Spot the Signs

Child trafficking and exploitation is the fastest growing illegal crime in the world bringing in $150 billion per year, affecting millions of children globally each day. 

 

What is Child Trafficking and Exploitation?

Child trafficking and exploitation is where children and young people are tricked, forced, or persuaded to leave their homes and are moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work, or sold. 

Identifying child trafficking is the first step to stopping it. Understanding the signs to look out for both domestically and internationally, could help our most vulnerable people within your community.

Significant Signs for Child Victims

In most cases children and young persons will not understand that what is happening to them is wrong. Or they might be scared to speak out. It may not be obvious that a child has been trafficked, but you might notice unusual or unexpected things. 

There are several signs that are common across all types of child exploitation. These include if a child or young person:

  • acts or behaves as if instructed by another, as though they are forced or coerced to carry out specific activities

  • is orphaned or living apart from their family

  • is homeless or in a stressful family situation

  • rarely leave their house or have no time for playing

  • has money or things you would not expect them to have

  • demonstrates signs of physical or psychological abuse, such as lacking self-esteem, seeming anxious, bruising, or untreated medical conditions

  • seems to be bonded by debt or has money deducted from their salary

  • has little or no contact with family or loved ones

  • is distrustful of authorities

  • has threats made against themselves or family members

  • is not in possession of their own legal documents

Types of trafficking and exploitation of Child Marriage

This is when a minor is forced to marry someone. They may be threatened with physical or sexual violence or placed under emotional or psychological distress to achieve these aims. Often children are sold by their family for the purpose of marriage.

Situations where you may find forced marriage used:

  • Religion and culture

  • To gain access to benefits from the married to family

Types of trafficking and exploitation of Children

 

Child Marriage

This is when a minor is forced to marry someone. They may be threatened with physical or sexual violence or placed under emotional or psychological distress to achieve these aims. Often children are sold by their family for the purpose of marriage.

Situations where you may find forced marriage used:

  • Religion and culture

  • To gain access to benefits from the married to family

Child Soldier

These are children and young people, ranging from as young as four up to 18, who are used for any military purpose. It affects both males and females, by predominantly boys.

Children may be used for frontline combat – which means they are made to commit acts of violence – or within auxiliary roles, such as informants or kitchen hands. Often, the children are also sexually abused.

Child Soldiers are most prevalent in parts of Asia and Africa.

 

Child Organ Harvesting

The trafficking in child organs involves removing a part of the body, commonly the kidneys and liver, to sell often as an illegal trade. Organs can be taken in several ways and are widely available on the Dark web:

  • Trade – a victim formally or informally agrees to sell an organ, but are then cheated because they are not paid for the organ, or are paid less than the promised price

  • Ailments – a vulnerable person is treated for an ailment, which may or may not exist, and the organs are removed without the victim’s knowledge

  • Extortion – a victim may be kidnapped from their family and organs removed without consent

Child Labour

This refers to situations where children are coerced to work for little or no remuneration, often under threat of punishment or sexual abuse. There are several means through which a child can be coerced, including:

  • Use of violence

  • Sexual abuse

Some common sectors and industries that are identified as vulnerable include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Factory work

  • Construction

  • Agriculture

  • Fishing

  • Car washes

  • Committing crimes 

  • Begging

  • Theft 

  • Working on cannabis farms

  • Moving drugs

Child Sex (rape) Work

This is when a child is deceived, coerced, or forced to take part in sexual activity. Places where children could be sexually exploited:

  • Prostitution

  • Brothels – massage/sauna

  • Escort agencies

  • Forced marriage

  • Live streaming rape

  • Child sexual abuse material

  • Sex tourism

 

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) 

This is when a child or young person is exploited, they are given things, like candy, gifts, drugs, money, online or community status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities both in person and online live streaming. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they are in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming and is a major problem online. Online grooming is the number one way of the start of children eventually being abused, by eventually meeting the predator in places like a park. In my cases children are groomed through online games with a chat feature. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they are being abused. 

Effects of child trafficking

Trafficking can have both short- and long-term effects and the impact can last a lifetime.

Children and young people who have been trafficked might:

  • not understand what is happened to them is abuse - especially if they have been groomed

  • believe they are in a relationship with their abuser and unaware they are being exploited

  • think they played a part in their abuse or have broken the law

  • feel very guilty or ashamed about the abuse they have suffered usually in sexually abuse or rape

Being kidnapped, kept captive or living or working in poor conditions can have a serious impact on a child's mental and physical health. They might also be suffering from the effects of abuse and neglect.

Children may feel distressed and alienated if they have been separated from their families, friends, communities, and cultures.

They will often have had no access to education or opportunity for social and emotional development.

Children exploited for domestic servitude and forced labour can suffer physical injuries, develop problems with their emotional health and be denied access to an education.

Children trafficked for sexual exploitation are at high risk of prolonged periods of sexual violence, physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections and, for girls, multiple pregnancies.

Which children are at risk?

All children are at risk of child trafficking and exploitation.

Child trafficking happens due to:

  • poverty

  • the effects of war

  • the demand for cheap or free labour or a workforce who can be easily controlled and forced into criminal activity

  • low levels of education 

  • paedophilia demand 

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Our mission is to rescue and protect children from child trafficking and exploitation across the globe. 
We achieve this through rescue, aftercare, education and awareness. We are committed to restoring and empowering the rights of every child. Please contact us!

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REDBANK QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA 4301 ​

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