KARA tracks current news about at risk children bringing transparency and attention to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Share these stories with your networks.
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Compilation of information and writing on this page is the hard work of KARA volunteer Eshanee Singh
Guyana: The work children do
The incident of a 16-year-old girl who was shot working in a restaurant raises the question of labour standards and what the definition of child labour really is.
India: Child marriage and the cycle of poverty
The Asian Age
India’s statistics on child marriages are questionable given the disparities between the urban and rural environment. Often times as a consequence, the children in child marriages engage in, what some may define as, child labour and other life depriving activities out of economic. necessity.
India: Human traffickers in India force 300,000 children to beg in the streets: Police
The Straits Times
Abducted children are forced into child trafficking and begging on the streets of India, earning money to support traffickers and their illegal industries.
Canada: The Trafficked: How sex trafficking works in Canada
The Globe and Mail
A step by step breakdown of the the human trafficking process in Canada. How, more often than not, young girls are lured into the business.
Philippines: “The Philippines had 1.8 million abandoned children. Here’s what keeps many from adoption.”
Los Angeles Times
Sri Lanka – Vulnerable children the focus of care agencies
The Sunday Times
Children, generally from low income families, are being displaced by natural disasters. They are being housed in relief camps. Because these vulnerable children are being displaced, they face long term continuos interruptions in they’re education.
Nepal – Child marriages still endemic in Nepal
Due to economic and social pressures, girls at a very young aged are forced to leave their education and enter into a marriage, often facing domestic violence and rape.
South Asia – India – SAARC Countries Unite Over Anti-Child Trafficking Drive
Addressing the need for regional cooperation in South Asia to tackle the problem of human trafficking of women and children.
Bangladesh – Poverty remains key reason behind missing children
High level of poverty in some areas has created a convenient spot for criminals to abduct children. The number of reported missing children continues to rise at an alarming rate and if unreported missing children statistics are to be included, authorities and the public would be in for a rude awakening of what has been occurring behind the scenes for years.
Bangladesh – Why are Bangladesh’s children being murdered?
What explains the sudden rise of violence against children. Why are the children of Bangladesh being murdered?
India – India’s Overlooked Crisis of Malnutrition
India, and the world, fails to recognize the data that illustrates the malnutrition of many children in India. A supposedly economic beacon is in the company of some of the world’s underdeveloped countries on measures of malnutrition. Although, such levels are not necessarily wide-sweeping, variations exists in levels across states.
Canada – Introduce sugar tax, ban food and drink ads for kids: Senate obesity report
With the rise in childhood obesity and even levels of adult obesity, the Canadian Senate makes recommendations, including a sugar tax and revisions to Canada’s food guide cutting input from industry, in an attempt to tackle Canada’s obesity crisis.
India: Babies for sale: how criminals are infiltrating Indian hospitals and buying children from unwed mothers
South China Morning Post – International Edition
India’s lengthy adoption process and high levels of human trafficking of women and children created a blackmarket of adoption. Mothers are willingly abandoning their babies at hospitals giving or selling them to agents who then turn these babies into blackmarket babies by selling them to couples for adoption.
India – Obesity among children in Bangalore is on the rise
The Times of India
Despite high levels of malnutrition and underweight children in several states of India, obesity among children remains a major issue as inactivity and unhealthy eating habits become the norm in society.
India – All infants were underweight: Hospital
The Times of India
Babies born with dangerously low weights are being transferred to bigger hospitals with little to no hope of saving. The problem of underweight children stems back to the pregnancy of women that lack the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrition to ensure a healthy birth of their children.
Syria – ISIS release shocking new video of child soldiers from Kazakhstan being trained with AK47s
A detailed description of an ISIS propaganda video of the training process and conditions of Kazakhstani children recruited by ISIS in Syria.
Canada – Canada discriminates against children on reserves, tribunal rules
The federal government of Canada fails to meet equal standards of child welfare for children both on and off reserves. Children and families on reserves receive much less funding than children off reserves. Rather than recognizing children’s human rights the government has racked up legal fess into the millions defending themselves. Some argue that they should not have to bring the government to court to get fair treatment.
Canada – 60% of First Nation children on reserve live in poverty, institutes says
There is a trend of worsening poverty levels among First Nation reserves in prairie provinces. Although these provinces and most of Canada has seen positive economic growth, poverty levels on reserves are surprisingly and embarrassingly high. For a developed country who itself provides aid to other countries with high levels of poverty, it is assumed and expected that poverty would be at least minimal to eradicated.
Canada – Ottawa has until today to confirm equal child welfare treatment for First Nations
A general outline of principle the Canadian government will implement in an attempt to remedy child poverty in reserves.
Canada – Canada’s child-welfare crisis brings calls for reform from across the country
The shockingly grave conditions of two deceased children and the “honour killing” of teenage girls leads to the questioning of the standard of the Canadian child welfare supervision.
Africa, Middle East, Asia – Recruitment, killing of children in conflicts rose in 2015: UN report
Countries with rebel groups involved in conflicts has seen a rise in the recruitment of children and also a rise in violence, including killing and sexual violence, against children in conflict zones who are caught in the cross hairs of these conflicts.
Saudi Arabia – UN blacklist Saudi Arabia-led coalition for ‘killing and maiming’ children in Yemen air strikes
With the increase in violence in Yemen Saudi Arabia has stepped up its level of military intervention in support of the Yemen government. This intervention however has led to direct air strikes on schools and hospitals and the recruitment of and violence against children. Despite Saudi Arabia claiming adheres to International Humanitarian Law , several incidents of the political and military fight has proved to have disregarded child rights and IHL.
Bangladesh – No one ever asked these girls their opinion: the forgotten child brides of Bangladesh
A film maker looks at why girls are often forced to marry an older man and the effects of such marriage on their livelihoods.
Pakistan – Afghan refugees girls: Child marriages stifling education plans, says UN report
The Express Tribune
Child marriages and teen pregnancies prevent Afghan refugee girls from beginning an education or continuing their education.
Thailand – HRW: Migrant children in Thailand ‘suffer in filthy, overcrowded cells’
Migrant children arriving in Thailand are needlessly being held in detention lockup, disregarding their well being and rights on a long term basis. Despite the explicit violations and abuse committed against these children in detention, the Thai government denies any of these allegations. Rather than adjusting migration policies to ensure the health and well being of at least children, i.e. ensuring child vaccination a step that would benefit the health of Thai children, Thai government officials state that the responsibility for the situations of migrant children should be placed on the migrant parents.
Guatemala – Guatemala ‘closes its eyes’ to rampant child sex trafficking – U.N.
Sex trafficking takes on a social and cultural tolerance and acceptance in Guatemala. The industry supports the GDP of the country which may explain some level of political acceptance. In Guatemala a possible explanation for the high levels of sex trafficking is the high levels of domestic violence, what some may consider to be a gateway offence.
India – Merge schools for quality education, Irani tells Punjab
The Indian Express
The government’s response to a lack of funding, shortage of staff and/or inadequate funding, such schools should be merged together. Such a response is questionable because although schools would be merged together funding would not be increased or more staff would not be provided. The consequence of this idea is more children forced to share already under staffed and under funded facilities.
Bangladesh – School building in southern Bangladesh too risky for students
The Daily Star
Efforts of the local community must be commended for them taking initiative in building a school for local children to attend. The government’s efforts to recognize the school and to provide funding for the school was lagging and when the government did build and nationalize the school it was only a temporary bandage fix to the problem. While the building built in 1980 is in danger of collapsing, children in the area have no other choice but to continue to attend school there.
India – Civil servants run poor quality schools for India’s kids, but want premium schools for their own
The Indian government subsidizes private schools ensuring high quality premium education for the children of civil servants, important business people, and well known people of entertainment and news. The development of one of this type of school in a region in India created demand for more schools of this type across other regions of the country. With more and more funding going towards private schools for the rich and famous, the government fails to provide basic public resources for public schools.
Senegal – Gambia: Raddho Senegal on child begging ‘Talibe’
Despite child begging being in direct violation of the constitution, the practice continues to happen without any sing of reducing. Child begging directly physically and psychologically affects the children. If there is no intervention on behalf of the state, the matter is not going to cease and will more than likely have long term effects on the children.
India – Childhood obesity, an ‘exploding nightmare’
The Times of India
Childhood obesity is on the rise in India. Accompanying childhood obesity is the adverse long term health effects, for example, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and more, and the psychological effects. Responsibility for preventing and treating childhood obesity rests on not just parents and families but also schools, faith based institutions, government agencies medical care providers and other institutions that are directly and/or indirectly involved in the lives of children.
Canada – Marching for equality for First Nations youth
The group the First Nations Caring Society organizes a walk to highlight forgotten inequalities between First Nations and non-First nations youth. Not only are they bringing attention to inequalities, they are putting pressure on the Prime Minister Trudeau to uphold campaign promises of new relationships and new funding for First Nation peoples, including child welfare and education. Programs that are offered for children off reserves are not equally available for children on reserves. Promises are always made for increase funding and to help fix inequalities between First Nations and non-First Nations youth but, such promises are hardly ever kept.
Syria – Children pay the highest price for the refugee crisis
Syria holds one of the highest population of child refugees and it is the place where it is the most dangerous to be a child refugee, yet Syria has a population of one million child refugees that aid workers cannot reach. Because support cannot be given by aid workers, the lack of priority the government gives, and the insufficient capacity of the country’s health care system to support a dramatic increase of refugees, immunization rates has fallen and the number of cases and severity of disease and illnesses have increased. Also, militant groups bombing health care facilities for political motivations does not help the situation. Being exposes the harsh conditions of Syria as a refugee, the mental and psychological health of children are in jeopardy.
South Africa – Child protection week to focus on issues faced by SA’s children
Highlighting steps child protection services and the Gauteng government plans on taking to make a positive step towards ensuring the welfare of children in South Africa.
France – The number of children at the infamous Jungle camp in Calais without parents rises by a third in a month with more than 500 living there now
Children fleeing military conscription, ethnic prescription and extremist groups to reach Europe are living in displaced regions having made unstable and dangerous journeys. In these camps daily children are subjected to sexual exploitation, violence and forced labour. The youngest unaccompanied child was just 10 years old and the youngest resident in the camp is only 4 months old.
World refugee day finds record number of children displaced and in danger
Save the Children
Concern is raised at the alarming amount of refugees that are under the age of 18 and the conditions and dangers they must face as child refugees. It is agree that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of refugees and to improve conditions so that children are afforded an education and continuation of a childhood. Political solutions need to be negotiated to solve the root of the problem, conflicts that are forcing families to flee their homes.
Greece – Refugee life, as seen by children fleeing war
Detailing teenagers’ journey from Syria to Greece, including their journey by sea where they were without food or water for several days. Some of the refugee children had to sleep on benches, were thrown in jail or had the borders closed off to them when arriving to their destination.
West Africa -Here’s how terrorists recruit Africa’s children
The Daily Beast
Terrorist groups in West Africa persuade families with young boys to send them to ‘Islamic schools’ or an ‘education’ in exchange for monetary compensation. While boys are bought and sold for military/terrorist purposes, young girls are bought, sold and abducted to become wives of militants. Families in poverty often sell their children to armed groups out of economic necessity and/or desperation. In addition to parents, children are lured into the appeal of money and possible fighting for God if the terrorist group(s) has religious affiliation. A fallout of the trafficked children is that often times they are left on streets begging for food and money or are put to work on farms harvesting cotton, cocoa, and gold.
Liberia – Liberia: ‘right to education key for African children’
Although education is recognized as the right of every child and beneficial for the country as a whole, this right is not ensured for all children in Africa. The education that some do receive is not of a high standard or quality that would put African children in a position to ably compete with their peers in the rest of the world. Change and support needs to be made at the top in governments to help improve the accessibility and quality of education.
Thailand – Natural disasters have high negative impact on children and schools in Asia Pacific
In the wake of severe natural disasters the future of children’s education is uncertain. In Asia Pacific countries schools are either damaged or destroyed and no replacement/secondary locations are set up subsequently interrupting children’s education for long term periods. Schools can also be flooded and submerged in high flood waters making schools and education inaccessible. If not damaged, destroyed or flooded, school building are used as emergency and evacuation centres leaving children without a building to continue their education.
Canada – Barbara Kay: The Problem with Children’s Aid Societies
The National Post
Looking at four general problems with the system of Children’s Aid Societies, for example how Children’s Aid Societies can abuse and misuse their extensive power for their own financial incentives by neglecting the rights of parents and children.
Canada – Manitoba child welfare could have saved Phoenix Sinclair from ‘cruel’ mother, ‘sadistic’ boyfriend: judge
The National Post
Illustrating the failures and problems of the Children’s Aid Society in Manitoba, Canada, through a tragic example case of a five-year-old girl who ultimately succumbed to the injuries she sustained at the hands of her mother and the mother’s boyfriend.
Canada – Ontario family hopes devastating loss will start conversation about mental illness
Raising awareness about the severity and seriousness of mental illness and suicide among teens.
Canada – How do you stop a youth suicide crisis from happening? Experts say it begins with education
A recent rise in teen suicides brings awareness that mental illness is a present and persistent issues that needs attention. Global News explains possible reasons for a rise in youth suicides and mental illnesses. Steps that can be taken to prevent mental illness related incidents and steps to help those suffering with mental illnesses are suggested.
Lebanon – The child refugees forced to rise at 3am to carry out back breaking work after leaving Syria: Boys as young as right who become ‘the man of the family’ after fleeing war
Pictures telling the stories of young Syrian boys working to financially support their families, forcing them to ‘grow up’ and ‘mature’ much earlier, depriving them of a childhood.
Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyzstan: MPs say no to banning underage Islamic marriage
Young girls and women are physically forced into marriages through a customary practice of bride kidnapping and the religious justification of young marriages. Although laws are in place making marriage legal for those 18 and above, a lack of enforcement makes these laws useless.
Poll reveals 80pc of teenagers worldwide fear online sexual abuse and exploitation
South China Morning Post
With an increase in internet and social media use among younger children the possibility and exposure to sexual harassment and abuse increases.
Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka to gradually stop export of maids
The Straits Times
Children of maids, exported to various countries working in below acceptable standards of labour, face sexual abuse and denial of rights.
Why we need to transform our food system urgently
The Huffington Post
Often overlooked, agriculture is a very important sector to development, poverty, hunger, the environment and more. Yet the way in which agriculture is produced is not sustainable and does not produce quality foods, leaving global citizens either with malnutrition or hunger.
Singapore – Woman acquitted of sexual assault as law ‘does not cover women as offenders’
Channel News Asia
Singaporean law discriminates according to gender when it comes to sexual assault. Instead loop holes but be found in order to have charges brought forward against a woman offender.
Egypt – Egyptian teenager dies after undergoing female genital mutilation
International Business Times
Cultural practices forces young girls to have genital mutilation surgeries with life threaten consequences.
Indonesia – Despite ban, female genital mutilation widespread in Indonesia: Report
Providing cultural context for female genital mutilation and how the Indonesian government ensures the protection of the rights of girls forced into these surgeries.
Thailand – Thailand: Over 10 million children in nation’s workforce, 85, 000 in high risk jobs
Despite legal changes children are still forced to work in harmful conditions out of economic necessity. Laws in place to protect children’s rights are not being enforced.
West Africa – Is there child labour in your chocolate?
Dependence on child labour for cocoa farming is most likely behind the chocolate we eat so as to support the low prices we pay. Again, children work in hazardous conditions and are denied the opportunity at a childhood because of economic necessity, lack of available quality education and minimal to no enforcement of laws. A solution is available that is making strides in improving cocoa farming – fair trade chocolate.
West Africa – Was your easter chocolate made with child labour?
Poverty is one of the main factors driving the child labour used in the cocoa farms where the chocolate companies we all know and love, i.e. Nestle and Hershey, get their cocoa from, a problem which is getting worse.
Guyana – Over 3,000 child molestation reports made last year
In recent years reports of sexual abuse of children have been reported, however; an increase in reports more likely means that there is greater awareness of the problem of abuse and a willingness of victims and their families to report what has happened or what is happening. For more reports to be brought forward victims must feel empowered and that their voices will be heard and taken seriously if a claim is made. In this society if a claim is made of sexual abuse or of other forms of abuse, it is brushed aside and not given priority.
Canada – CAMH to open 3 youth mental health walk-in clinics in Toronto
With a rise in awareness of the severity of mental illness among younger generations and in an attempt to correct the system, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) opens up more facilities to provide access to help they made need, especially for those over 18 where there is a gap in services.
Canada – Three walk in clinics for youth mental health opening in Toronto
With a rise in teen suicides in an Ontario city, high school students protest the lack of attention to the issue. CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) takes steps towards empower the youth mental health system.
Canada – Many Canadian kids ‘aren’t moving enough to be tired, and they may also be too tired to love’: report
Majority of Canadian children are not getting sleep required for healthy growth and also they spending too much time be sedentary and not enough being active. More time is spent in front screens which may in turn be affecting their amount and quality of sleep.
Canada – Stop gender assignment surgery on intersex children, says advocate
Medical intervention in the case of intersex children uses the binary system of gender to determine the sex of a intersex child thus taking away the choice causing serious physical and psychological trauma.
Canada – Alex Radita fell through the cracks of cross-border child welfare, advocate says
The death of a teen who had suffered before succumbing to untreated diabetes complications brings awareness to the lack of attention child welfare pays to cases that move out of province and slip through the cracks. Child welfare services already are questionable within provinces and there is even more of a need for better communication and follow up of cases between provinces. With the extent of technology these days there should be a better form of access to information across the country, such as the one that the police use.
Syria – Islamic state abducts dozens of Kurdish civilians in Aleppo
Breitbart News Network
Innocent child in A Syrian city are strategically targeted and abducted to be used as human shields and hostages by terrorist groups. If not abducted, special schools are built and textbooks are replaced to indoctrinate children for future recruitment. Out of this fear that their children will be taught such a curriculum, parents are taking their children out of school, subsequently depriving children of an education.
Europe – UNICEF warns of physical, sexual ‘abuse & exploitation’ for child refugees en route to Europe
The reality is more often than not children are being trafficked by human traffickers to Europe. Children seeking asylum in Europe face slave like conditions, face sexual abuse and are exploited. There is a hope for a better life but end up in conditions that are far from safe, free and life promoting. Even if they have reached a ‘safe’ land, some are forced to return to the country they are fleeing from.
Niger – Refugee crisis: 20 children ‘die of thirst after bring abandoned by people smugglers’ in Niger desert
Human traffickers abandon children they have attempted to smuggle. Government authorities often place blame on illegal immigrants, however; some may argue that stricter laws ought to be created and enforced in order to prevent children and adults from being targeted, kidnapped, smuggled and trafficked. It can also be argued that measure must be taken to eradicate the push factors that make families desperate to leave a country, e.g. war, poverty, abuse, persecution.
Lebanon – Child slavery, prostitution and ‘survival sex’ rages among Syrian refugees in Lebanon due to ‘not jobs for adults’ policy and UN denial
Due to a funding crisis child refugees are forced into life depriving situations, again, out of economic necessity. Job creation and education lacks in the country in which children and their families have migrated to forcing them into hard labour and sex work for life necessities (food, water, shelter). These children are trapped because there is no legal protection for them and they cannot return to their home countries.
Uzbekistan – What’s the verdict on forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest?
Although forced child labour in Uzbek’s cotton field have dropped due to international pressures, children working in cotton fields though not as prevalent is still visible.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – Why you could be wearing cotton picked by forced labour
The CNN Freedom Project
Exploring the institutionalized systems of forced labour of children and adults picking cotton for the monopolized cotton market in Central Asia and how everyday citizens in Central Asia and across the world can spark change
India – Nobel Laureate Satyarthi says companies cannot flourish on child slavery
Anti-trafficking laws and labour standards laws are in place and are being created yet child labour is present in the supply chain and businesses. Why? Perhaps the lack of government interest in uphold these laws due to financial, economic and/or political incentives.
Canada – Toxic jewelry: Cadmium found in Ardene, Aldo products
Fashion products that young children are using contain harmful and toxic chemicals, chemicals which children bodies absorb more readily.