Alexandria, VA (May 16, 2022) — In times of conflict and crisis, children are at a heightened risk of not just violence and displacement, but of going missing, being trafficked, and of being sexually exploited and abused. The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) has released 15 Recommendations to Address the Risks of Abuse, Exploitation, and Going Missing.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has resulted in a mass migration in which more than 5.9 million people have fled the country and become refugees. Another 8 million people have been internally displaced within the country. The significant and traumatic impact on children cannot be overlooked.
“Children who are displaced are more vulnerable to a multitude of dangers,” says Bob Cunningham, CEO of ICMEC, “Their lack of maturity and education, as well as vulnerabilities related to their ongoing physical and psychological development, predispose them to an increased risk of exploitation and to going missing prior to, during, and after their journeys.”
Risk may continue once the destination is reached, as abuse and violence may occur in refugee camps, detention centers, or even private homes. Traffickers/exploiters may take advantage of a child’s or family’s desperate need to find work and housing.
The Ukrainian crisis is one of multiple mass migrations occurring within the past 25 years, with children and families from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, and countries confronting similar dangers as they flee their homes and attempt to reach safety.
With the proper resources, partnerships, and tools in place, migrant children will have a better chance of living healthier and safer lives. ICMEC has released two resources to address these issues:
Protecting Children on the Move: Understanding and Addressing the Risks of Abuse, Exploitation, and Going Missing during Migration — This report draws attention to the vulnerabilities of children in all stages of migration, will highlight children as a global priority for the attention and protection of governments and organizations around the world, and, through the recommendations provided, will offer guidance for addressing the challenges of keeping children safe during their journeys.
Protecting Children on the Move: 15 Recommendations to Address the Risks of Abuse, Exploitation, and Going Missing — ICMEC developed actionable companion recommendations to assist our partners including law enforcement, policymakers, industry stakeholders, educators, and healthcare professionals around the world in the protection of children in vulnerable communities.
It is imperative for countries to consider adopting, and fully enforcing, systems, strategies, and legislation that serve and protect the best interests of migrating children and youth. Such tools should place an emphasis on preventative and protective measures to mitigate the likelihood of children going missing or being exploited.
To learn more visit: https://www.icmec.org/research-library/
About the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC):
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization working to make the world a safer place for all children by defending against child sexual exploitation, abuse, and the risk of going missing. Headquartered in the United States, ICMEC works with partners around the world to develop research, technologies, and educational resources to aid in the search and recovery of children who are missing, fight online exploitation online, and empower caring professionals, institutions, and communities to safeguard children from all forms of sexual abuse. For more information go to www.icmec.org.