Friday, February 18, 2011

Stand Up for the Children!

There is another very important cause which I support, it is the
effort to eliminate child trafficking

Child Trafficking is an enormous problem in many parts of Africa.  As I researched Guinea Bissau (pop 1.5 million), I found that it is a source country for children trafficked to other West African countries and within the country for: forced begging, forced agricultural labor, and commercial sexual exploitation. Currently, there is no law in Guinea Bissau against human trafficking.

The majority of the victims are boys who are religious students, called talibé. They are trafficked by religious instructors called marabouts to other West African countries (primarily Senegal) for forced begging.

A 2008 study by the African Center for the Advanced Studies in Management found that 30 percent of children forced to beg in Dakar (Senegal) were from Guinea-Bissau.

Deceived into believing that their children will receive a religious education, parents often agree to send their child away with marabouts. Instead, the instructors force the children to beg daily for up to twelve hours in urban centers and physically abuse them if they fail to collect a certain quota of money.

Bissau-Guinean boys are also trafficked to Senegal for forced labor in cotton fields. NGOs have reported that Bissau-Guinean girls who perform domestic work within the country and in Senegal may be victims of trafficking. Girls reportedly are trafficked to Senegal for forced domestic labor and within Guinea-Bissau, girls are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in small bars and restaurants.

UNICEF estimates that 200 Bissau-Guinean children are trafficked each month. NGOs report that the large population of children from Guinea-Conakry engaged in street vending and shoe shining in Guinea-Bissau may indicate that Guinea-Bissau is a destination country for trafficking victims from Guinea. (U.S. Department of State, 2009a: 148).

This information taken from a 2010 explorative study - Child Trafficking in Guinea Bissau by UNICEF Iceland and UNICEF Guinea-Bissau

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