SAVE THE CHILDREN PARTICIPATES IN A DIALOGUE ON CHILD ABDUCTION AND TRAFFICKING AT UNITED NATIONS
July 19, 2022. To strengthen monitoring, reporting and response to child abduction, representatives of United Nations Member States and invited organizations gathered at the event: "Efforts to monitor, report and respond to child abduction".
Save the Children contributed to the agenda by alerting about the needs of children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean regarding abduction and trafficking. The increase in abductions of children and adolescents in the region is a direct result of decades of conflict in countries such as Colombia, as well as in Central America and the large-scale migration and displacement emergencies that are occurring regionally.
Climate catastrophes and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated existing needs and vulnerabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Save the Children sees an alarming increase in unaccompanied children and adolescents migrating to the United States, exposing them to abduction, smuggling, trafficking, and labor and sexual exploitation. Increasingly, migration flows passing through northern Central America include people from South America (mainly Venezuela), Haiti, Cuba and even Africa.
Victoria Ward, Save the Children's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasized at the meeting the importance of working together to advocate for resources to strengthen the monitoring and reporting of child abductions.
Ward said: "Child protection requires more resources and more visibility in Latin America and the Caribbean. The multi-sectoral capacities of humanitarian actors in child protection, migration and gender need to be developed to provide a comprehensive approach to preventing and responding to the complex risks to children and adolescents."
She noted: "the few studies that exist and the evidence obtained in our programs suggest that the majority of victims of human trafficking are children and adolescents (40%) and the majority of victims of forced labor are children."
Ward also presented a video with the voices of children and adolescents from Latin America and the Caribbean who made a strong call to action for decision makers to respond appropriately to address the abductions and trafficking that affects hundreds of children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean.