Children without parental care, living in poverty, and those in high risk environments such as war affected regions, are all highly vulnerable to trafficking. Conflict and post conflict environments pose the greatest risk to children since the breakdown in family and social systems, the increase in poverty, and large numbers of troops present, are all factors which make sexual and economic exploitation of children more common.
Prevention is crucial to reduce the incidence of children affected and includes the registering of all displaced children, and their temporary care until verification and family reunification activities can take place. All children, caretakers, and communities should be educated on the risks to children and protective steps to ensure children do not become separated and exposed to abuse and exploitation. Where possible, unaccompanied children should be placed in regulated and protective family environments such as kinship or foster care.
Governments, the police, border controls, teachers, and all organizations responsible for protection must work together to prevent trafficking, identify those children at risk, advocate for their safety, and prosecute those responsible. This includes awareness raising for communities, institutions, and personnel working with vulnerable groups, such as armed forces, peacekeepers, and humanitarian workers.
Support services for children who have been trafficked should include medical, psychosocial, family reunification, and legal elements, to facilitate the reintegration of the child into the community and to enable educational and economic opportunities which are in the child’s best interests.
This section of documents examines the nature of trafficking in more detail, and includes policy and practical information to prevent and respond to child exploitation.