NEWS: UNICEF sees prostitution among Kosovo Albanians

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Subject: NEWS: UNICEF sees prostitution among Kosovo Albanians
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.org)
Date: Thu May 27 1999 - 23:11:16 EDT


                UNICEF sees prostitution among Kosovo Albanians

RTw 5/20/99 10:56 AM

Copyright 1999 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.
The following news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole
or in part, without the prior written consent of Reuters Ltd.
 
    By Alister Doyle
     OSLO, May 20 (Reuters) - Girls among Kosovo Albanian refugees are
being lured into jobs as prostitutes in Italy by organised crime gangs, the
head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.
     "There is growing evidence of trafficking in girls from Albania to
Italy," UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy told a news conference
during a visit to Oslo.
     "It is reasonably widespread and the conditions that are now
presenting themselves could make it get worse," she said.
     Bellamy said that organised crime groups were recruiting girls from
among refugees and promising "we've got a great deal for you." The girls
then ended up as prostitutes, mainly in Italy but also in other European
countries.
     Bellamy said that UNICEF was seeking to stamp out the trafficking and
also seeking ways of easing traumas for children fleeing the conflict,
mainly in camps in Albania and Macedonia.
     "This doesn't mean that the children will not bear the scars of what
is happening," she said.
     She said an estimated 75 percent of the refugees who have fled what
NATO calls ethnic cleansing in the Serbian province were women or children
aged under 15.Belgrade says that NATO bombs are to blame for the refugees.
     UNICEF workers wanted to create "children's places" in camps and other
areas where refugees were living where they could use books, write or draw.
It was also seeking to step up vaccinations to combat measles and polio.
     The U.N agency was also trying to cooperate with radio stations in
Albania and Macedonia to beam special programmes to refugee children. Part
of the message could be educational, and warn against prostitution rings.
     Bellamy said that, overall, children's education and health had
improved around the world during the 1990s despite blackspots in
sub-Saharan Africa or from conflicts like Kosovo.
     "On balance the picture is more favourable for children at the end of
the decade than at the beginning," she said.
     She pointed to advances in school attendance, especially for girls. On
the other hand, conflicts in nations from Sudan to Liberia and AIDS had
contributed to blight education in many African nations.


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