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Briefing Highlights Needs Of Child Trafficking Victims

November 3, 2002 · 

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ECPAT-USA recently held a very successful briefing in support of the launch of our new report, International Trafficking of Children to New York City for Sexual Purposes.

 Presentations by representatives from UNICEF, the FBI, the Garbriella Network and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were followed by a discussion about the unmet needs of trafficked children.

 The main findings of the report and the presentations include:

 The scope

  • Estimates are that 15,000 children are trafficked to the U.S. each year, but very few have been found
  • Both girls and boys are trafficked for a variety of purposes, not just sexual exploitation.
  • Mexico may be one of the main feeder countries for child trafficking victims to the United States.
  • The mail-order bride industry has contributed to the sale and trafficking of Filipino women

Breaking the Silence is Crucial

  • It is estimated that the large numbers of children are trafficked to the U.S. each year, but very little is known about them – who they are, what conditions they are suffering.
  • There is virtually no data about child trafficking, including people who should know, such as law enforcement and service providers.
  • The U.S. government has begun paying attention to the problem of international trafficking of children but has yet to pay as much attention to the problem of trafficking of American children within the U.S.

The Need for Better Services

  • There is a lack of knowledge among authorities about the definition of a trafficked person and the protections to which they are entitled.
  • It is difficult to find services for child trafficking victims, especially housing.
  • When child victims are found there is a scramble to piece together emergency services for them in New York.
  • Trafficked children suffer trauma and stress similar to that of refugees and displaced persons. Trafficked children often have no close family or emotional ties to their countries of origin. For many, their parents may be dead or they have lived on the street or with more distant family members. Sometimes they were trafficked by family members. This has implications for possibilities of repatriation.
  • Many of the children are pregnant, have had abortions, or have children of their own, making care for them that much more necessary and complicated.

Copies of the report on international trafficking are available for &5.00 each from ECPAT-USA.

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