CONSIDER FOR GIRLS AT RISK OF SALE & SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN NATURAL DISASTERS
Link to Full 24-Page Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, & Child Pornography:
Special Rapporteur Website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx
PROTECTING CHILDREN AT RISK OF SALE &
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN NATURAL DISASTERS
GENEVA (8 March 2012) – “Children’s vulnerability is significantly increased when they are separated from their families, unaccompanied, orphaned or displaced following humanitarian crisis,” warned the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid.
“Despite the many actors providing emergency response, children continue to be at the mercy of those seeking profit from the chaos and are put at risk of sale -for the purposes of illegal adoption and forced labour for example- and sexual exploitation,” Ms. Maalla M’jid stated in her report* to the Human Rights Council on the protection of children from sale and sexual exploitation following humanitarian crisis due to natural disasters.
“A lack of coordination and clear allocation of roles and responsibilities of multiple international and local responders in times of natural disasters paved the way for confusion, unnecessary duplication of efforts and significant protection gaps,” the independent expert stressed.
Ms. Maalla M’jid noted that, although it is acknowledged that children are the most vulnerable in these situations, the actual scope of the sale - for the purposes of illegal adoption and forced labour for example - is difficult to determine due to the absence of reliable information systems and to the illegal and clandestine nature of these activities. “The patent lack of funds allocated to child protection seriously hinder the implementation of programmes, inter-institution initiatives and standards developed,” said the expert.
To effectively protect children, the expert urged governments to implement national coordination mechanisms, and register all children at birth and in institutions in order to facilitate tracing and identification, as well as giving priority to family members for adoption of children. She also recommended adopting agreements to cooperate with other States and organizations in cases of natural disaster.
“The international community should ensure that sufficient funds are allocated for the protection of children in all phases of natural disasters but also in prevention and risk reduction initiatives,” the UN Special Rapporteur underscored.
(*) Check the full report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-63_en.pdf
Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid (Morocco) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the sale of children in May 2008. She is independent from any government or organization. Ms. Maalla M’jid is paediatrician and member of the Commission on the Rights of the Child of the Moroccan National Consultative Council on Human Rights, and the founder of the non-governmental organization BAYTI, the first programme addressing the situation of children living in the street in Morocco. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx