The New Slavery: child soldiers, sweat shops & sex abuse FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 7 Nov 1998 14:16:11 -0400


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=46WD  Reuters - Nov 06, 1998


MILLIONS OF CHILDREN ABUSED WORLDWIDE, MEETING TOLD

By Michele Kambas


NICOSIA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Millions of children worldwide
are easy prey for exploitation and abuse, either in an armed
conflict, as a source of cheap labour or in prostitution,
speakers at a conference in Cyprus said on Friday.

As a United Nations convention on the rights of the child
marks a decade since its inception, there were millions who
were still deprived of their childhood in countries which had
signed up to the treaty.

About 250 million children between the ages of five and 14
were working, 100 million were homeless street children, 10
million were bonded into slavery around the world and
300,000 under the age of eighteen fought as combatants in
regular or irregular armies.

``Across the world, child slaves are making bricks, charcoal,
jewellery and fireworks. They are mining, logging, farming,
selling, begging, hauling goods and being prostituted,'' said
Kevin Bales, professor at the Roehampton Institute in London.

The trend, which he called ``New Slavery'' was fuelled by
greed; cruelty was just a tool in a process of economic
exploitation.

``Our little measures of greed -- for better returns on our
investments, or for fatter pension funds -- feed into the great
rivers of greed that wash across the developing world and
draw the vulnerable into slavery,'' he told delegates at the
conference organised by the Nicosia-based Centre for World
Dialogue.

Children were no longer accidental victims in armed conflict,
said Nigel Fisher, a visiting United Nations Fellow at the
Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development in Ottawa.

In the past decade, millions had been killed or else they had
died from malnutrition or diseases which could have been
prevented. Tens of millions more had been disabled or made
refugees, he said.

``War is waged against children and intentionally so. They are
killed because they represent the future of the opposing ethnic
community,'' he said.

Briton Bruce Harris, executive director of Caza Alianza, an
independent childcare agency, said there were some 40 million
street children in Latin America left to fend for themselves.

If that were not bad enough, they had become the defenceless
victims of exploitation, torture and murder.

``Street kids is a political problem. It can be resolved if the
resources are put there, but they are not,'' said Harris, who
has been given international awards for his aid work.

Boys survived by begging, girls quickly fell into the grip of
prostitution while in Guatemala baby trafficking had surged, he
said.

In some cases, babies were adopted by questionable means.
Sometimes the the baby was stolen or the mother tricked into
handing over her child.

It was an industry worth $25 million a year, said Harris.

``It is easy to get babies in Guatemala. You can even buy
babies over the internet in Guatemala,'' he told Reuters.

``I am not against international adoptions but babies should not
be treated as merchandise... exporting babies to the U.S. or
North America and giving them (designer) sports shoes and a
skateboard doesn't necessarily give them happiness.

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=46WD  Reuters - Nov 06, 1998=20



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>MILLIONS OF CHILDREN ABUSED
WORLDWIDE, MEETING TOLD


By Michele Kambas=20

</paraindent>


NICOSIA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Millions of children worldwide

are easy prey for exploitation and abuse, either in an armed

conflict, as a source of cheap labour or in prostitution,

speakers at a conference in Cyprus said on Friday.=20


As a United Nations convention on the rights of the child

marks a decade since its inception, there were millions who

were still deprived of their childhood in countries which had

signed up to the treaty.=20


About 250 million children between the ages of five and 14

were working, 100 million were homeless street children, 10

million were bonded into slavery around the world and

300,000 under the age of eighteen fought as combatants in

regular or irregular armies.=20


``Across the world, child slaves are making bricks, charcoal,

jewellery and fireworks. They are mining, logging, farming,

selling, begging, hauling goods and being prostituted,'' said

Kevin Bales, professor at the Roehampton Institute in London.


The trend, which he called ``New Slavery'' was fuelled by

greed; cruelty was just a tool in a process of economic

exploitation.=20


``Our little measures of greed -- for better returns on our

investments, or for fatter pension funds -- feed into the great

rivers of greed that wash across the developing world and

draw the vulnerable into slavery,'' he told delegates at the

conference organised by the Nicosia-based Centre for World

Dialogue.=20


Children were no longer accidental victims in armed conflict,

said Nigel Fisher, a visiting United Nations Fellow at the

Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development in Ottawa.=20


In the past decade, millions had been killed or else they had

died from malnutrition or diseases which could have been

prevented. Tens of millions more had been disabled or made

refugees, he said.=20


``War is waged against children and intentionally so. They are

killed because they represent the future of the opposing ethnic

community,'' he said.=20


Briton Bruce Harris, executive director of Caza Alianza, an

independent childcare agency, said there were some 40 million

street children in Latin America left to fend for themselves.=20


If that were not bad enough, they had become the defenceless

victims of exploitation, torture and murder.=20


``Street kids is a political problem. It can be resolved if the

resources are put there, but they are not,'' said Harris, who

has been given international awards for his aid work.=20


Boys survived by begging, girls quickly fell into the grip of

prostitution while in Guatemala baby trafficking had surged, he

said.=20


In some cases, babies were adopted by questionable means.

Sometimes the the baby was stolen or the mother tricked into

handing over her child.=20


It was an industry worth $25 million a year, said Harris.=20


``It is easy to get babies in Guatemala. You can even buy

babies over the internet in Guatemala,'' he told Reuters.=20


``I am not against international adoptions but babies should not

be treated as merchandise... exporting babies to the U.S. or

North America and giving them (designer) sports shoes and a

skateboard doesn't necessarily give them happiness.


END FORWARD

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