When children take up a occupation but have not yet reached the legal minimum age for work, this is considered to be ‘child labor’. When they are employed in hazardous or other exploitative circumstances, such as slavery and slavery-like situations, in commercial sexual exploitation or illicit activities, they are in a worst form of child labor. Hazardous work – according to the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention,1999 (No.182) – is “work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children”. No child under 18 should be in a worst form of child labor. Trafficking children below the18 ages into the exploitive situations is in itself considered to be a ‘worst form of child labor’, because children who have been trafficked are in a particularly vulnerable situation. They are away from home,usually separated from their family and community, may be isolated in a destination place where they do not know the language, cannot get help and have no way to return to their home. Isolated in this way, they are commonly the victims of abuse of power. Trafficked children are totally at the mercy of their employers or the people who are controlling their lives and so risk sexual aggression, starvation, loss of liberty, beatings and other forms of violence (Pearson 2003).
2.5. Factors Influencing Child Trafficking
The causes of trafficking in persons are various and often differ from one country to the other and even at intra-country level. Trafficking is a clandestine and complex phenomenon which is often driven by such social, economic, cultural and other related political and legal factors. In search of better conditions there is always a desire to migrate among impoverished individuals.This desire is often exploited by traffickers to recruit and gain control on the potential victims.There are some local conditions that make individuals want to migrate in search of better living, such as poverty, oppression, lack of social and economic opportunities, lack of human right and other similar conditions (UNODC 2008: 454).
Many factors contribute to the trafficking of men, women and children. According to studies conducted by AGRINET (2003) and ILO-IPEC (2002), the root causes of women and children trafficking are categorized into push and pull factors. The major push factors include poverty, unemployment or lack of economic opportunities, draught and famine, political instability and bad governance and poverty are important elements at play in explaining why some children are trafficked.
Poverty alone cannot explain why some countries have more children trafficking than others; some cities have worst forms of child labor than others; traffickers are active in some places and not in others; some communities face more child trafficking than others; some families are more at risk of trafficking than others; girls are most at risk in some instances and boys in others. There are many children living in poverty who do not fall victim to trafficking (ILO 2009).
Studies undertaken in two sub-regions of Africa, West and Central Africa,by UNICEF in 1998 and 2000, have given us some insight into the factors that contribute to and drive the practice of child trafficking. Analyses in those studies showed that poverty, cultural values and traditional belief systems all work to weaken the protection of child rights and push children towards traffickers.
I must say that children and women trafficking in Africa is very complex. This reality goes beyond the abuse of traditional deployments or migration for labor.
According to UNICEF, poverty emerges as a major and ubiquitous causal factor. Thus, in the context of extreme poverty,the motive for the transfer of children is often economic. But poverty alone does not explain the prevalence of child trafficking in all countries.
Indeed, some of those most heavily involved in child trafficking do not necessarily have the worst social indicators, nor possess the worst cases of poverty. So, we need to come to grips with the fact that there are other factors – indeed a very diverse and complex list of factors –that contribute to and fuel the business of child trafficking. So Let me briefly discuss just a few of factors stated in studies undertaken in West and Central Africa,by UNICEF in 1998 and 2000. These are,-
1. Lack of vocational and economic opportunities for the youth in the rural areas. Families seeing no economic opportunities at home will often place children with families or friends in areas where they believe the prospects for gainful employment may be greater. Children in these communities become easy prey for traffickers who promise trade and work opportunities.
2. Insufficient and/or inaccessible educational opportunities. The motive for moving children from the protective envelope of the family is often the search for education rather than the search for work. Traditional practices of placement and child movement within the extended family circle for educational purposes contribute to this factor.
3. Ignorance on the part of families and children of the risks involved in trafficking, such as risks of serious maltreatment, rape, torture, exposure to HIV/AIDS and even to psychological risks linked with separation, and emotional isolation. Sadly, our world in the 21st century is far less friendly and hospitable than we would like. It is an increasingly dangerous and threatening place for children. But for many parents – especially those from culturally insulated families and traditional communities, the idea of harming a child is alien to their reality and frame of reference.
4. High demand for cheap and submissive child labor in the informal economic sector. Children provide cheap labor and submit to abusive situations. They are often unaware of their rights or are powerless to seek assistance. Their vulnerability and eagerness to please make them attractive targets for the ruthless and greed driven predators in today’s world.
5. The desire of the youth for emancipation through migration. Studies have shown that children see in migration, not only the perception of becoming a better person, but also, the adventure of personal travel.
6. Institutional lapses such as inadequate political commitment, nonexistent national legislation against child trafficking, and absence of a judicial framework allowing for the perpetrators and accomplices of trafficking to be held responsible and punished for their acts.
7. Traditions and cultural values trafficking of children inter sects the traditional role of extended families as care givers and an early integration of children into the labor force. The ‘traditional placements’ of children in families of distant relatives or friends have mutated into a system motivated by economic objectives.
2.6 Consequences of Child Movement
Children who leave their environment may suffer unfairly from multi-dimensions. In Ethiopia, migration has its own salient consequences on children’s life. For example, the common effects are unemployment, economic constraints. (ESRC Research Group, 2006). A research report by UNICEF (2000) on the children working on the major streets of Ethiopia revealed that the effect of poverty usually creates suitable situation to violate children’s rights. Needless to say, many of the children are from low socio-economic families and even some others from the rural areas.
Child trafficking accompanied by short and long term psychological, social, economical and/or cultural consequences among which ESRC Research Group (2006) viewed the torments of migrant children in Ethiopia primarily as it pervade to the community and house hold results in impairment of family love and neglecting children may result in impoverishing the quantity and quality of the forth coming generation.
A study conducted by Belay (2006) found one of the possible consequences of child trafficking as psychological abuse and neglect. Corporal punishment by parents or guardians, family members, and relatives is an accepted cultural practice in Ethiopia. Besides from parents and other family members, many children are also abused (i.e., physically and sexually) by other persons who by chance meet them (Getnet, 2001).
Trafficking in persons has multifaceted impacts on the health and psychology of individual victims; it has also economic and political implications on the countries of origin and destination. So far there has not been any more rigorous empirical work on the health and other consequences of trafficking in persons. However, the human and social consequences of human trafficking, which range from the physical abuse and torture of victims to the psychological trauma, are compelling and unacceptable. The impact of trafficking on individuals and society is clearly destructive (UNODC 2008: 4).
Though trafficking has political and economic consequences on countries and societies, it is the individual victim that felt the most pervasive impacts of trafficking. child trafficking has an impact on the individuals it victimizes in all areas of their life, every stage of the trafficking process can involve physical, sexual and psychological abuse and violence, deprivation and torture, the forced use of substances, manipulation, economic exploitations and abusive working and living conditions (UNODC 2008: 9).
Physical and health effects of child are that the majorities of jobs that children’s do are harm to their physical development and even cause physical deformities after they trafficked from home place. In this regard children engaged in housed holds fen, garages, woods, daily labors and others without protective wears which in turn results in physical and psychological effect on children’s (WHO, 2004).
The study on trafficked children for the purpose of sexual exploitation indicated that variety of result of sexual exploitation include long term emotional, behavioral, social and sexual problem. Children involved in commercial sexual exploitation experience physical harm that means rape, beating and assault by client’s partners and HIV/AIDS (ILO, 2004).
Trafficked girls are far more affected than boys both in terms of rehabbers as well as security of conditions they undergo. As the study conducted by ILO (2004) indicated children involved in domestic labor perform physical tasks including washing, looking, fetching water, gate keeping, looking after animals, taking and collecting children from school, laundry work, collecting fire wood, cultivating garden and others.
Jeanine Readliner (2004) disclosed that trafficking has devastating consequences for those who fall victim to it, but it is especially damaging for children because its impact will last into the child’s future. In the worst cases, trafficking and the exploitation it involves can cause a child’s death, serious illness or permanent injury. The journey might be treacherous; the conditions of work are often dangerous; the standard of living provided by traffickers is invariably substandard. Jeanine further disclosed trafficked children may be denied access to doctors and health workers who could report their situation to the authorities. Often children who fall ill are simply turned out onto the streets by their exploiters and left to fend for themselves or in some cases may suffer a worse fate.
There are a number of further specific scourges occur in children’s life as long as they leave their local environment due to one or more reason; for example, physical maltreatment.( Belay ,200; Inter-American Commission of Women, 2001). Substance abuse and reproductive health diseases including HIV/AIDS.(Inter-American Commission of Women, 2001).Social stigma and sensitivity to domestic violence (ESRC Research Group, 2006).
2.7. Key actors involved in child trafficking
According to UNICEF Innocenti research center 2000, trafficking process or network involves three key actors: victims, users and traffickers.
The recruitment of the victim often occurs in one of two ways: (a) traffickers contact the potential victim or his or her family – in many cases traffickers know the victim or the victim’s family and are likely to take advantage of a condition of general vulnerability e.g. illiteracy, poverty, lack of information (b) a potential victim or his or her family contact traffickers – the potential victim is usually in a precarious position, seeking help to escape a situation of oppression, desperation or persecution and to reach a desired destination. This can lead to a possible link between smuggling and trafficking. UNICEF, 2000