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Position Papers - UNICEF

Australia

Committee: United Nations Children’s Fund
Topic: Child Trafficking
Country: The Commonwealth of Australia
Delegate: Katelyn Bird, Center Grove High School

UNICEF Australia has, since the early 1970s, protected the rights of children and raised funds to support UNICEF’s work for children worldwide. UNICEF Australia has pioneered a number of programs that have subsequently been echoed globally. Most notable of these is Change for Good®, a partnership between UNICEF and the international airline industry. Travellers are offered an easy way to help the world’s children by donating unwanted currency to UNICEF aboard their flights. To date, Change for Good® has raised nearly US$5.85 million since it launched in 1991. Likewise, Global Parent monthly giving program, established 2002, offers a way to help many children in the developing world by ensuring health, education, equality, and protection. Parliamentary Association, started in 1987, brings together federal parliamentarians in support of UNICEF’s mission and encourages Government to give women and children a high priority in its overseas aid program.

Australia realises that governments (and armed groups) that recruit children into their military ranks are, in effect, creating a ticking time bomb that will threaten stability and maturation on a global scale. About 300,000 children are currently engaged in armed conflict, predominately in Africa. Girls, abducted to serve as domestic slaves, are repeatedly abused sexually and are occasionally compelled to fight. These young combatants, boys and girls, if not rehabilitated, are at the greatest risk of becoming adult mercenaries. Although rehabilitation proves often an impossible dream, the only alternative reinitiates the cyclical tragedy of civil war in Africa and is simply unacceptable.

While the primary responsibility for ending conflict and removing children from the battlefield lies within the state, Australia believes that international pressure is essential. Those discovered perpetrating international law by recruiting child soldiers should be persecuted to the fullest extent. The international community is simultaneously responsible for rehabilitating and reintroducing former child soldiers into society because African countries often lack necessary funding and resources to perform such an impossible dream single-handedly.

Child Trafficking is often using children for cheap labour or even sexual exploitation. Most often the dangers are not even recognised by the children’s families. The families only think the children, by working, are bettering their lives with better employment. This is by no means the truth; this is an extremely dangerous activity. It is more often than not linked to criminal activity and corruption. It is a difficult subject to address and is usually hidden well. No matter when, where, or how many times this heinous act is performed, it is always a violation of children’s right to grow in family environment. These children are subject to violence and sexual abuse; as opposed to a tender, loving family. On some occasions the children who have been trafficked are arrested and placed under detainment as an illegal alien.

Doing studies and starting programs to crack down on the trafficking of not only children but women as well. In Guatemala alone, UNICEF estimates around 1,000 to 1,500 babies and children are trafficked for adoption to North American and European couples a year. UNICEF has also noted that girls as young as thirteen are trafficked as “mail-order brides.” UNICEF also noticed that a large number of African children, 90% girls, are trafficked for domestic work and sexual exploitation, and also to work in shops or farms. UNICEF also has also documented that sexual exploitation is typically seen as a private matter, making some communities reluctant to intervene in such cases.

Australia is playing an enormous part in attempting to stop child trafficking and exploitation. Australia is aiming to educate potential victims of the early warning signs traffickers give off. Thus, helping police to apprehend and charge traffickers successfully. Australia is also aiming to improve the abilities of organisations that help victims, mainly being women. This will be done mostly through policy, legal, administrative, and advocacy measures. All information reported from AusAID.

An ongoing activity aimed at prevented child and persons trafficking, started in 2006 is Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project (ARTIP.) This is a contribution of $21 million to prevent human trafficking in the Asia Region. The main focus is a more affective approach by the criminal justice systems of governments in the Asia Region. ARTIP has three core components: better specialist and general law enforcement responses, bettered judicial and prosecutorial responses, as well as improved policy, legal, research and outreach capacity. This will build on the achievements of the Asia Regional Co-operation to Prevent People Trafficking Project. Another completed activity is IOM Return & Reintegration of Trafficked Women and Children, which spent $665,000.

Australia is also running many other ongoing programs to prevent child and person trafficking. Some of which are Return and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims from Australia to Thailand (Thai Returnees Project), which contributed $327,000 from 2006-2008. Another is UNICEF’s Sixth Country Program for Children (CPC VI) in the Philippines- Children in Need of Special Protection Component, contributing $2.3 million from 2005-2009. As well as, Child Wise: Preventing the Sexual Exploitation of Children in ASEAN Tourism Destinations through Community and Professional Education, which contributed $690,000 from 2004-2007. The Australia-China Human Rights Technical Co-operation Program (HRTC) which is contributing over $8 million from 1997 and is ongoing. Also, South Asia Government Fund, which contributed $285,240 to trafficking -related activities in 2006 and 2007. Australia clearly has a strong opposition to child trafficking and is willing to help in a variety of ways to stop this illegal activity.

 

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