Main issues and messages covered in training manual to fight trafficking in children for labour, sexual and other forms of exploitation
- The manual puts child trafficking in a broader context of children’s rights, labour markets and migration dynamics. The manual sheds light on the complex nature of child trafficking and the need for comprehensive multi-dimensional responses.
- The manual explains how to go about gathering data on child trafficking through a variety of methods and from a range of sources, so as to improve the focus and effectiveness of responses and monitor progress.
- It points at the overarching need to understand vulnerability – to move beyond ‘poverty’ and explore a range of vulnerability factors that have an impact on the level of risk for each child: at individual child, family, community, institutional and workplace levels; and in source communities and at destination. In our responses to trafficking we should be clear about which children are (most) vulnerable and who creates the demand for exploitation (and where), and target our actions accordingly.
- The manual emphasizes that it is vital to understand the ‘cause and effect’ of the response actions under consideration, as many promising policies have been put in place and actions have been well carried out but ultimately have had less impact than desired because they did not address the crux of the problem.
- The key to fighting trafficking is to stop it from being profitable through strict law enforcement (including in the informal economy where most of demand is generated), confiscation of profits of traffickers and increased protection (and reduced vulnerability) of children.
- Discrimination (including by gender) and marginalization of socially excluded groups deserve special attention. Children without birth registration, children of ethnic minorities, disabled children, homeless children, orphans, and migrant children often lack access to basic social services, and are at particularly high risk of trafficking.
- The manual demonstrates that much of the understanding of child trafficking and many of the proven responses lie in the workings of the labour market and the reality of supply and demand, as well as other market-related concepts as profit and loss – so understanding some of these labour-related issues can help make us better anti-trafficking professionals;
- It further emphasizes that, if we bring in the ‘world of work’, then we have stronger law enforcement tools at our disposal, such as labour inspection, corporate social responsibility mechanisms, labour laws and the strong, specialized knowledge and outreach of workers’ and employers’ organizations. The world of work can also contribute to broad protection of families whose children are at risk of (re)trafficking, and thus prevent children from trafficking and re-trafficking.
- The manual argues that the multi-dimensional issue of trafficking requires a multi-partner response where a range of actors work together around a common platform for action such as a National Action Plan. The development and implementation of such plans may take time and a lot of effort, but they are essential to ensure that the various agencies work to their respective strengths and our response to child trafficking is comprehensive. Governments have prime responsibility to coordinate policies to fight child trafficking in children effectively, and are obliged in international law to apply ratified conventions such as ILO Convention No. 182.
- Finally, participation of children in actions to fight trafficking is an important protection mechanism: It offers learning opportunities to children and reinforces their understanding and self-awareness.
International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) - Date issued: 28 August 2009