April 21, 2014

Issue Paper 5: Children, Adolescents and Human Trafficking: Making sense of a complex problem

This Issue Paper presents current knowledge about the scope and meaning of child trafficking. Although it might seem to be a simple subject to describe, it is not. First, there is the question of what a ‘child’ is. The international definition in the Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a ‘child’ as a person under the age of 18 but, at the same time, it recognizes the evolving capacity of adolescents to engage in certain activities and make certain decisions (UN Child Rights Convention, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2003).

Additionally, there is confusion about how to distinguish between child employment, which is permissible, and child labor, which is not. Also, there is a conflict between international law and local practices because, in many countries, children routinely start to work before reaching the minimum legal age for employment set by international law. Read the article.

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