UNICEF's mandate relates to protection of children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation and is based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Trafficked children are sexually exploited, forced into marriage or illegally adopted. They provide cheap or unpaid labour, work as house servants or beggars, are recruited into armed groups and are used for sports.
Trafficking exposes children to violence, sexual abuse and HIV infection and violates their rights to be protected, grow up in a family environment and have access to education.
Case example from UNICEF
UNICEF believes that the best way to protect children from trafficking is to create a protective environment for all children - one which safeguards them from exploitation and abuse before it happens. Such a "protective environment" requires commitments by all stakeholders, and includes government commitment, legislation and enforcement, open discussion, children's life skills, capacity of families and communities, essential services for prevention, recovery and reintegration, and monitoring and reporting.
Demand, both for commercial sex and for cheap labour, plays a fundamental role; without demand there is no supply. In the fight against trafficking, efforts must be made to address demand for trafficked children, in addition to breaking the supply chain. UNICEF works with many partners in all areas - from the grassroots to the highest political levels - to create an environment in which children can grow up in safety and in dignity.