Children are the most vulnerable members of society. All too often, they are exploited and abused by adults they once trusted. In order to help governments protect the world's children, the United Nations (UN) created the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Supported by 190 member countries of the UN, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely accepted human rights charter ever published. Most nations have made it law. The United States and Somalia have not ratified this convention.
Why is the convention necessary?
Every adult (not only parents) has a legal and moral responsibility towards the children they know.
Children's rights are abused in both affluent and poorer countries, but children who live in poverty and conflict zones are far more vulnerable.
Abject poverty is a desperate state of being: families who are struggling to survive cannot provide for even the most basic needs of their children such as clean water, healthcare and education. Ill health is rife and the ability to work is diminished. Poverty is a self-perpetuating cycle.
Traffickers take advantage of the hardships that befall people in poorer communities, especially children. These predators lure or abduct children into forced labour and sexual exploitation, often under the guise of easing the economic burden on their families.
An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Around 10 million children, mainly girls, are sexually exploited.
Children in these situations are unaware of their specific rights and they are powerless to defend them.
Tragically, trafficking and enslavement of children in all its permutations continues at alarming rates. The Convention on the Rights of Child will not stop these crimes, but it is vital that the world's governments are vigilant in seeking out perpetrators; they enact tougher legislation in punishing them; and ultimately, they commit to the prevention of future crimes.
World Vision's work across many programs and intitiatives supports the protection of all people from trafficking and slavery.