MY FREEDOM FIRST, END HUMAN TRAFFICKING
By Constance Ndeleko
We must commit to end the impunity of human trafficking and protect the victims too. Children should be free, they should be able to exercise their role in playing, going to school, and being themselves. They have rights that should be protected.
Under no circumstance is any one supposed to exercise human trafficking. We should condemn this heinous illegal act regardless of the place or region you are coming from be it on women, men or children.
Human trafficking is the 3rd largest crime in the world and 1 in every 3 people trafficked is a child and 30% of them are children. No child should experience this. There are 24.9 million people under forced labor and 3.4 million of them are children and this is as a result of human trafficking.
Six to eight million people are trafficked around the world every year,80% of them are women and half are children. Children ages of 13-18 years are vulnerable to human trafficking. According to the NCRC report. Forms of trafficking prevalent in Kenya were labor and sex related. Trafficking involves children, men and women at 33%,26% and 41%.
What is Human Trafficking?
“Trafficking in persons” mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation like prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
The three key elements that must be present for a situation of trafficking in persons (adults) to exist are therefore: (i) action (recruitment); (ii) means (threat); and (iii) purpose (exploitation)
According to International Definition for trafficking in children. An “action” such as recruitment, buying and selling; shows that this action was for the specific purpose of exploitation. In other words, trafficking of a child will exist if the child was subjected to some act, such as recruitment or transport, the purpose of which is the exploitation of that child.
Trafficking does not require the crossing of an international border. The definition covers internal as well as cross-border trafficking ; it also extends to the maintenance of that person in a situation of exploitation. That is, it is legally possible for trafficking to take place within a single country, including the victim’s own.
Slavery, servitude, child sexual exploitation, forced marriage, servile forms of marriage, child marriage, enforced prostitution and the exploitation of prostitution are also trafficking-related practices that are prohibited under international human rights law.
Children, for example, may be trafficked for purposes related to their age such as sexual exploitation, various forms of forced labor and begging. Persons with disabilities can also be targeted for certain forms of exploitative labor and begging.
Women and girls are trafficked into gender-specific situations of exploitation such as exploitative prostitution and sex tourism, and forced labor in domestic and service industries. They also suffer gender-specific forms of harm and consequences of being trafficked (for example, rape, forced marriage, unwanted or forced pregnancy, forced termination of pregnancy, and sexually transmitted dis-eases, including HIV/AIDS).
Other factors contributing to human trafficking are the lack of livelihood opportunities among different vulnerable groups, in addition to poverty, drug abuse, illiteracy, loss of parent/parents, harmful cultural practices, and radicalization.
In a case where the age of a victim is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that the victim is a child, a State party may, to the extent possible under its domestic law, treat the victim as a child in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child until his or her age is verified”.
The individual presumed to be a child victim of trafficking is to be given special protection measures in accordance with their rights as defined, in particular, in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.(European Trafficking Convention)
There are stipulated principle that tend to protect trafficked children universally as their entitlement towards human rights
The trafficked child should not be criminalized in any way and should not be liable for prosecution for any status-related offences; never be placed in a law enforcement detention Facility, Care and support should be made available. Children should not be coerced into receiving care and protection, including medical assistance and testing, unless it can be demonstrated it is in their best interests;
Non-national child victims of trafficking are to enjoy the same rights as national or resident children, should be provided with information about their situation and entitlements. There should be no arbitrary interference with the child’s privacy. States should provide for representation of an identified (or presumed) child.
Measures should be in place to assist child victims of trafficking to participate, safely and meaningfully, in court processes. (Convention on the Rights of the Child)
In the process UNICEF, came up with recommendation principles and guidelines on Trafficked children in that every country should and have to adhere to :
Ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration e.g .age, upbringing, ethnic, cultural and linguistic background and protection needs; Respect the child’s right to express his or her views freely
Take measures to ensure adequate and appropriate training, in particular legal and psychological training, for persons working with trafficked children on specific rights and obligations in cases involving children.( “Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo” )
There are at least certain Actions that can be used to reduce the vulnerability of children to trafficking:
Ensure that appropriate legal documentation (including for birth, citizenship and marriage) is in place and available; Tighten passport and visa regulations in relation to children, particularly unaccompanied minors and minors accompanied but not by an immediate family member;
Improve children’s access to educational opportunities and increase the level of school attendance, in particular by girls; Protect children from violence including family and sexual violence; Combat discrimination against girls; Raise public awareness of the unlawful nature and effects of child trafficking and exploitation.(Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human ).