Thursday, May 10, 2012
Human Trafficking and Youngsters
Issue Paper 5: Children, Adolescents and Human Trafficking: Making sense of a complex problem By Mike Dottridge and Ann Jordan This Issue Paper presents current knowledge about the scope and meaning of child trafficking. Although it might seem to be a simple subject to describe, it is not. First, there is the question of what a ‘child’ is. The international definition in the Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a ‘child’ as a person under the age of 18 but, at the same time, it recognizes the evolving capacity of adolescents to engage in certain activities and make certain decisions (UN Child Rights Convention, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2003). Additionally, there is confusion about how to distinguish between child employment, which is permissible, and child labor, which is not. Also, there is a conflict between international law and local practices because, in many countries, children routinely start to work before reaching the minimum legal age for employment set by international law. The issue is particularly problematic when children work away from home and are assisted in travelling or finding work by a range of intermediaries. When observers from outside the country denounce these intermediaries as 'traffickers,' the children view their intervention as unhelpful and unrealistic in the local context of their work. Read more. ***** The Rights Work Initiative is a project of the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor at the American University Washington College of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Washington, D.C. Rights Work seeks to promote evidence-based research, rights-based policies and lively debate on issues relating to human trafficking and forced labor. We encourage contributions from readers and welcome your suggestions and comments.