Child trafficking is a silent epidemic, deeply rooted in societies where globalization, poverty, political instability and conflict are present. It’s happening on a global scale, and it’s often hidden behind false promises of employment and the opportunity of a better future.
UNICEF estimates that 1.8 million children are sex trafficked every year — the vast majority, women and girls.
Girls from vulnerable communities and families are easy prey for traffickers and predators. Though not unheard of, it’s very rare for parents to seek out traffickers and sell their daughters for financial reasons. They are almost always targeted and deceived with promises of a better life for their children.
Once in the hands of traffickers, girls and young women are abused and exploited for labour and sex. They are stripped of their rights and of the life they left behind, and denied the opportunity to choose their own future. It’s gender-based violence in action.
Plan International is working with communities, leaders and governments around the globe to prevent and ultimately put an end to trafficking, so that girls and young women can have the freedom and safety they rightly deserve.
In places like Cambodia and Myanmar, our child protection programs work to strengthen community-based responses and reporting mechanisms, and to identify child trafficking risks.
We equip school students with knowledge around how to identify and report if they or their friends are at risk of being trafficked or exploited, and we work with governments on creating and enforcing the right laws and protocols, to protect children from trafficking and punish offenders.
In the Philippines, we’re working with partners in the technology field to make the internet a safer place for children, and with the upsurge of internet and mobile phone usage in the Pacific, we’re teaching children how to identify signs of online grooming and exploitation, to keep them safe.
OpenCRVS, the ground-breaking open-source civil registration software we developed, is another preventative tool that helps to protect girls and young women from trafficking. By registering children’s birth dates through OpenCRVS, children are provided with legal documentation that proves their age and their parents identities, which can protect them from traffickers who often pretend to be parents or caregivers when transporting children across borders.
Survivors of trafficking need support too, so we’re working with local partners to provide rehabilitation and psychosocial support, and connect girls with education and employment opportunities so they can begin to reclaim their lives and their futures.
Every child deserves safety and security, and the freedom to pursue their dreams. Your support can help put an end to the traumatising crime of child trafficking and empower girls all over the world to reclaim their life stories. Donate to our Christmas Appeal now.
The youngest of eight sisters, Sarita is 15 years old and lives in Nepal. She became involved with Plan International after joining a campaigning program to end trafficking.
“I got involved in the program because I’ve always wanted to prove my capacity to the community and to other children. From the core of my heart, I’ve always wanted to do something to stop child trafficking.
“Whenever I hear about girls being trafficked, it makes me feel sad. Children are not only the future of our country but they are the present too. When they are trafficked, I fear my country may never be able to develop or flourish.
“Since being involved in this campaign I have participated in various training sessions on anti-trafficking, child rights and human trafficking. I have given training to many parents and children.
“I have been involved in awareness-raising programs in the community. I also share my knowledge and learnings in my adolescent girls’ group. From that group I have participated in street dramas as well.
“The workshops with parents help them understand there is a risk in trusting unknown people. There are many people who come to take advantage of people’s poverty, bad people who lure them for a good job. This campaign has helped parents to understand this.
“The campaign has also helped children and girls to understand what they should do if they are targeted for trafficking and how they can save themselves from this.
“Child trafficking is a denial of their rights. That’s why I would like to ask everyone to come together to help stop child trafficking. Our country can only develop and flourish to the fullest if child trafficking is stopped.”