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September 2, 2009 / chinaview.cn
MANILA, (Xinhua) -- A United Nations agency has identified the Philippines as one of the seven countries in Asia with the worst child trafficking condition.
A study by the UN Children's Education Fund (UNICEF) entitled "Child Trafficking in East and Southeast Asia: Reversing the Trend," said that throughout East and South East Asia, various socio-economic, family and individual factors render children vulnerable to trafficking.
These factors are poverty, family breakdown, the low status and role of children in their societies, lack of educational and viable employment opportunities, rapid economic growth and urbanization, gender inequality, discrimination, and the demand for illegal adoption, brides and sexual relations with children.
"Poor legal and regulatory frameworks, weak law enforcement, under-resourced social welfare services, limited capacity of service providers and the lack of recognition of or respect for children's fundamental rights have adversely impacted the lives of millions of children in the region," said the 55-page report released on Tuesday.
Apart from the Philippines, other countries assessed in the study are China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
It noted that the problem of child trafficking has yet to be stemmed amid the best efforts by the governments and aid agencies.
"The trafficking of children has become a priority concern to many governments across East and South-East Asia. It remains one of the most challenging child protection issues to address, with some advocates and practitioners claiming that the intense focus by governments, development agencies, donors and the media on child trafficking would be better placed on the wider issues of child exploitation, unsafe migration, or child protection more generally," UNICEF said.
In a region where the demand for young brides, adoptive infants, sex with children, images of child pornography, and cheap labor is strong, the study said children may be trafficked at source or during migration, either en route or after reaching their destination.
It noted that origin, transit and destination countries for child trafficking exist throughout the East and South East Asian region, with some countries characterized as origin and destination, transit and destination, and others encompassing all three.
Internal trafficking, from rural to urban centers, and from small towns to big cities, is also a considerable dynamic, although less researched in comparison to cross-border trafficking, it said.
In some countries, such as the Philippines, the country assessment indicated that internal trafficking is more of a problem than its cross-border form.
"In the Philippines, children are mainly trafficked from the rural regions of Visayas and Mindanao to the urban cities of Cebu City, Manila and Quezon City," the study said.
Editor: Lin Liyu