Countries urged to better protect migrant children from trafficking

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In the context of mixed migration flows, no region is untouched by human trafficking. This eight-year-old girl was abandoned in the woods near the Dominican Republic border after the man transporting her was spotted trying to cross illegally . She is photographed in a UNICEF-backed centre that provides temporary support for trafficked children while authorities search for their parents. UNICEF/UNI121794/Dormino

Countries are being urged by two UN experts to step up their efforts to protect migrant children from trafficking, sale and other forms of exploitation.

The Special Rapporteurs Maria Grazia Giammarinaro and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio made the call ahead of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Sunday 30 July.

Children are disproportionately affected by conflicts and disasters, and those who have been separated from their families are particularly vulnerable.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

The current systems designed to protect migrant children are failing, leaving many at risk of trafficking, sale and other forms of exploitation, the UN human rights experts have warned.

Children fleeing conflict, especially those travelling alone, are at risk of being abused sexually, sold or exploited as free labour, they said.

Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons.

"The procedures to establish the best interest of the child are not really effective. In certain countries, there is no possibility to appoint a guardian, a person really capable of identifying and protecting the interest of the child. Very often there are no effective procedures to establish if there is a real risk for the child to be reintroduced in a network of trafficking."

The experts also criticized States that continue to lock up migrant children, privileging rigid immigration policies above child protection policies.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

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