BEIJING(ILO News) – From the terraced countryside of Yunnan Province to the rapidly expanding industrial zones of the Eastern Seaboard, Chinese children – aged 11 through 17 – have come together to craft the country’s first set of recommendations to combat human trafficking – drafted exclusively by and for young people.
The children traveled to Beijing from a total of nine provinces. All 38 of the young participants had previous experience working with anti-trafficking projects run by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and sponsored by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Save the Children UK and UNICEF. Another UN body – UNIAP, in collaboration with the ACWF – facilitated a high-level dialogue between at-risk children and senior Government officials who are responsible for anti-trafficking policies on prevention and enforcement.
More than a dozen officials from various departments participated in the dialogue, some moved to tears by the children’s stories of hardship and loneliness. Officials commended the children for their participation in the fight against trafficking adding that the future of China is in their hands.
A representative from one of the co-sponsors of the forum, Kathleen Speake of the ILO’s Project for the Prevention of Trafficking in Girls and Young Women for Labour Exploitation said, “consultations such as these are vital to ensure that anti-trafficking work is relevant to the needs of those most vulnerable to being trafficked including left-behind children, and children of migrants”.
Following the dialogue, the young people drafted a statement of recommendations for further consideration by the Government. Those recommendations included:
- Better protection for vulnerable children who are left behind when parents migrate for work;
- Better access to affordable and high quality secondary education;
- More emphasis on prevention work at the community level, including better awareness raising about the links between migration and trafficking;
- An acknowledgment of the importance of children’s voices in developing plans of action on anti-trafficking; and
- The children also acknowledged their own responsibility in reducing the risk of being trafficked through better self-awareness and self-protection.
The young participants chose five of their number to travel to Bangkok in September to take part in a Mekong Youth Forum on Human Trafficking (MYF). They will join other children and young people from across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) to develop a sub-regional set of recommendations in order to further assist the Governments of the GMS in the fight against cross-border trafficking. The MYF is co-sponsored by the ILO’s Mekong Sub-regional Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women, Save the Children UK and World Vision International.
The ILO and ACWF first began their anti-trafficking collaboration work in 2000, in Yunnan Province, China . Since then, the collaborative work has expanded to Henan, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Guangdong.
For further information please contact
Ms Kathleen Speake
Chief Technical Advisor
International Labour Organization - Beijing Office
Tel: (86-1) 06532 5091