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 May 14, 2010 4:25 AM

New “Roadmap” to Boost Action on Child Labour


Brussels, 14 May 2010 (ITUC OnLine):  The ITUC has welcomed the adoption of a new child labour “Roadmap”  at an international conference in the Dutch capital The Hague this week, which will give a new push to reach a target set by the International Labour Organisation to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016.


“With 215 million children at work instead of school, and around half of these in the most hazardous and exploitative forms of child labour, the international community needs to push much harder if there is to be any chance of reaching the 2016 deadline.  It is an international scandal that, nearly 40 years after the ILO adopted Convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Employment, and more than a decade since the adoption of Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, so many boys and girls are still at work in the fields, streets, and factories or in domestic work instead of getting an education,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.


30 trade union representatives from the ITUC, national affiliates and Global Union Federations took part in the Conference alongside representatives of employer organisations, governments from 80 countries and non-government organisations including the Global March Against Child Labour.  The union delegation was hosted by the ITUC-affiliated FNV-Netherlands and the Dutch Government, which organised the event in cooperation with the ILO.


The Roadmap recognises that tackling the worst forms of child labour works best when it is integrated into action to abolish all child labour and provide free, quality education to all children without exception.  It puts the agriculture sector, which accounts for 60% of child labour, and domestic work, in which mainly girls face appalling exploitation, into the international spotlight, and recognises that providing decent jobs to adults is crucial in ensuring that children are able to go to school and complete their education.


The results of the Conference will be submitted to the June ILO Conference, which will debate progress towards ending child labour, based on a key ILO report “Accelerating action against child labour”


The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 312 national affiliates. 

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 May 12, 2010 7:40 PM


New York, May 12 2010 11:10AM
With more than 200 million children around the world working at the expense of their future, a new United Nations-backed action plan seeks to ramp up global action to stamp out the scourge by 2016.

At the end of a two-day Global Child Labour Conference in The Hague yesterday, more than 450 delegates from 80 countries agreed on a so-called roadmap, which characterizes the effective abolition of child labour as a “moral necessity.”

The programme also emphasizes that “government responsibility should be assumed at the highest level and with the best interests of children in mind taking into consideration the views of children and their families, and should include due attention to the most vulnerable children and the conditions that create their vulnerability.”

As such, authorities should consider the impact of policies on the worst forms of child labour by taking in account gender and age, among other measures, it said.

The UN International Labour Organization (<"">ILO), which took part in the conference which wrapped up yesterday, has defined the worst forms of child labour as all forms of slavery, including child trafficking and use of children in armed conflict; child prostitution; and the use of children in illicit activities, including drug production.

It also comprises hazardous work, which is classified as negatively impacting a child’s safety, health and moral development. Hazardous work conditions include night work, long hours and exposure to physical, psychological or sexual abuse.

The discussions this week in The Hague “clearly show that if we stick to business as usual, the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016 will simply be missed,” said ILO Executive Director Kari Tapiola.

A new ILO study issued over the weekend warned that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are waning and called for a “re-energized” global campaign to end the scourge.

The <"">Global Report on Child Labour assessed progress made so far and highlighted the challenges that remain if the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by the target date of 2016 is to be achieved.

It noted a “slowing down of the global pace of reduction” – with the number of child labourers worldwide declining from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per cent, from 2004 to 2008.

“Progress is uneven: neither fast enough nor comprehensive enough to reach the goals that we have set,” <"">said Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General.

“New and large-scale efforts are needed. The situation calls for a re-energized campaign against child labour. We must scale up action and move into a higher gear.”
The report also expressed concern that the global economic crisis could “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

“The economic downturn cannot become an excuse for diminished ambition and inaction. Instead it offers the opportunity to implement the policy measures that work for people, for recovery and for sustainable development,” said Mr. Somavia.
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 May 08, 2010 10:30 PM


New York, May 8 2010 10:10AM
The United Nations labour agency warned in a new study that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are waning and called for a "re-energized" global campaign to end the scourge.

The Global Report on Child Labour, released today, assessed progress made so far and highlighted the challenges that remain if the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by the target date of 2016 is to be achieved.

It noted a "slowing down of the global pace of reduction" -- with the number of child labourers worldwide declining from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per cent, from 2004 to 2008.

"Progress is uneven: neither fast enough nor comprehensive enough to reach the goals that we have set," said Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (<"">ILO).

"New and large-scale efforts are needed. The situation calls
for a re-energized campaign against child labour. We must scale up action and move into a higher gear."

The quadrennial report comes ahead of The Hague Global Child Labour Conference, to be held from 10 to 11 May in the Netherlands, which will consider lessons learned in the fight against the worst forms of child labour, as well as a "road map" providing concrete steps towards achieving the 2016 target.

The report also expressed concern that the global economic crisis could "further brake" progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

"The economic downturn cannot become an excuse for diminished ambition and inaction. Instead it offers the opportunity to implement the policy measures that work for people, for recovery and for sustainable development," said Mr. Somavia.

The report, which breaks down data by age, gender and region, showed that Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean continue to reduce child labour, while sub-Saharan Afric
a has witnessed an increase. Africa also has the highest incidence of children working, with one in four children engaged in child labour.

The scale of the problem in Africa is among the key remaining challenges in tackling child labour, according to Constance Thomas, Director of the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

Other challenges include a much-needed breakthrough in agriculture, where most child labourers work, and the need to address often hidden forms of child labour.

"Most child labour is rooted in poverty. The way to tackle the problem is clear. We must ensure that all children have the chance of going to school, we need social protection systems that support vulnerable families -- particularly at times of crisis -- and we need to ensure that adults have a chance of decent work. These measures, combined with effective enforcement of laws that protect children, provide the way forward," said Ms. Thomas.
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 May 20, 2009 8:22 PM


PDF downloadable documents



The following documents can be printed. Please note that some may take a few minutes to open. In order to view these PDF files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer -- it is available for free, click to download.

   Collateral Damage: The impact of anti-trafficking measures on human rights around the world
This anthology reviews the experience of eight specific countries and attempts to assess what the impact of anti-trafficking measures have been for a variety of people living and working there, or migrating into or out of these countries. The eight are: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Brazil, India, Nigeria, Thailand, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U. The chapters look specifically at what the impact has been on
people’s human rights.
Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), 2007   Missing Out: A Study of Child Trafficking in the North-West, North-East and West Midlands
The report highlights the cases of 80 children known or suspected of being trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and forced marriage. More shocking is that 48 of these children have gone missing from social services care and have never been found.
Christine Beddoe, ECPAT UK, 2007   Trafficking for Forced Labour in Europe
Report on a study in the UK, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Portugal This report looks at the various sectors and industries in which trafficking into forced labour occurs including agriculture, construction, domestic work and hospitality. Includes policy recommendations at a European level.
Anti-Slavery International 2006   Trafficking for Forced Labour: UK country report
The result of research carried out by Anti-Slavery International between 2005 and 2006 with the aim of finding out more about trafficking for forced labour in the United Kingdom. This was a qualitative rather than quantative project, which aimed to provide information about how migrants become trafficked and which industries in the UK are affected.
Also available an executive summary and policy recommendations.
Klára Skrivánková
Anti-Slavery International 2006    Compilation of Reports from the Conference on When People are Treated as Commodities in the Global Market
In October 2006, Anti-Slavery International ,CICA, IEPALA, MLAL Progetto Mondo and OIKOS participated in a two-day conference in Verona, Italy, as part of the “Hands Up for Freedom” project. Partners were invited from various countries and papers were presented on topics relating to the conference theme, “When People are treated as Commodities in the Global Market”. This report is a summary of some of the information made available during the conference in Verona.
Anti-Slavery International 2006   Trafficking in Women, Forced Labour and Domestic Work: In the context of the Middle East and Gulf region
This report nvestigates the experiences of women migrant domestic workers in the Middle East and Gulf, the dynamics and workings of the migration process and whether and how it contributes to trafficking. Also included is an examination of some of the key, inter-connecting dynamics between slavery, trafficking, migration and forced labour, focussing particularly on examples of sending, receiving and transit countries including Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen.
Anti-Slavery International 2006   Protocol for Identification and Assistance of Trafficked Persons and Training Kit
This publication is a practical tool for identifying trafficked people.
It provides basic and practical information to those most likely to encounter people who have been trafficked and aims to help make the difficult task of identification easier. The manual includes lists of indicators, checklists and recommends questions for intervi
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 May 20, 2009 7:30 PM

Forced Labour and Slavery

Forced labour is any work or service which people are made to do against their will under threat of some form of punishment.

Forced labour is a contemporary form of slavery, which has a number of key characteristics:

  • forced to work, through mental or physical threat;

  • controlled by an 'employer', under the threat of some form of punishment;

  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property';

  • physically constrained or has restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

Click here to take action on forced labour in Uzbekistan's cotton industry

For further information:

Environmental Justice Foundation

International Labour Rights Forum

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 April 26, 2009 8:33 PM


New York, Apr 9 2009 1:10PM
The United Nations Children’s Fund (<"">UNICEF) has hailed the first-ever law recognizing children’s rights launched today in Southern Sudan, extolling the Government for its efforts to create a society in which children can grow and develop to their full potential.

The Child Act, inaugurated today by President Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan, defines a child as any person under the age of 18 and requires the Government to recognize, respect and ensure the rights of children enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“This legislation is a major milestone in creating a protective environment in which children can enjoy their rights to health, education and other basic services, to access information, to express their views, and to be protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and harm,” <"">said Peter Crowley, Director of Operations for UNICEF’s Southern Sudan Area Programme.

Under the new law, any community member who suspects that a child’s rights have been violated or are at risk must report the case to local authorities.

Additionally, parents must register their children’s births; protect them from neglect, discrimination, violence and abuse; provide them with good care and guidance; and ensure they receive a full-time education.

The Act explicitly bans acts such as the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups, torture and cruel treatment, including the use of corporal punishment in schools, jails and public institutions. It also criminalizes early marriage and the use of children for prostitution and pornography.

No child under the age of 12 can be held accountable for criminal acts and further cannot be arrested and imprisoned, states the new law, which sets up a restorative justice system for children above age 12 accused of crimes.

Discrimination against children on the basis of gender, race, age, religion, language, opinion, disability and HIV or other health status, among others, is outlawed by the Act.

For children living without their parents – either temporarily or permanently – it requires that they are provided with alternative family care in their community.

The new legislation also establishes an independent Children’s Commission, which must investigate reported violations and make recommendations on how to promote children’s rights.

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 April 25, 2009 7:13 PM


New York, Apr 22 2009 7:10PM
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Security Council and judicial systems to step up action in the fight to end abuse of children in conflict zones around the world.

In his latest <"">report on the issue, the Secretary-General encourages national and international justice systems to take strong action ending impunity for crimes against children committed within their jurisdictions.

Among other recommendations aimed at halting violations committed against the young caught up in war zones and bolstering their protection, the Secretary-General urged the Security Council to put measures into place against repeat offenders.

“Accountability for perpetrators will create a sense of justice for the victims and it will also have a deterrence effect,” noted Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.

“Persistent violators have to realize that their crimes will not remain unpunished,” she added.

The Secretary-General’s annual report to the Security Council explicitly lists in its annexes 56 parties, both State and non-State, who have committed grave violations against children, including 19 persistent violators who have been listed for more than 4 years.

The report covers compliance and progress in ending six grave violations against children caught up in armed conflict: the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming of children, rape and other grave sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access to children.

Noting that while progress has been made through plans to release child soldiers in several countries, such as in Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, children continue to suffer in many conflicts.

The report also documents grave violations against children in 20 countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, CAR, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Georgia, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, the Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and Uganda.

Ms. Coomaraswamy stressed that the child protection community was waiting for a strong signal from the Security Council on its commitment to tackle the protection of children during armed conflict when it discusses the report on 29 April.

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 November 09, 2008 9:55 PM


New York, Oct 20 2008 10:10AM
A new report commissioned by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls for strengthening laws and criminal justice mechanisms to combat human trafficking in Lebanon, a destination country for victims smuggled from Eastern European countries such as Moldova.

Only 60 cases involving victims of human trafficking are officially identified every year in Lebanon, according the report, which is the result of research conducted between 2005 and 2007 by Statistics Lebanon, a Beirut-based organization, in cooperation with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

These include cases that are either processed through the courts or through the national Complaints Office.

“There could be more, but we cannot responsibly estimate unknown numbers,” <"">says Cindy Smith from the University of Baltimore, who assisted with the report.

A major difficulty in identifying victims is the lack of any law in the Lebanese penal code concerning human trafficking.

Of the 30 cases processed through the courts under existing crime legislation, such as kidnapping, offenders received a $350 fine and a jail sentence of less than six months.

Victims are also afraid to speak out, dreading retribution or stigmatization, and many just do not know their rights.

Following the release of the report, UNODC is working to help Lebanon and Moldova tackle the issue, including by jointly developing materials to assist victims, governments and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers.

Efforts also include informing Lebanese migration authorities on the rights of trafficked victims from Moldova, and providing potential victims with information on support and protection services they can access upon their return to Moldova.

At the same time, UNODC is working with the Lebanese Ministry of Justice to introduce human trafficking as a crime in the country’s penal code. “We expect to produce draft legislation by the end of the year before it is eventually submitted to Parliament,” says Renee Sabbagh, UNODC National Coordinator in Beirut.

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 October 13, 2008 7:44 PM

From: Childlabour
To: ICFTU Child Labour Announcements
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 7:55 AM
Subject: Forced Labour video on youtube

Dear all,

You will find below the new ITUC video on Forced labour posted on the ITUC Youtube Channel. Please forward this to as many contacts as you have in your network. Thanks!

Normal quality English
High quality English

Normal quality French
High quality French

Normal quality Spanish
High quality Spanish

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 October 12, 2008 7:52 PM


New York, Sep 17 2008 6:10PM
The United Nations envoy for children and armed conflict today praised the United States for the introduction of new legislation that aims to tackle the recruitment and use of the estimated 250,000 child soldiers worldwide.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, <"">said the passage of one act dealing with the scourge and the imminent passage of another was a welcome step forward.

“The Child Soldiers Prevention and Accountability Act send a clear message that recruitment and use of child soldiers is unlawful,” she said, according to a press release issued by her office. “Perpetrators of such crimes could also become accountable under US domestic legislation. “

The Child Soldiers Accountability Act, which received bipartisan support from the Senate and House of Representatives, criminalizes the recruitment and use of child soldiers, while also giving the US the authority to deny admission or to deport individuals for such grave child rights violations.

Still to be passed, the Child Soldiers Prevention Act will heighten the campaign against child soldiering through restricting the transfer of military technology, the prohibition of arms export licences, and provision of US military assistance to curb governments or paramilitaries conscripting children under the age of 15.

Today, more than 250,000 children continue to be exploited as child soldiers. The global fight against impunity for the recruitment and use of child soldiers will be strongly enhanced, Ms. Coomaraswamy said, by the implementation of both acts.

Collaborative efforts over the last eight years between the Office of the Special Representative, the United Nations Children's Fund (<"">UNICEF) and other UN entities and Member States have resulted in significant advances, actions and tangible results for children affected by armed conflict, according to her office.

Ms. Coomaraswamy stated: “The unique engagement of the Security Council through resolution 1612 played a crucial role in awakening the conscience of the international community and has started to bring results at a global level.”

Previous indictments for violations of international law through the recruitment and use of child soldiers include: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC); and Major Jean-Pierre Biyoyo of the Mudundo Forty armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A former head of State, Charles Ghankay Taylor of Liberia, is currently on trial in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) facing an 11-count indictment for crimes against humanity, including the act of enlisting child soldiers.

The Special Representative embraced the US move as a catalyst to further the global fight against child soldiering. “US engagement will add impetus in bringing tangible changes to the child soldiers issue around the globe,” she said.

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 August 23, 2008 10:31 PM


New York, Aug 20 2008 2:11PM
Further measures are necessary to curb child exploitation across East Asia and the Pacific, despite the recent positive steps taken to tackle the issue in the region, a United Nations-backed gathering said today.

“The region’s governments need to take their anti-exploitation efforts to another level and push through much tougher anti-child sex measures,” said Anupama Rao Singh, Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific of the UN Children’s Fund (<"">UNICEF).

Hundreds of experts, government officials and activists from the region attended a two-day meeting in Bangkok organized by UNICEF, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (<"">ESCAP) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) ECPAT International.

“While acts of commercial sexual exploitation are acts of violence as well as violations of human rights, they are not always treated as crimes,” said Shigeru Mochida, ESCAP’s Deputy Executive Secretary.

Participants conferred on setting goals to address child prostitution, trafficking, cyber crimes, and abuse in travel and tourism. Targets discussed included setting up child sex offender registries in every country to make sure abusers are monitored and prevented from travelling abroad, and stepping up Internet protections through such means as having more specific laws to criminalize all forms of child pornography.

The Bangkok gathering, which wrapped up yesterday, will be followed by the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November. The three-day event is expected to draw over 3,000 people.

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 July 23, 2008 5:48 PM


New York, Jul 17 2008 4:00PM
Protecting children in armed conflict is a moral issue, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today, calling for increased action to safeguard young people caught up in violence.

“The protection of children in armed conflict is a litmus test for the United Nations and the Organization’s Member States,” Mr. Ban <"">said told the Security Council in an open debate. “It is a moral call, and deserves to be placed above politics. It requires innovative, fearless engagement by all stakeholders.”

He noted that in the 12 years since the release of the landmark study on the impact of armed conflict on children by Graça Machel, international legal standards on the issue have been established.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) classifies recruiting children into fighting forces as both a war crime and a crime against humanity, while the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has a convention calling child soldiering one of the worst forms of child labour.

The Secretary-General lauded the work of the Security Council to protect children, with resolutions having been adopted on six grave violations: abduction; sexual violence; child soldiers; killing and maiming; attacks on schools and hospitals; and denial of humanitarian access.

“Yet we have only begun to scratch the surface,” he said, voicing hope that the 15-member body would take further measures to address the problem.

In her address to the debate, which heard from dozens of speakers, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said that her recent visits to Iraq and Afghanistan have convinced her of the changing nature of warfare.

“The time has come for us to re-double our efforts in these regions, to renew our commitment to ensure that children will not be recruited or used as suicide bombers, that they will not be detained in military detention without due process which protects their vulnerability as minors, that their schools will not be attacked, that they or their families will not be collateral damage and that girl children will not be the targets of sexual violence or denied access to schools,” she said.

Over the past year, Ms. Coomaraswamy said, Member States have expressed their opinions that her Office should more closely assess the root causes of serious offenses against children, in particular the problem of children associated with armed groups.

Although in agreement with the need to understand the basis of conflict, she underlined that the Council should not be steered “away from its task of ensuring accountability for and fighting impunity of persistent and grave violators of children’s rights in situations of armed conflict, a task in which it has a supreme advantage over other organs of the United Nations, including the possibility of imposing targeted measures,” she said.

Also speaking at today’s debate was Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet, who briefed the Council on measures that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has taken on child protection.

Currently, the Department hosts more than 60 Child Protection Officers in seven missions around the world, with the provision of training on children’s rights being a top priority.

“We must strive to ensure an environment in which children’s rights are fully respected and their welfare is protected: a peaceful and just environment in which they can flourish and meaningfully contribute to their communities,” Mr. Mulet said.

“DPKO is contributing to these efforts through the very nature of its operations, which is to help societies begin to rise from the ashes of conflict and instability.”

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The report cites UNESCO (Note 2) statistics showing that some 75 million children of primary school age were out of school in 2006, a reduction from 103 million in 1999. The report also acknowledges that the number of children involved in economic activities has been falling. In 2004 it was estimated there were some 20 million fewer economically active children aged 5-14 than there had been four years earlier. However there remained 191 million children aged 5-14 engaged in some kind of economic activity. Of this number 165 million were involved in child labour.

By examining how child labour affects main schooling indicators, the new ILO findings also strengthen the case for tackling child labour as a means of achieving education targets set in the UN Millennium Development Goals. The report notes that:

  • Child labour leads to reduced primary school enrolment and negatively affects literacy rates among youth.

  • There is strong evidence that when children combine school and work, as the number of hours in work increases, school attendance falls.

  • High levels of child labour are associated with lower performance on an Education Development Index, which measures a country’s performance on universal primary education, adult literacy, quality of education and gender parity.

  • There is a significant correlation between the levels of children’s economic activity and primary school repetition rates. Grade repetition often leads to children dropping out of school.

  • Rural working children and girls tend to be among the most disadvantaged. Girls often carry a double burden of work inside and outside the home, putting their schooling at risk.

    IPEC also said that at the level of secondary school, average attendance is just 46 per cent for boys and 43 per cent for girls, and in sub-Saharan Africa only one child in five attends secondary school.

    “On this World Day Against Child Labour the focus is on: Education - the right response to child labour”, Mr. Somavia said. “For too many children, particularly children of poor families across the world, the right to education remains an abstract concept, far from the reality of daily life. More than 70 million primary school aged children are not enrolled in school. Many of these and other out of school children start working at an early age, often well below the minimum age of employment. And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.”

    Mr. Somavia called for an “educational dimension” in the struggle against child labour, saying “let us pledge to work together for education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment, education policies that reach out to child labourers and other excluded groups, properly resourced quality education and skills training and education for all children, and decent work for adults. I urge you to lend your voice and action to the worldwide movement against child labour”.

    As part of its efforts to strengthen action to tackle child labour by boosting access to education, the ILO is coordinating the work of an inter-agency partnership, the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education for All, which brings together UN agencies, teachers, and civil society representatives, to strengthen measures to help child labourers. In addition, 12 UN agencies through the UN Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Human Rights Education (UNIACC) have issued a joint Statement for World Day which can be found at:

    The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has activities in almost 90 countries worldwide. It works at the policy level, supporting development of legislative and policy frameworks to tackle child labour, as well as through programmes aimed at preventing and withdrawing children from child labour, and has developed a Global Action Plan to eliminate its worst forms – including hazardous work, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and all forms of slavery – by 2016.

    For more information on the campaign, see: Media can contact the ILO Department of Communication at +4122/799-7912.

  •  [ send green star]
     June 15, 2008 5:27 PM


    New York, Jun 12 2008 10:00AM
    The United Nations is urging improved access to education as the right response to address the plight of the estimated 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 worldwide who are involved in child labour.

    “Despite global progress in many areas, it is unacceptable that so many children must still work for their survival and that of their families,” Juan Somavia, Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), said today on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour.

    The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) says that of some 218 million child labourers around the world, millions are either denied educational opportunities that would give them a better future or must balance work with education.

    “For too many children, particularly children of poor families across the world, the right to education remains an abstract concept, far from the reality of daily life,” Mr. Somavia stated.

    He noted that more than 70 million primary school-aged children are not enrolled in school. Many of these and other out-of-school children start working at an early age, often well below the minimum age of employment. And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.

    “Our challenge is to offer hope to the child labourers of the world by making their right a reality, ensuring that they have quality education and training which can lead them towards a future of decent work,” he said.

    “This is essential to break the cycle of child labour and poverty. And it is a sound investment for individuals and society.”

    To tackle child labour, ILO is urging governments to provide education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment, as well as education policies that reach out to child labourers and other excluded groups.

    In addition, the agency is calling for properly resourced quality education and skills training, and education for all children and decent work for adults.

    The annual World Day is being marked in some 60 countries with events ranging from awareness-raising campaigns and artistic performances to competitions and photo exhibitions on child labour.

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     April 20, 2008 5:28 PM

    Slavery thrives in Canada, says Canadian Member of Parliament

     April 12, 2008 8:12 PM

    Teenage girls from so-called "good" families in wealthy Canadian neighbourhoods lured to Europe on a promise of a modelling career that turns out to be forced prostitution.

    Human trafficking, says Winnipeg Tory MP Joy Smith, isn't just happening somewhere else.

    "Human trafficking is alive and well in Canada," said Smith. "The way it can stop is for the public to be aware."

    Smith never intended to make human trafficking a centre-point of her political career. But then she heard the stories her police-officer son told about his work with the integrated child exploitation unit in Manitoba. And the 61-year-old mother of six felt compelled to do something.

    "I've been quietly working on the issue," said Smith. "It's become my life's passion."

    She has introduced several motions in Parliament, and despite being turned down the first time, eventually convinced the Status of Women committee in Parliament to study the issue in depth. "I shamed them into doing it," said Smith.

    She has become an internationally recognized advocate on the issue, speaking at conferences all over the world, including this week as keynote speaker at a conference in Montreal.

    That same conference -- the third annual hosted by the Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal -- honoured her with an award recognizing her efforts.

    Why she's speaking out, says Smith, is easy.

    "Our greatest weapon here is awareness," she said.

    In Canada, most of the victims come from broken homes and a disproportionate number are aboriginal. Vulnerable young girls, either on reserve or off, are targeted by adults who see the sex trade as a way to make an easy buck.

    Smith said she has worked with a young girl from Winnipeg who thought she had won a beauty pageant. But when she went to Milan to claim her modelling prize, her passport was seized and she was forced to work as a prostitute to pay off a "debt" to get them back.

    She eventually got out and came back to Canada, said Smith.

    But often these kids aren't being hidden in cages and ferried secretly across borders. They are being sold right on the streets of our own cities, and most people dismiss them as kids who made some bad choices in life.

    "The public still thinks people choose to get into prostitution," said Diana Bussey, of the Salvation Army in Winnipeg who heads up the organization's anti-trafficking initiatives.

    Bussey is part of a growing sector of non-governmental organizations who want to get people to think of domestic prostitution as human trafficking, because most people abhor the latter but seem to tolerate the former without much thought.

    With the poverty and addictions which run rampant on many First Nations, and in inner cities across Canada, traffickers looking for vulnerable kids don't have to go abroad to find their targets, said Benjamin Perrin, a law professor at the University of British Columbia who has launched a three-year research project on the domestic side of human trafficking.

    "Unfortunately because of the situation on many First Nations reserves we know there have been serious concerns about women who have gone missing.

    It's just not clear what has happened to them and one of the concerns that is being looked into is that these women have been forced into prostitution." Perrin said people think if girls are on the streets on their own, and aren't being kept in locked rooms, then they must be choosing to be there, but that's seldom the case.

    "Traffickers are able to keep people compliant without physically restraining them," said Perrin.

    A young girl from a First Nation will be threatened that her community will be told what she has done if she doesn't comply, said Perrin. They are beaten and drugged and abused until they don't even remember how they got there in the first place.

    Smith said she is starting to see signs of action.

    A report generated by the Status of Women was accepted by Parliament and is being used to tailor new legislation to target the industry.

    "It's a shocking thing in Canada that the slave trade is alive and well," she said. "But human trafficking has been under the public radar screen for too long."

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     April 02, 2008 7:47 PM

    Tell Congress to stop US military support to countries using child soldiers.

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     March 29, 2008 10:16 PM


    New York, Mar 25 2008  5:00PM
    As the United Nations honoured the memory of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the hope today that the struggle against “one of the greatest atrocities in history” will inspire the world in the battle against modern forms of slavery such as forced labour and human trafficking.

    “Even as we mourn the atrocities committed against the countless victims, we take heart from the courage of slaves who rose up to overcome the system which oppressed them,” Mr. Ban said at a special ceremony at UN Headquarters marking the first International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

    “These brave individuals, and the abolitionist movements they inspired, should serve as an example to us all as we continue to battle the contemporary forms of slavery that stain our world today,” the Secretary-General <"">told those gathered at the event, which included performances by African drummers, dancers and poets and a steel pan troupe from the Caribbean.

    Mr. Ban noted that even today, millions around the world, including children, are suffering under the yoke of racism, forced labour, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

    Not only is the world shamed by these horrible crimes but it is also challenged to respond, he said.  “Let us honour the victims of the slave trade by remembering their struggle. Let us carry it forward until no person is deprived of liberty, dignity and human rights.”

    In his <"">message marking the Day of Remembrance, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim noted that it provides an opportunity to acknowledge a “rofoundly shameful” period in history and to remember the millions who suffered.  “It also gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to the courage and moral conviction of all those who campaigned for abolition,” he added.

    It was the Assembly that, in December 2007, adopted a resolution designating 25 March as an annual day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It also decided to erect a permanent memorial at the UN to acknowledge the tragedy and consider the legacy of slavery.

    Echoing the Secretary-General, Mr. Kerim emphasized that, while coming to terms with past injustices, it is also important to recognise the “unspeakable cruelty” that persists today in the various modern forms of slavery such as bonded labour and slavery by descent, forced recruitment of child labour and child soldiers, human trafficking and the illegal sex trade.

    “If we sincerely want to honour the suffering that slaves experienced and died under in the past, we must do much more to protect and promote the human rights, freedom and dignity of all people, in particularly, those who continue to suffer under modern forms of slavery,” the President stated.

    To address the serious threat posed by human trafficking, Mr. Kerim said he intends to convene a special meeting of the Assembly on the issue on 3 June.

    Among those participating at the commemoration was the artist and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, who stated that “slavery is still with us and it has been codified and it has been driven underground because the symbols that once identified slavery have long since gone.

    “But although slavery still exists, it now comes under new codifications,” Mr. Belafonte said at a press briefing on the issue, citing practices such as child prostitution and recruitment of children for armed conflict, as well as the economic exploitation of millions of the world’s poor.

    “There are all sorts of names for it. And people in their indifference, or in their participation in the process, has continued to cause great harm to the human family,” he added.

    In addition to today’s ceremony, the UN is hosting a series of events to mark the Day of Remembrance, including an exhibit entitled “The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo” and a student videoconference on 28 March with students in Sierra Leone, Norway, St. Lucia, Canada, Cape Verde, United Kingdom and UN Headquarters in New York.

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     February 23, 2008 1:58 AM

    India: International Trade Union Movement to organise an international conference on Child labour
    Brussels, 20 February 2008 (ITUC Online): The international trade union movement, through the Council of Global Unions, is holding a major international trade union conference for child rights organisers and campaigners on 21and 22 February in New Delhi. The Conference, to be opened by Oscar Fernandez, Minister of Labour, will address important issues including the role of trade unions in the elimination of child labour or the development of strategies to ensure all children take part in quality education.   Prior to the Conference, participants will visit education projects for former child labourers run by Indian trade unions and supported by the Building and Wood Workers’ International, the key organiser of the meeting.
    The conference brings together key political, trade union and social figures from India and other Asian countries, along with representatives from the regional and international trade union movement. The Conference will deal with developing and implementing political and trade union strategies regarding child labour, recognition of trade unions as partners for sector-based child labour eradication programs, and reinforcing international trade union cooperation, including with other civil society organisations, on child labour.
    Child Labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. According the International Labour Organization (ILO) 246 million children are engaged in child labour throughout the world while India has the highest number of child workers.
    Trade unions have historically led the fight against the exploitation of children, through direct action to stop exploitation of children and ensure decent wages and working conditions for adults, thus reducing the likelihood that children will end up working.  At the international level, unions have played a central role in the development of International Labour Organisation Conventions on the issue, as well as campaigning for governments to ratify and implement these standards.  Unions are also heavily involved in international and national action to ensure Education for All.
    “Tens of millions of children at work instead of at school” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “Governments must show the political will to invest in quality education for all children, and make sure that child labour laws are strong and are fully implemented”, he added.

    The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates. Website: <>   
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     February 16, 2008 10:36 PM


    New York, Feb 14 2008  5:00PM
    As couples celebrated Valentine’s Day around the world with gifts of chocolate and cut flowers, participants at a United Nations forum in Vienna on human trafficking today worked to raise awareness of how the problem is tied to these commodities.

    Behind the romantic gestures of roses and chocolate “is often a chain of trafficked human beings delivering disposable commodities to affluent consumers. Many are children toiling in inhumane conditions or women trapped in near-slavery,” the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (<"">UNODC) said in a news release issued in conjunction with the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking.

    Conference participants wore upturned heart lapel badges called the “upset heart” as a sign of solidarity with the victims. Their aim was to raise consciousness and affect the buying decisions of consumers just as the “blood diamond” and Fair Trade certifications have fostered ethical choices on diamonds. The campaign was also the subject of a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York this week.

    “Take exploitation out of your bottom line,” said UNODC Antonio Maria Costa in his opening speech to the Vienna Forum yesterday. “Make sure that the supply chain is not tainted by blood, sweat and tears of modern slaves.”

    “On this Valentine’s Day, spare a thought for those whose lives have been turned upside down by human trafficking,” he said.

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     February 16, 2008 9:37 PM


    New York, Feb 13 2008  6:00PM
    Policy makers and celebrities today joined their voices in calling for action against human trafficking, as the first-ever global United Nations forum on the problem opened in Vienna.

    Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (<"">UNODC), and the pop star Ricky Martin received a petition from the group “Stop the Traffik” signed by 1.5 million persons calling for action on the issue.

    Mr. Costa <"">accused law enforcement authorities around the world of demonstrating “benign neglect” and appealed for coordinated action to fight the “monster” of human trafficking.

    He said efforts to carry out the provisions of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons have been disjointed, with “victims often prosecuted for their illegal status; interdiction operations limited; few arrests, with inadequate retribution.”

    He said the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT), launched to facilitate implementation of the Protocol, has begun a process of collecting scientific evidence about the extent of this crime while building up profiles of traffickers and their networks. It is also working on enhancing witness protection. In addition, measures are being taken to examine the causes of victims' vulnerability and to strengthen prevention.

    Mr. Costa described some “uncomfortable truths” about the problem, which can involve children in conflicts, girls sold by their family into brothels, women enslaved into sex parlours, men in bondage “in southern plantations or northern sweat shops” and kids enslaved to beg in Europe and North America. Children are also sometimes forced to use “their nimble fingers to produce luxury goods.”

    He urged all segments of society to join forces against the scourge, while calling for contributions to the UN account to fight human trafficking.

    But Mr. Costa cautioned that “money and goodwill are not enough; we need concrete actions that will reduce vulnerability and make this crime a riskier business.” Toward that end, he said the Forum must adopt practical measures that will stop traffickers and help victims.

    A chorus of voices joined Mr. Costa in decrying the problem.  “Human trafficking is a vicious violation of human rights; it has no place in our world and I beg you to act now,” said the Grammy Award-winning Mr. Martin.

    Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of Egypt and President of her eponymous International Peace Movement, also decried the problem, calling human trafficking “a pervasive cancer.”

    “We simply cannot tolerate human beings being bought, sold and hired like commodities,” Ursula Plassnik, Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria. “Each and every one of us is being called upon to act.”

    Emma Thompson, Oscar-winning actress and Chair of the Helen Bamber Foundation, who yesterday opened an art installation in Vienna mapping the journey of a trafficking victim, told the Forum the harrowing story of a Moldovan woman who was trafficked to the United Kingdom and forced to work as a prostitute.

    The Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking is bringing together 1,200 experts, legislators, law enforcement teams, business leaders, NGO representatives and trafficking victims from 116 countries.

    In a related development, UNODC today launched a manual aimed at helping countries develop comprehensive programmes for the protection of victims and witnesses of crime.
    Witness protection programmes are considered a key tool in the dismantling of human trafficking networks as well as combating other forms of organized crime.

    The manual, <i>Good Practices in the Protection of Witnesses in Criminal Proceedings Involving Organized Crime</i>, calls for early identification of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses; management of witnesses by the police; protection of witness identity during court testimony; and, if necessary, permanent relocation and re-identification.

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     February 16, 2008 8:57 PM


    New York, Feb 12 2008  5:00PM
    The United Nations this week will convene the first global forum against human trafficking in Vienna, where some 1,200 experts, legislators, law enforcement teams, business leaders, non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives and trafficking victims are expected to launch an international campaign to combat the crime.

    “The blood, sweat and tears of trafficking victims are on the hands of consumers all over the world,” said the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (<"">UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, ahead of the 13-15 February forum, explaining that the problem is so widespread within the global economic system that all share complicity.

    Because of the lack of information about human trafficking, Mr. Costa called it “a monster whose shape, size and ferocity we can only guess.”

    But experts agree that the scourge accompanies other unlawful activities, like illegal migration, forced labour, paedophilia, child exploitation, civil conflicts and organized prostitution.

    “It’s time for the world to open its eyes to this form of modern slavery,” the UNODC chief declared.

    However, he cautioned against empty platitudes. “Moral outrage is not going to stop the traffickers; we need high impact law enforcement measures to make human trafficking a riskier business.”

    Forum participants will discuss practical measures to increase the effectiveness of preventing human trafficking and bringing the perpetrators to justice. Measures under consideration include tracking and blocking Internet payments for human trafficking transactions; innovative technology to pinpoint frequently used trafficking routes; help-lines to report suspected child prostitution or sex slavery; codes of conduct to curb sex tourism; improved controls on supply chain management; and efforts to stop the forced removal and trade of human organs.

    Mr. Costa pointed out that global campaigns have been waged against the trade in blood diamonds, fur, and illegal timber, while efforts to stop the trade in people “lag behind.”

    In addition to experts and other officials, the forum has attracted the participation of celebrities and public figures, including Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of Egypt; Emma Thompson, the Oscar-winning British actress; and Ricky Martin, the Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican pop star.

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     February 16, 2008 7:41 PM


    New York, Feb 12 2008  8:00PM
    The Security Council must “take concrete and targeted measures” against those parties that persistently use or abuse children during armed conflicts around the world, the United Nations envoy on the issue said today, urging that well-meaning words be transformed into effective actions.

    Addressing the Council during a day-long <"">open debate, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy noted the ongoing impunity for those persistent violators that use or abuse children during wars.

    From the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Myanmar and from Sri Lanka to Uganda, parties to armed conflicts kill, maim, abduct or sexually assault children; deny humanitarian access to children in need; and recruit and use child soldiers. In total, at least 58 parties are known to be offenders.

    Ms. Coomaraswamy called for the establishment of a mechanism by the 15-member Council to review and oversee targeted measures against violators to end their impunity.

    “It is most important that the Council make good on its promise in order to ensure the credibility of this exercise,” she said. “The targeted measures could include the imposition of travel restrictions on leaders and their exclusion from any governance structures and amnesty provisions, the imposition of arms embargoes, a ban on military assistance, and restriction on the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned.”

    While acknowledging that some parties have made important commitments in peace accords and action plans to stop recruiting child soldiers, the Special Representative warned that in some regional conflicts – such as those in the Great Lakes and Horn regions of Africa – cross-border recruitment from refugee camps is surging.

    The detention of children for alleged association with armed groups is also worrying and a violation of international standards, she said, noting that many detained children face ill-treatment, torture, interrogations and food deprivation.

    In addition, systematic and deliberate attacks against schoolchildren are escalating in numerous conflicts, particularly Afghanistan, while in the DRC and Burundi “appalling levels of sexual and gender-based violence” are occurring.

    UN Children’s Fund (<"">UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman told the Council debate that it was possible to reintegrate children used by armed forces and groups, especially once they are given the necessary skills and assistance to become productive members of their communities.

    “Yet reintegration is a difficult and long-term process requiring patience and long-term commitment,” Ms. Veneman said, adding that UNICEF is already working in several countries – notably the Central African Republic (CAR), Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan – to reintegrate children.

    She also highlighted the particular vulnerability of girls and women during armed conflicts because of sexual violence.

    “Allow me to share with you one story as told by a 14-year-old girl in Liberia. She said: ‘The attackers tied me up and raped me because I was fighting. About five of them did the same thing to me until one of their commanders who knew my father came and stopped them, but also took me to make me his wife. I just accepted him because of fear.’ We need to put an end to the abuse, the rapes and the sexual violence.”

    Representatives of dozens of countries then addressed the Council during today’s debate, which follows the recent release of a UN report stating that children are still recruited and used in armed conflicts in at least 13 nations worldwide. They are Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, the CAR, Colombia, the DRC, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

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     February 16, 2008 5:30 PM


    New York, Feb 16 2008  1:00PM
    The head of the United Nations anti-crime agency has urged governments, businesses and civil society to boost their efforts to combat human trafficking, including by increasing awareness of the problem and providing greater resources to tackle it. "Let us build on the momentum generated here to ensure that people's lives will not be for sale," Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (<>UNODC), said yesterday at the end of the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking. The three-day gathering brought together 1,400 experts, legislators, law enforcement teams, business leaders, non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives and trafficking victims from 116 countries. The conference also drew the participation of celebrities and public figures such as Egypt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, Academy Award-winning British actress Emma Thompson, and international pop star Ricky Martin, who joined the outcry against the global scourge. Calling the Forum "just the beginning of a process," Mr. Costa called for practical measures to prevent trafficking, such as self-certification by businesses to take slave-made products off the shelves and developing new technology to monitor human trafficking routes. He also proposed the tracking and blocking of credit card payments for internet human trafficking transactions and codes of conduct to curb sex tourism. Stressing the need to strengthen partnerships among governments, businesses and civil society in the fight against trafficking, the Executive Director hailed the launch during the Forum of the Women Leaders' Council.  The group brings together political figures, diplomats, trade union representatives, business leaders and entertainers from around the world to work together to tackle the problem and help the victims. The Forum was convened by the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT), an initiative launched by UNODC and several UN partners last year to bring governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and the media together to combat a practice that is viewed as modern-day slavery.

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     February 08, 2008 10:02 PM

    opps, sorry wrong link for child soldiers in armed conflicts, here is the right link.

     [ send green star]
     February 08, 2008 9:57 PM

    here is a great website on Children in Armed Conflicts/ Child Soldiers.

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     February 06, 2008 8:24 PM


    New York, Feb  6 2008  2:00PM
    A new exhibit using transport containers to illustrate the brutal experiences of women sold into the sex trade will be featured next week at a United Nations forum focusing on the global billion-dollar human trafficking industry.

    According to UN estimates, about 2.5 million people from 127 countries have been trafficked to 137 countries for purposes such as forced labour, sexual exploitation, the removal of organs and body parts, forced marriages, child adoption and begging.

    "The Journey against Sex Trafficking" is an interactive exhibit based on the experiences of young women who leave their homes in search of a better life only to find themselves tricked or forced by traffickers to work in the sex industry.

    "The aim of Journey is to show visitors the reality of human trafficking - a crime that happens every day, all around the world - and to encourage the public, politicians and especially consumers to take action," the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (<"">UNODC) said in a news release.

    The brainchild of Academy Award-winning British actress Emma Thompson, the exhibit features seven containers, individually designed by leading artists, showing a different stage in the trafficking process.

    The exhibit will be on display at the 13 to 15 February Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking - part of the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) - which will bring together more than 1,000 participants from international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, academia, the private sector and the entertainment industry to raise awareness about human trafficking and spur further action to combat the crime.

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     February 02, 2008 10:34 PM


    New York, Jan 30 2008  4:00PM
    While precise estimates are difficult to come by, some 250,000 to 300,000 children globally are being recruited to fight in armed conflicts in violation of international law, a United Nations official said today, reporting mixed progress in efforts to tackle the problem.

    Briefing reporters in New York on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest <"report" target="new894425637">">report on children and armed conflict, his Special Representative on the issue, Radhika Coomaraswamy, voiced hope that the Security Council would take decisive action in response to its findings.

    Children are being recruited by groups in Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, the Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Uganda, according to the report.

    But there have been no recent cases of child recruitment in Côte d’Ivoire, where the parties are taking measures to identify and release affected children for rehabilitation. Sierra Leone and Liberia, which used to have a prevalence of child soldiers, are also no longer contained in the report’s annexes, which Ms. Coomaraswamy said collectively amount to a “list of shame.”

    The report draws attention to disturbing trends exacerbating the problem of child conscription, including a close link between camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the recruitment of children. “Research shows recruitment goes down if the camps have good security,” the Special Representative said.

    She also voiced concern about cross-border movements with regard to child recruitment in places such as Sudan and Chad, as well as the detention of children in Burundi, Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, she called attacks on schools, buildings and teachers a “serious new phenomenon” affecting Afghanistan, Iraq and Thailand.

    The Special Rapporteur welcomed legal precedents for ending impunity, including the issue of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for five senior members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) operating in Uganda. The rebel group is notorious for recruiting and otherwise exploiting children.

    Ms. Coomaraswamy said she will push for action in the Security Council, which is expected to discuss the report on children and armed conflict on 12 February. She said the Council should adopt “either a resolution or presidential statement” on the issue. Among other measures, she called for expanding the “list of shame” to include groups responsible for all manner of violations against children, or at least sexual violence.

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     February 02, 2008 10:14 PM

    Child recruitment continues in over one dozen countries, reports Ban Ki-moon – (29 January 2008)

    The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is taking place in more than one dozen countries around the world, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states in a new report, calling for further measures to combat the scourge.

    The practice continues in Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Uganda, Mr. Ban notes in his latest report on children and armed conflict, covering the period from October 2006 to August 2007.

    On the positive side, he reports that no new cases of child recruitment have been recorded during that period in Côte d’Ivoire. The parties to the conflict there have not only ceased recruitment but have taken measures to identify and release children associated with them for rehabilitation, Mr. Ban writes.

    Regarding specific issues of concern, the Secretary-General points to the close link between child recruitment and internal displacement, noting that the lack of security around refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) camps and the “convenient concentration of vulnerable children” make these camps “prime recruiting grounds.”

    There have been reports that the Karuna faction have abducted and recruited children from IDP camps in Sri Lanka, while in the DRC, children have been recruited from camps in North Kivu Province by forces loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

    In addition, the Secretary-General notes that girls, and sometimes boys, are targeted with various forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, during armed conflicts. For example, 60 per cent of cases of sexual and gender-based violence recorded in Kisangani, in northern DRC, involved victims between the ages of 11 and 17.

    “It is imperative that perpetrators of acts of rape and other sexual violence which leave a long-term, devastating impact on the victims are prosecuted in accordance with the gravity of such crimes,” Mr. Ban writes.

    The report also sounds the alarm about armed groups moving across borders to recruit children from refugee camps, especially along the Sudan-Chad border. Both Sudanese and Chadian armed groups are recruiting children from Sudanese refugee camps in eastern Chad, while Chadian refugee children are being recruited by Sudanese rebel groups in Darfur.

    Another concern is the escalation in “systematic and deliberate attacks on schoolchildren, teachers and school buildings” in certain conflict situations, including Afghanistan and Iraq, which warrants increased attention and action by the global community, the Secretary-General states.

    Mr. Ban says the Security Council should consider a range of measures, including bans on military aid and travel restrictions on leaders, targeting parties to armed conflict who continue to systematically commit grave violations against children.

    He also encourages the Council to refer violations against children in armed conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this regard, he points to “important precedents” set to end impunity for crimes against children. The Court has issued arrest warrants for five senior members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), including its leader, Joseph Kony, who faces charges including the forcible enlistment and use of children in hostilities.

    The Secretary-General says the sentencing by the Special Court for Sierra Leone of three men and the conviction of a fourth for the recruitment and use of child soldiers “send an important message that such crimes against children will not be tolerated and that those who engage in the practice will be brought to justice.”

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    Human Trafficking, Slavery, Child Labour and Sweatshops Articles and Links January 30, 2008 8:51 PM

    ITUC and ETUC Welcome European Convention Against Human Trafficking
    Brussels, 30 January 2008 (ITUC Online). The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) have welcomed the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.  The Convention becomes legally binding on the first ten countries to have ratified it (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Georgia, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia), on 1 February, with Bosnia-Herzegovina, France and Norway following on 1 May.  Most European countries have taken the first steps to ratify the Convention, with the UK having already announced its intention to complete the ratification by the end of 2008.

    “Human trafficking is an appalling reality which exists in much of Europe.  Putting this Convention into place, alongside the relevant International Labour Organisation Conventions, will help ensure that Europe plays its part in tackling this worldwide scourge. It is the first legally binding European instrument on this issue”, said John Monks, General Secretary of the ETUC and of the ITUC’s Pan-European Regional Council (PERC).  

    Trade union organisations throughout Europe are active in the fight against human trafficking, and will form part of a Global Trade Union Alliance to combat forced labour and human trafficking.  The alliance is being established by the ITUC with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).  The ILO estimates that some 2.45 million people, most of them women and children, are victims of trafficking around the world.  Around 43% of the total are trapped in commercial sexual exploitation, while around one-third are exploited in agriculture, sweatshops and private households.

    “We are encouraging our member organisations in Europe to push their governments to ratify this Convention and to make sure it is fully enforced.  The criminal gangs and the recruiters who organise this trade in human beings must be stopped and punished, and the factors which make people vulnerable to this exploitation must be dealt with”, said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

    The Council of Europe is a pan-European organisation with 47 member states.  The PERC, which has the same geographical coverage, will be seeking cooperation with the Council to promote and implement the Convention, as is already the case with the revised European Social Charter.

    “Our global alliance against forced labour and trafficking will mobilise increased trade union action around the world against this form of modern-day slavery”, said Ryder.

    The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.
    For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.

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