Worse than lost

It’s hard to imagine anything more gut-wrenching than a missing child.

No parent wants an Amber Alert issued for their child. Likewise, A Child is Missing doesn’t relish a call from the police to find a son or daughter. Sadly, there is probably something scarier than a lost child.

It’s child trafficking and it may be the most deplorable of all crimes against humanity.

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To exploit our innocent child for any reason is the lowest of crimes. No child deserves to be forced into labor or sex trafficking or unlawfully recruited to be a soldier. There should be a universal code of conduct that protects our children from the abuse of trafficking.

Unfortunately, there is not.

Children here, and in all parts of the world, are forced into trafficking of some kind every day. Often times local law enforcement is shocked to hear from ACIM that it happens in any size town. It’s not just a third-world plight. A Child is Missing is on a mission to end it. Before we can end it, though, it’s important to understand it so trafficking can be identified.

Child Sex Trafficking

We’ve probably all seen episodes of television crime dramas that illustrate the sexual exploitation of children. They’re heart-breaking.

We loathe the perpetrator. There’s even a code against such violators among prisoners. Surely every person wants to stop it.

It’s not hard to imagine that sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV and AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism and death. Everlasting scars on innocent lives.

Forced Child Labor

We have child labor laws for a reason, to protect our children. While children are our most valuable resource, they are not meant to toil as adults. As you can imagine forced labor conditions are not ideal working climates. Children deserve to live and act like kids until they need to work.

Indications of forced child labor include situations in which the child appears to be in the custody of a non-family member who requires children to perform work that financially benefits someone outside the child’s family and does not offer the child the option of leaving. Children should leave free!

Unlawful Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers

If there is at all any kind of positive spin to this type of child trafficking, it’s that this obviously doesn’t happen in our American military. It can occur here, though. We’ve probably all seen news stories of militia groups or cults arming their children.

In addition to serving as sexual objects, some children in third-world countries are also unlawfully made to work as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies in the military. Boys may play war but they should never have to do it for real.

The Department of State prepared this report using information from U.S. embassies, government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, published reports, news articles, academic studies, research trips to every region of the world, and information submitted to tipreport@state.gov.

To donate, log on to: www.achildismissing.org/donate.asp

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