2015 Child Rights Essay Competition: 3rd Place, Group 1 (Grades 5-8)
Nafisa Uddin – Tampa, FL / Williams Middle Magnet IB School
Slavery has been banned in the United States of America for a long time, unlike in several developing countries. Countries such as India, Bangladesh, and Cote d’Ivoire use child trafficking to force children to work in dangerous environments as child slaves. Child trafficking has become a worldwide concern in the past few years. The victims of child trafficking are not only subjected to harsh living environments and inhumane treatments, but they also endure backbreaking work as well. They do not receive medical care, access to education, or basic survival needs. The United Nations stated that they would minimize the amount of children trafficked by the beginning of this year, but have failed. Other than the UN, other smaller organizations such as DCI, Polaris, and ABC Nepal are working in efforts to stop child trafficking. The problem is so enormous that individuals support for these organizations can help take small steps to bring the demise of this treacherous deed. The world needs to become aware and engage with the problem of child trafficking and actively seek new solutions to stop this heinous crime.
Child trafficking needs to be stopped, but what exactly is it? In order to stop child trafficking, we must become aware of what this atrocity is. Child trafficking is the illegal movement of children, typically for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation. Child trafficking is a practice that therefore violates several Human Rights as established by the United Nations. The website http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx contains the official Child Human Rights and in Article 25, it perspicuously states, “States Parties recognize the right of a child who has been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care, protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other circumstances relevant to his or her placement.” Child trafficking occurs in several developing countries, although less serious forms occur in the USA. Child trafficking is usually practiced by raiders or cheap businesses who don’t want to hire and pay adults for work. Some examples of child trafficking are children who work in the garment factories of Bangladesh.
So, how does this treacherous deed scar the victims for life? Victims of child trafficking are denied their basic natural rights. They don’t have the right to live in the pursuit of happiness amongst others. Children don’t receive promised education or basic survival needs such as clean water, rational amount of food, or medical attention. If a victim is sick, they just have to live with it. Not only that, but they have to exceed the expectations of their masters at all costs in order to avoid punishments. Nor are these punishments light, they can often kill the children. Statistics from a report in Congo show that almost 60% of the group of trafficked children had injuries, sickness, or saw a fellow trafficked victim die. After this experience, these children have had such a traumatic time that they are often never the same again.
Child trafficking isn’t a simple problem that occurs for one reason, it occurs for several different ones. One of the main reasons is that developing countries have a broken economy and/or government that uses trafficked children as a source to rebuild. Some of those children oblige as there is barely a source of income for their own families or access to education. Often, child trafficking occurs because the government has just ended a long Civil War and there are still raiders or small groups of enemies in their midst. We see an example of this in Congo where children are trafficked to become child soldiers in order to fight against occasional group of raiders. These kids are around 6 to 11 years old and have to learn how to shoot people dead. Because they are learning how to kill at such a young age, many of these children are psychologically scarred and as a result are sometimes diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their tender youth. The website https://www.warchild.org.uk/issues/effects-war-children has an entire section devoted to this. It summarizes that children do not understand what war exactly is, and this young killing can in turn make them anti-social and turn to alcohol and drugs.
Putting an end to child trafficking isn’t completely hopeless. Programs such as UNICEF are making efforts to end child trafficking. The UN is trying to find out more about this problem and come up with newer and more effective solutions. DCI raises money to find foster families so children vulnerable to being trafficked are given protection. These children also receive education and essential needs. Smaller organizations such as Polaris and ABC Nepal fund to help stop child trafficking in specific regions. Famous author J.K. Rowling of the renowned Harry Potter series has also started a charity which funds to help kids read and avoid this type of disastrous circumstance to which they have to succumb to. Although several economies defend the fact that child trafficking stimulate the financial growth of the country, it really doesn’t. The website http://www.goodweave.org/child_labor_campaign/child_labor_handmade_rugs_carpets states, “… it also depresses the economy. A study by the ILO found that it would cost $760 billion to end child trafficking, but the benefits to the economy would be more than six times that—an estimated $5.1 trillion in economies…” Stopping child trafficking would rather drive the economy to success. Individuals themselves can help fight for this cause by donating or raising awareness about this worldwide problem.
One a final note, child trafficking is an incriminating practice that exploits children in every way, shape, and form and needs to be stopped. Innocent victims are deprived of basic human rights because the government is crumbling. It is time to end child trafficking by standing abreast with others and other organizations. The world will always be full of turmoil and conflict, but it is our job to extinguish those flames before they engulf us to the point that all hopes for solutions are lost.
- “Convention on the Rights of a Child”. Convention on the Rights of a Child. http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx August 31st, 2015.
- Unknown. Unknown. https://www.warchild.org.uk/issues/effects-war-children. September 1st, 2015
- “Goodweave”. Child Labor and the Rug Industry. http://www.goodweave.org/child_labor_campaign/child_labor_handmade_rugs_carpets. September 10th, 2015