On 19 December 2017 in Bangladesh, Sabiha, 11, takes a break from chopping kindling for her family, in a jungle area located quite a distance from their shelter in a Balukhali makeshift settlement for Rohingya refugees, in Cox’s Bazar district. By 20 December 2017, an estimated 655,000 Rohingya refugees had entered Bangladesh to escape the recent escalation of violence against them in Rakhine State in Myanmar. More than half of them are children. The influx of refugees, which resumed following attacks at Myanmar Border Guard Police posts on 25 August 2017, has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency, with many Rohingya in dire need of life-saving assistance. Thousands of refugees continue to arrive each week, taxing already heavily stretched resources. The inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2017-2018 identified water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition and food security and shelter as areas for immediate scale-up to save lives in both settlements and host communities. As per the HRP, the Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, many having experienced severe trauma, and are now living in extremely difficult conditions. Given the current population density and poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, any outbreak of cholera or acute watery diarrhoea, which are endemic in Bangladesh, could kill thousands of people residing in temporary settlements. Urgent nutrition needs have been prioritized for children under age 5 (including infants), pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls. These include close to 17,000 children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition to be supported over the next six months. Nutrition sector partners plan to cover 70 per cent of the identified needs in the makeshift and new settlements, host communities and official refugee camps. Moreover, children, adolescents and women in both the Rohingya and host communities are exposed to high levels of violence, abuse and exploita

Children account for nearly one-third of trafficking victims

Approximately 28 percent of identified victims of trafficking globally are children, UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking (ICAT) say.

Across regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, children account for an even higher proportion of identified trafficking victims, at 64 and 62 per cent respectively.

UNICEF and ICAT believe the number of children who fall victim to traffick-                                                                                              ing is higher than current data suggests. The reality is that children are infrequently identified as victims of trafficking.

Few come forward for fear of their traffickers, lack of information about their options, mistrust of authorities, fear of stigma or the likelihood of being returned without any safeguards and limited material support.

Refugee, migrant and displaced children are especially vulnerable to trafficking. Whether they are escaping war and violence or pursuing better education and livelihood opportunities, too few children find pathways to move regularly and safely with their families.

This increases the likelihood that children and their family members will turn to irregular and more dangerous routes, or that children will move on their own, leaving them more vulnerable to violence, abuse, and exploitation by traffickers.

“Trafficking is a very real threat to millions of children around the world, especially to those who have been driven from their homes and communities without adequate protection,” said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore.

“These children urgently need governments to step up and put measures in place to keep them safe.”

In many contexts, there is a lack of sustainable solutions for child victims of trafficking – including long-term assistance, rehabilitation, and protection. Many child protection systems remain under-resourced, and there is an acute lack of guardianship and other alternative care arrangements.

Children are often placed in inadequate shelters, where they risk further traumatisation and re-victimisation. Trafficked boys can face additional challenges, as gender stereotypes can prevent them from getting or seeking the help they need, while girls may also be at risk of further exploitation and abuse due to gender discrimination and gendered poverty.

The UN children’s agency and ICAT continue to call for the implementation of government policies and cross-border solutions to keep these children safe, including:

Expanding safe and legal pathways for children to move with their families, including by accelerating refugee status determinations and addressing obstacles in law and practice that prevent children from reuniting with their families;

Strengthening child and social protection systems to prevent, identify, refer, and address cases of trafficking, violence, abuse, and exploitation against children and respond to children with specific needs based on age and gender;

Ensuring that sustainable solutions are guided by an individual assessment of the child’s case and best interests determination (BID), regardless of the child’s status, and that the child participates in this process to a degree appropriate to her/his age and maturity;

Improving cross-border collaboration and knowledge exchange between and among border control, law enforcement and child protection authorities, and implement faster family tracing and reunification procedures and alternative care arrangements for children deprived of parental care.

Avoiding measures which may push children to choose riskier routes and to move alone to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Source :

Check Also

Market in Quandary Over Old Mutual, PPC Shares

Confusion reigns over valuation of the Old Mutual and PPC shares that were suspended from …

This function has been disabled for Zimbabwe Today.