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UNICEF, MTV, and Calle 13 Join Forces to Stop Child Trafficking

Child trafficking. It’s a horror that no child should ever have to experience. But around the world, some 5.5 million children are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry, one of the world’s most profitable criminal activities. Children are especially vulnerable, and UNICEF is working across the globe to keep children safe from exploitation.

Latin America is one focus of UNICEF’s anti-trafficking efforts. We recently had a visit here at the U.S. Fund offices from two UNICEF representatives—Tamar Hahn, UNICEF´s Regional Communications Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Mark Connolly, HIV/AIDS Regional Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean at UNICEF. The pair described a successful UNICEF campaign to prevent child trafficking in Latin America. In order for this campaign to have the biggest reach and impact, UNICEF partnered with two collaborators.

Above: trailer for the documentary “Invisible Children”

First, UNICEF worked with MTV Latin America and its anti-trafficking Exit Foundation, utilizing their know-how and extensive reach with the targeted youth audience. Then UNICEF asked the hugely popular Puerto Rican musical group Calle 13 to help out, which they gladly did. Among other things, the nineteen-time Latin Grammy winning band donated a song for an anti-trafficking music video, and is spending extra time on their Latin American tour to talk to local anti-trafficking groups. With Calle 13′s help, the word on ending child trafficking and exploitation is definitely getting out!

But this campaign is about reducing risk as well as raising awareness. It also includes screenings of a half hour documentary, called Invisible Slaves, which tells victims’ stories and educates viewers about how to stay safe. The documentary has had a proven impact—having been educated, at-risk young people in Latin America are now able to make better decisions.

Child trafficking must be stopped, and education is a big first step. There is a lot that you, too, can do to help end child trafficking:  Join our Action Center’s End Trafficking group, write your representatives, share the Calle 13 video, or donate to UNICEF’s child protection programs. All of UNICEF’s child protection efforts work to reduce factors that make children vulnerable to trafficking in the first place. Believe in ZERO exploited children. Help us end child trafficking.

If you or someone you know has been affected by trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (1-888-3737-888) or visit their website to get help.


  1. Posted September 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    To the Editor:
    Re: The UNICEF Organization
    I just wanted to take a moment to applaud and give my gratitude to your organization. It is very comforting and amazing to see an organization like yours working so hard to provide a safe place for children to go for help and support. I am currently taking a class at Sacramento State University called, “Violence Against Women”, and it just astonishes me how many young woman and girl’s all around the world that are in desperate need of help and support. I honestly was not aware of how many girl’s around the world that are being trafficked for sex and money and what major harm that can come along with this. “Trafficking exposes children to physical violence, sexual abuse, and intense emotional distress”. I had no idea that all these problems can arise from children being exploited and trafficked. So having your organization out there to provide support for young children and girls who are being trafficked and taken advantage of is an honor in my eyes.
    I am expressing my gracious gratitude out to your organization for all your hard work and compassion towards helping young girls and children. It is heartwarming to know that there is an organization out there like yours that is here help all these distressed children that are in desperate need for an out or support of any kind. Reading that you are a” humanitarian organization that is working in more than 150 countries around the world to provide children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more” really inspires me to take a stand and support your gracious organization for all the hard work and support that you generously give all these children all around the world. Keep up all your hard work and generosity to all the young girls and children around the world that are in dire need for your outreach and support.
    Alicia Keeler
    Folsom, California

  2. Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    The UN reports define trafficking as children who may be sold to others for the purpose of prostitution or under the guise of providing domestic services. There needs to be an Awareness Campaign so that children can both know their rights thus being able to easily identify when they are being violated. How can children who are both innocent and vulnerable be protected when away from an adult parent who has the best interests of their child at heart? There are instances where children are lured by older men who give them huge sums of money to go out and have a good time. I know of a child who confided this in me and I said to her, when you go to a supermarket you get a receipt, you do not work for this individual what do you think he would consider sufficient payment in exchange for the money he has just given to you? She never thought about it, he did not give it to her, he gave to her friend. I said, worst yet, does he require a harem? Miss, I don’t know was the response.

  3. Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    What is known about those who use the children for sex? What organizations do they affiliate with?

    What organizations exist within the government within the countries of highest exploitation?

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