Cases of children being trafficked to orphanages in Southeast Asia are on the rise. Incredibly, many of these children actually have a living parent but have been trafficked to orphanages in a scheme to tempt tourists into donating money.
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Anti Slavery International estimates that of the 8 million kids placed in orphanages around the world, 80% still have at least one living parent. Given the severity and prevalence of orphanage trafficking, many campaigners are calling on the crime to be treated as a form of modern slavery in law.
Lumos, an international non-governmental charity founded by British author J.K. Rowling with the aim of ending the institutionalisation of children worldwide renewed its calls for orphanage trafficking to be recognised legislatively as a form of modern slavery.
During a recent meeting of the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group at the House of Lords in Westminster for the launch of a new report “Before the Harm is Done.” Lumos said it was “encouraged” that orphan trafficking has been included in the report.
Abigal Munroe from Lumos tweeted, “We @lumos are encouraged by inclusion of #orphanagetrafficking in ATMG report – as a highly preventable form of trafficking. Addressing underlying vulnerabilities is crucial to #traffickingprevention which is why we focus on in-country #communitystrengthening and #childprotection”
In April 2017, a survey undertaken by the Cambodian government and the United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) found that 16,500 children are living in around 400 orphanages in Cambodia.
It is thought many directors of these orphanages view vulnerable children as a business opportunity.
The ‘Before the Harm is Done’ report also accuses the British government of lacking a clear plan to prevent child trafficking in the UK, noting that there was a 66% increase in child trafficking cases in the UK from 2016 to 2017.
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