UNICEF Releases Startling Report on Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse

Unicef released some very interesting- and disturbing- data about violence, exploitation and abuse in children. The information relates to UNICEF’s Child Protection Strategy, which was approved in 2008, and lays out the strategic actions needed to build this protective environment.

Children's rightsThe Strategy is centered around: strengthening child protection systems, including the set of laws, policies, regulations and services needed across all social sectors; promoting social change that is consistent with human rights principles; and strengthening child protection in emergencies.

Recapitulating some of the released data, it is estimated that:

  • Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children are estimated to experience violence annually.  In each year as many as 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence.
  • Certain groups of children are particularly vulnerable to violence, including children with disabilities, children belonging to minority groups, children living on the streets, adolescents in conflict with the law, and refugee, displaced and migrating children. Generally, boys tend to be at greater risk of physical violence and girls face greater risk of neglect and sexual violence and exploitation.
  • 158 million children, aged 5-14, are engaged in labour, as of 2006.
  • 70 million girls and women aged 15–49 in 28 countries in Africa, plus Yemen have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting.
  • As of 2007 worldwide, more than 60 million women aged 20–24 were married before they reached the age of 18.
  • An estimated 250,000 children are involved in conflicts around the world. They are used as combatants, messengers, spies, porters, cooks, and girls in particular are forced to perform sexual services, depriving them of their rights and their childhood.
  • In 2005, for example, estimated that 980,000 to 1,250,000 children – both boys and girls – are placed in a forced labour situation as a result of child trafficking.

This is just a small part of the information offered in the report, but should be enough of a wake up call for all of us to get involved and fight for our children’s rights.

Read the entire report at UNICEF >>

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