People's Stories Justice

Children are not, and must never be the target of violence
by Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack
August 15, 2018
A suicide bombing in Kabul on Wednesday killed at least 34 teenagers studying for university entrance exams at an educational center. Both boys and girl students were studying at the center at the time. One witness told Reuters news agency that the scene at the school was "horrific."
The Afghan Ministry of Public Health reported the deaths of 34 students from the terorist attack in the classroom at the Mawoud Academy. The explosion happened at about 4.10pm local time while students were in class. At least 56 were also wounded. Over 100 students were believed to have been in the classroom at the time of the explosion.
Desperate relatives of victims gathered outside the academy waiting for information, while many more went to Istiqlal Hospital – where most of the victims were taken.
Family members voiced their anger over the security situation and said the government should have provided better security to protect the school. Authorities believe the IS/Daesh terror group was most likely responsible.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement: "The terrorists are targeting educational institutions, showing that they are against the teachings of Islam and the Prophet encouraging all Muslims, men and women, to seek knowledge and learning".
UNICEF statement on violence against children in Afghanistan.
“UNICEF is gravely concerned about the growing violence across Afghanistan, where children continue to be the hardest hit.
“Today''s direct attack on a classroom in Kabul, which killed or critically injured dozens of children aged between the ages of 16 and 18, is deplorable.. This violence must stop''.
UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to adhere to and respect humanitarian principles, and ensure the safety and protection of all children. Children are not, and must never be the target of violence.”

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Every year, millions of children, women and men fall into the hands of human traffickers
by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, agencies
Every year, millions of children, women and men fall into the hands of traffickers, lured by fake promises and deceit. Human trafficking has become a global multi-billion-dollar enterprise, affecting nearly every country in the world.
Today, there are millions of people whose liberty, dignity and essential human rights have been stolen. They are coerced into sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging and stealing, and even compelled to "sell" skin and organs.
On the 2018 World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is focusing on ''responding to the trafficking of children and young people''. This year''s campaign highlights the fact that almost a third of trafficking victims are children. The focus draws attention to the issues faced by trafficked children and to initiatives linked to safeguarding and ensuring justice for child victims.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General’s Message:
Trafficking in persons is a vile crime that feeds on inequalities, instability and conflict. Human traffickers profit from peoples’ hopes and despair. They prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights.
Children and young people, migrants and refugees are especially susceptible. Women and girls are targeted again and again. We see brutal sexual exploitation, including involuntary prostitution, forced marriage and sexual slavery. We see the appalling trade in human organs.
Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change.
The rights of victims must come first — be they the victims of traffickers, smugglers, or of modern forms of slavery or exploitation.
On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us come together around the key issues of prevention, protection and prosecution to build a future where this crime comes to an end.
July 2018
Children account for nearly one-third of identified trafficking victims globally - UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking urge Governments to adopt solutions shown to protect uprooted children.
Approximately 28 per cent of identified victims of trafficking globally are children, UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking (ICAT) said today on the eve of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Across regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, children account for an even higher proportion of identified trafficking victims, at 64 and 62 per cent respectively.
UNICEF and ICAT believe the number of children who fall victim to trafficking is higher than current data suggests. The reality is that children are infrequently identified as victims of trafficking. Few come forward for fear of their traffickers, lack of information about their options, mistrust of authorities, fear of stigma or the likelihood of being returned without any safeguards and limited material support.
Refugee, migrant and displaced children are especially vulnerable to trafficking. Whether they are escaping war and violence or pursuing better education and livelihood opportunities, too few children find pathways to move regularly and safely with their families. This increases the likelihood that children and their family members will turn to irregular and more dangerous routes, or that children will move on their own, leaving them more vulnerable to violence, abuse, and exploitation by traffickers.
“Trafficking is a very real threat to millions of children around the world, especially to those who have been driven from their homes and communities without adequate protection,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “These children urgently need governments to step up and put measures in place to keep them safe.”
In many contexts, there is a lack of sustainable solutions for child victims of trafficking – including long-term assistance, rehabilitation, and protection. Many child protection systems remain under-resourced, and there is an acute lack of guardianship and other alternative care arrangements. Children are often placed in inadequate shelters, where they risk further traumatization and re-victimization. Trafficked boys can face additional challenges, as gender stereotypes can prevent them from getting or seeking the help they need, while girls may also be at risk of further exploitation and abuse due to gender discrimination and gendered poverty.
The UN children’s agency and ICAT continue to call for the implementation of government policies and cross-border solutions to keep these children safe, including:
* Expanding safe and legal pathways for children to move with their families, including by accelerating refugee status determinations and addressing obstacles in law and practice that prevent children from reuniting with their families;
* Strengthening child and social protection systems to prevent, identify, refer, and address cases of trafficking, violence, abuse, and exploitation against children and respond to children with specific needs based on age and gender;
* Ensuring that sustainable solutions are guided by an individual assessment of the child’s case and best interests determination (BID), regardless of the child’s status, and that the child participates in this process to a degree appropriate to her / his age and maturity;
* Improving cross-border collaboration and knowledge exchange between and among border control, law enforcement and child protection authorities, and implement faster family tracing and reunification procedures and alternative care arrangements for children deprived of parental care.
* Avoiding measures which may push children to choose riskier routes and to move alone to avoid detection by law enforcement.
July 2018
Ahead of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Monday, the UN human rights expert on the issue has emphasized that both victims and potential victims’ rights must be upheld – especially women and children – and appealed for all States to prevent and combat the global scourge.
Many of those falling prey to traffickers are migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers who have left their country of origin for various reasons; including conflict, natural disaster, persecution or extreme poverty.
“They have left behind their social protection network, and are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation,” said Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, in a statement marking the Day.
Ms. Giammarinaro observed that in the current “poisonous anti-migration political atmosphere,” migrants are often targeted as a threat, while in fact they are a net-gain for host countries where they live and work.
Against that backdrop, the UN expert stressed that anti-trafficking discourse is often misused “to justify restrictive migration policies and push-back activities.”
“Taking a stand against xenophobic and racist approaches, as well as violence, hatred and discrimination, is a moral duty which is in everyone’s power,” she underscored.
Calling it “a gross human rights violation,” Ms. Giammarinaro argued that States have an obligation to prevent trafficking.
Turning to the Global Migration Compact, the UN expert asserted that in addition to international protection schemes, States should establish individualized approaches to gauge migrants’ vulnerabilities, and provide them with tailored protections.
“In many countries, human rights activists and civil society organizations have been criminalized and ostracized for acting in solidarity with migrants and victims, and potential victims of trafficking,” she flagged.
Dismissing as “unacceptable” any attempt to delegitimize their humanitarian work, Ms. Giammarinaro said that civil society organizations globally play “a pivotal role” in saving lives.
Non-governmental organizations are also important in identifying trafficking victims, which according to the UN expert is “essential for ensuring access to protection and rehabilitation for victims, and should be prioritized, including during large mixed migration movements.”
“On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, my message is that, even in difficult times, inclusion, not exclusion, is the answer,” she said.

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