Children in crisis are boys and girls affected by sexual exploitation, hazardous labour, war, street life, violence, disability, or lack of a primary caregiver.
An estimated one billion children live in poverty around the world. They face extraordinary hardship resulting from difficult, often desperate living situations or exclusion. Children are more vulnerable than adults, and have less capacity for self-protection and survival because of an under-developed mental and emotional capacity at their young age.
An estimated 1.2 million children are being trafficked each year*. Girls and boys have been tricked into bonded labour, militarism, global sex trade and more. And these children are often helpless because of poverty, organised crime, lack of education and even corrupt system.
Impoverished girls from rural areas are constantly sold or stolen to serve as sex slaves in brothels. Especially in poor communities, young girls are regarded as commodities, where families can get some income from selling them.
There are about 250,000 child soldiers actively serving in armies and rebel groups around the world**.
Almost 200 million children are currently involved in child labour***. Subject to harsh environments, minimal or no pay, and under threat of violence, these children had once hoped that the work they sought would support and protect their livelihood. However, that is seldom the case. Lack of proper contracts, falsified identity papers and corrupt systems allow the employer to exploit the child.
*International Labor Organization, 2002
**UN Special Representative on Child Soldiers
***UN Children’s Fund
Su Su was abandoned by her parents since she was three years old. Yet, she had to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of her family, including four younger siblings. Her subsequent years were traumatising, as she lived on the streets, and eventually had to succumb to prostitution.