Two years ago I found myself standing at an epicenter of drug trafficking — the infamous Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia — home to the hugely lucrative illicit opium trade. But I was waiting to assist the victims of a different kind of trafficking, a group of North Korean refugees. Many of the women and children I was waiting for had been trafficked into marriage or for adoption. As the refugees’ protection officer, it was my responsibility to win their trust and safely escort them to a shelter where they would await processing to go to another country. This experience had a profound effect on me and inspired me to join the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking campaign.
Tag Archives for "child protection"
How do you stop an appalling epidemic? How do you protect children from victimization by child traffickers? According to Karin Heissler, UNICEF child protection specialist, providing support to vulnerable children and their families is key.
Heissler made her remarks earlier this month at a Minneapolis screening of the anti-trafficking documentary Not My Life. Hosted by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Midwest Regional Office, the event drew some 70 Minnesotans who were determined to learn more about an issue that is not always on everyone’s radar — despite having 5.5 million victims worldwide.
On February 14, women, men and children everywhere were rising up in opposition to violence against women. We were part of a campaign called One Billion Rising, which grew out of the fact that 1 in 3 women around the world will be raped or abused in her lifetime. That’s more than one billion women and girls.
UNICEF works around the world to protect women and girls from violence. In 2007, UNICEF and V-Day launched the creation of a safe space in Bakavu, DRC, for survivors of sexual violence, called City of Joy. This is just one example of how UNICEF and partners are working to end violence against women and children.
As you may know from our advocacy alert, the United States has yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. did, however, ratify two optional protocols, which help ensure that children never serve as soldiers, and which prohibit child prostitution, child pornography and the sale of children. In January, the United States presented a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on its implementation of both protocols. The Committee noted that the U.S. has made significant progress since ratifying the treaties a decade ago, but it also highlighted some areas where the U.S. Government might make improvements.
Many of us see Jamaica as an island paradise, the birthplace of Reggae music, and home to world class athletes. But Jamaica is not perfect: The country is home to one of the world’s greatest wealth disparities and has one of the highest homicide rates. These harsh realities create a difficult environment for children. I recently had the privilege of hearing UNICEF Jamaica Representative Robert Fuderich speak about UNICEF’s programs in Jamaica, and attending this event further deepened my appreciation for UNICEF’s work.
Jane MacPhail is a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist. She makes the 1 1/2 hour journey to Za’atari every day. Jane works with children to draw and imagine a world without war. “Syrian children have been through too much,” she says. “Over the course of the past 22 months, children witnessed war, shelling, injuries and torture. They have had to leave their homes and country with the little they could carry. They’ve lost a sense of identity and hope.”