By: Sara Kim
UNICEF, a children’s rights and emergency relief organization, recently expressed their fear of an increased rate of child trafficking in Nepal. Although trafficking has occurred in Nepal in the past, following the recent earthquake and aftershook, victim numbers have spiked within the past few months. Due to the natural disaster, which resulted in the death of thousands and the injury of many more, many villages have been destroyed, resulting in a loss of jobs and homes for many families. Environments like this encourage child traffickers to prey upon vulnerable populations, as parents are more willing to send their children away from sites of disaster. Traffickers lure out victims through promises of education, meals and opportunities.
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In order to prevent more innocent children from becoming target to such lies, UNICEF has responded through through policy measures and direct responses. To start off, UNICEF and Nepalese government built check points throughout the country to monitor the flow of children, creating refugee centers for rescued victims, and educating the public on the prevalence of the issue.
UNICEF also launched temporary learning centers for children who have lost their homes and/or schools due to the earthquakes, and distributed school supplies to them. UNICEF warns the public about their concerns behind “orphanage volun-tourism,” according to Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF’s representative in Nepal. Hozumi says that “in some cases children are deliberately separated from their families and placed in orphanages so they can be used to attract adoptive families, fee-paying volunteers and donors.” Through their efforts, UNICEF has currently rescued 245 children from such illegal practices.
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Sara (Da Som) Kim is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes.
Photo Credit: The Independent.
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