IT’S NOT JUST THE CHILDREN

Children aren’t the only people are exploited.

There’s this notion among many of us that once a person becomes an adult, we can take care of ourselves. Make our own decisions. We can move out of the house. Be on our own. Come and go as we wish. We do live in a free country after all.

Truth is adults are also forced into forms of modern slavery and A Child is Missing doesn’t like that one bit either.

There are thousands of adults around the world that find themselves being sex trafficked, forced into labor, bonded labor or debt bondage and forced into domestic servitude. People can be victims regardless of whether they were born into servitude, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime because of being trafficked.

Many times the victim seems like an adult perfectly capable of defending themselves. In these cases, A Child is Missing goes to work assisting law enforcement in a rescue.

It’s sometimes easier for a person with moral standards to identify a child being forced into a form of modern slavery. If it seems a child is in a compromising position, then many times they are. For adults, the bondage can be a little more ambiguous.

Sex Trafficking

This happens when an adult is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution. Or, the person is maintained in prostitution through one of these means after initially consenting. A child cannot consent to these types of adult relationships. Adults can, though. However, a sexual relationship should always be consensual and sex trafficking is slavery, not consensual, and no person of any age should be forced.

Forced Labor

Migrants are particularly vulnerable to this form of human trafficking, but individuals also may be forced into labor in their own countries. Many migrants come to our country seeking the American Dream. That dream should not become a nightmare in any occasion.

Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage

A hope of the American Dream is to pass on resources to the generations that come behind you. Some workers, though, inherit debt. For example, in South Asia it is estimated that there are millions of trafficking victims working to pay off their ancestors’ debts.

Involuntary Domestic Servitude

And then, there are the repercussions of what happens in modern slavery. Investigators and service providers report many cases of untreated illnesses and, tragically, widespread sexual abuse, which in some cases may be symptoms of a situation of involuntary servitude.

Even though we are A Child is Missing, we care equally about adults. America’s Declaration of Independence states that people are created with unalienable rights. That’s really pretty universal. ACIM wants to make sure that all people are free to enjoy all their rights!

Methodology: The Department of State prepared parts of 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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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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