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Cheated of childhood


When I was a kid, a 10 years old girl from my neighborhood suddenly disappeared. According to the police, it was most likely that the girl was kidnapped on her way to school. The teachers were highly alarmed and informed the parents, discussing how children could be better protected. The police was asking for helpful information on television and in the newspapers. There were even some missing person reports pinned on trees.


But, what happens, when nobody feels responsible for a child? Many kids are not growing up in a safe environment, under the watchful eyes of their parents. Millions of children are living on the street, fighting for something to eat and a place to stay every single day. The documentation "Cheated of childhood" shows the difficult and very dangerous situation of street children in Russia. Two boys are telling us, how they where forced to leave their families, by violent family members. Begging for money and hoping not to come across a pedophile, they are making their way through St. Petersburg. Most of the street kids are involved with criminal activities, drugs, alcoholism and prostitution. According to this documentation there are one million homeless children throughout Russia. The films "Streetwise Kids- Romania" and "Children from under ground - Mongolia" draw a similar picture. Who will ever notice, if one of those kids disappears?


The film "Sold children- Albania" teaches us, since the mid 90s about 500 children and teenagers were reported missing in Albania. In order to improve the safety of the children, the school keeps its doors locked during class, guarded by an employee. The situation is already serious in the cities, but it is even more dangerous on the countryside. A sister of a missing boy tells us her story. One day an Italian company arrives, pretending to look for oil. One week later her brother and the company disappeared at the same time.


Finally I'd like to strongly recommend you watching the documentation "lonely pack", dealing with street kids in Kathmandu. Without commentary, it is showing the daily life of children living on the streets of Nepal.


Five years later, the girl of my neighborhood was found, thanks to collaboration of an attentive citizen. Investigators found out that the girl was caged in the flat of a sex offender. Although it took a long time to find her, the police and her parents never gave up and kept looking for her. If everybody would pay more attention to the environment, I believe traffickers couldn't abduct persons that easy, without anyone noticing.


Note: All the films mentioned are included in the MEDIA HUB. Visit the page if you want to find out more about UN.GIFT's recommendations on films about Human Trafficking.


Veronika Gruber started her UN.GIFT Internship in November 2010. She recently finished her Bachelor in communications und public relations at the University of Vienna. Veronika is currently writing her diploma thesis about the issue of human trafficking in political science.


The Intern's blog section is an open space for discussions on human trafficking offered by the UN.GIFT.HUB.

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