Children are trafficked for forced labour, domestic work, as child soldiers, as camel jockeys, for begging, work on construction sites and plantations but most children are trafficked for sexual exploitation. And girls trafficked for forced labor and domestic work often end up sexually exploited by their employers. The vulnerability of these children is even greater when they arrive in another country. Often they do not have contact with their families and are at the mercy of their employers.

Because child trafficking is lucrative and often linked with criminal activity and corruption, it is hard to estimate how many child suffer, but trafficking and exploitation is an increasing risk to children around the world. Often they are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, like prostitution, or for labor such as domestic servitude, agricultural work, factory work, mining, or child soldiering.

Sometimes sold by a family member or an acquaintance, sometimes lured by false promises of education and a “better” life — the reality is that these trafficked and exploited children are held in slave-like conditions without enough food, shelter, or clothing and often severely abused and cut off from all contact with their families.

What in the South 

The project aims at preventing and fighting against the trafficking of young boys and girls in 10 South 24 Parganas’ villages, especially by means of information and awareness-raising activities for children and youths of 9 schools, promoted by peer-to-peer approaches both at school and in their villages. At a community level, the project has reinforced child-protection mechanisms, increasing target communities’ awareness of child trafficking dynamics and risk situations, while helping establishing local committees for child protection. A key tool of this project is the youths’ manual on trafficking, what it is, how to prevent it and how to react in case of abuse.

Beneficiaries reached: 6,000 teenage students and 60 girls

What in the North 

With the aim of continuing what has been done in the three-year period 2011-2014, L’Albero della Vita Foundation works with renewed commitment in the fight against child trafficking with a new initiative in the North 24 Parganas district, on the border with Bangladesh. The project aims at consolidating and strengthening child-protection mechanisms, as well as promoting local communities’ awareness and preparation with regards to trafficking, risk factors and consequences for minors and their families.

The results expected from the project are the following: reinforcing children’s capacities, so that they may be more aware and informed about trafficking and may promote key messages on trafficking prevention among their peers and in their community; strengthening protection mechanisms at a community level, creating child-protection committees, information and awareness-raising campaigns aimed at the local communities on trafficking prevention, as well as accessible governmental services/schemes for social protection; increasing specific services to protect children at risk of trafficking and its victims thanks to the knowledge and awareness of police officers, border guards and judicial authorities, but also testing of counselling services in a safe child-friendly space at two control posts on the border with Bangladesh; advocacy activities at a local, district and state level to strengthen the legislation against child trafficking.

Beneficiaries reached: 7,050