slavery worldwide, including in the UK.

What can we do to stop child trafficking?

Support livelihoods to help families avoid the need to have their children work. Raise awareness of trafficking, reducing the number of children being trafficked. Rehabilitate survivors, and help them rebuild their lives. Protect unaccompanied refugee children, and keep them from the clutches of traffickers

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