NEWS: New Laws on Kid Trafficking Sought

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:28:16 -0700 (PDT)


Wednesday October 14 4:21 AM EDT

New Laws on Kid Trafficking Sought

By BRUCE STANLEY Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Tighter laws and a global register of missing children
are crucial to
help stem the burgeoning sale of children into prostitution and pornography,
a new U.N. report
says.

The number of girls working as prostitutes in the formerly communist
countries of Eastern Europe
has soared, as have reports of Asian ``mail-order brides'' as young as 13,
according to a U.N.
study released Tuesday.

But the child sex industry is difficult to curb. A recent crackdown on sex
tourism in Thailand and
Sri Lanka, for example, has triggered a surge in visits to Central American
countries by affluent
foreigners seeking sex.

The trafficking of children from poor countries to exploitative jobs in
wealthier lands is especially
hard to stop, said the report by the U.N. special rapporteur on the sale of
children, child
prostitution and child pornography.

The report cited a UNICEF estimate that as many as 200,000 children now live
on the streets of
formerly Soviet-bloc countries and that an increase in tourists from
Finland, Sweden and elsewhere
has caused the child sex industry to boom there.

Vague laws have abetted the trafficking of children as prostitutes and as
other kinds of involuntary
laborers, like South Asian children forced into dangerous work as camel
jockeys in the United
Arab Emirates, the report said.

The laws of most countries don't distinguish between trafficking and illegal
migration.

``Thus, children who are victims of trafficking are also subject to the same
policies of deportation,''
said the rapporteur, Ofelia Calcetas-Santos.

The lack of a systematic means of monitoring child trafficking aggravates
the problem, as do
porous borders and the constantly changing methods of recruitment and coercion.

Condemning the trade as ``an affront to human dignity,'' Calcetas-Santos
urged governments to
compile international and regional registers for missing children and
closely monitor hospitals and
clinics to reduce the risk of abductions.

Similar lists should be maintained for children adopted by foreigners, as a
way of discouraging the
forced sale or kidnapping of babies from Latin America, Southeast Asia and
Eastern Europe, the
rapporteur added.

Better procedures are also needed to protect victims of trafficking from
persecution by authorities
and to enable them to take legal action against traffickers, the report said.


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