14 December 2005 – Hundreds of millions of children suffer from severe exploitation, becoming virtually invisible to the world – millions of them victims of trafficking and domestic servitude – and governments must step up remedial measures with legislation and funding, according to a new United Nations report released today.
“Meeting the Millennium Development Goals depends on reaching vulnerable children throughout the developing world,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said, launching the agency’s report in London and referring to UN targets set at a 2000 summit which aim to address a host of socio-economic ills by 2015, including extreme hunger, poverty and lack of access to education and health care.
“There cannot be lasting progress if we continue to overlook the children most in need – the poorest and most vulnerable, the exploited and the abused,” she added.
The State of the World’s Children 2006: Excluded and Invisible is a sweeping assessment of the world’s most vulnerable children, whose rights to a safe and healthy childhood are exceptionally difficult to protect. These children are growing up beyond the reach of development campaigns and are often invisible in everything from public debate and legislation, to statistics and news stories.
Noting that millions of children disappear from view when trafficked or forced to work in domestic servitude while others, such as street children, live in plain sight but are excluded from fundamental services and protections, enduring abuse and denied school, healthcare and other vital services, the report probes four main causes and proposes four key remedies. As the four principal culprits it cites: