Unicef working to control child trafficking after quake

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 19, 2015-

Unicef has been working alongside the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, the Child Welfare Board, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Nepal Police and the Department of Immigration to curb child trafficking through policy measures and direct response in the wake of the April 25 earthquake.

Since the earthquake, at least 245 children have been rescued from being trafficked or illegally placed in child care homes, according to Unicef.

“Loss of livelihoods and worsening living conditions may allow traffickers to easily convince parents to give their children up for what they are made to believe will be a better life. The traffickers promise education, meals and a better future. But the reality is that many of those children could end up being horrendously exploited and abused,” Tomoo Hozumi, the Unicef Nepal representative, said in a statement on Friday.

On its own, Unicef has been running many awareness programmes and building child-friendly spaces in the quake-affected areas.

To help the quake-affected children get back to their school, the UN agency has established learning centres and distributed school kits to children.

It is also helping other organisations and government agencies to build checkpoints in different parts of the country to monitor if children are travelling with their legal caretakers.  

Unicef has also raised its concern about “orphanage volun-tourism” in the aftermath of the quake as families around the world have expressed their interest to help the children in Nepal through adoption or orphanage visits.

To raise awareness on the negative consequences of orphanage volun-tourism, Unicef is working closely with the tourism and volunteering sectors.

“In some cases children are deliberately separated from their families and placed in orphanages so they can be used to attract adoptive families, fee-paying volunteers and donors,” Hozumi said.

To combat such cases, national and international agencies that recruit volunteers for orphanages in Nepal have been urged to discontinue their programme.

“Re-building damaged rural communities and keeping families together is the best way to help children in Nepal recover from the earthquake,” Hozumi said.

Published: 20-06-2015 08:00

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