It is estimated that there are 5.4 million children worldwide living in institutions that are unable to meet their needs and neglect their rights. This includes so-called orphanages, where on average more than 80% of children are not orphans. In addition, an estimated 9.965 million children live in modern slavery, which includes trafficking for all forms of exploitation, including sexual abuse, crime and forced labour. According to the internationally recognized definition of child trafficking, a child does not have to have be physically trafficked to be considered a victim: he or she may instead be recruited, admitted or 'detained' (i.e., accommodated before or at the exploitation site) in order to be exploited.
A new study Cycles of Exploitation: The Links Between Children's Institutions And Human Trafficking - A Global Thematic Review has just been published. This Global Thematic Review examines the growing evidence of a link between the institutionalisation of children and trafficking. It highlights how the relationship between the two compounds has harmful properties of both phenomena and offers insight into the global response needed. As the case for care reform continues in many parts of the world, it is critical to recognize and understand these links so that interventions, advocacy and policies can be put in place to disrupt systems and processes that negatively impact children's lives.
The evidence collected in this report aims to assess, synthesise and build on the present
evidence-based evidence of trafficking in persons associated with institutional contexts in diverse world-wide. This research was conducted by Lumos between July 2019 and November 2020. It identifies and prioritises five thematic areas and appropriate research questions in relation to institutional-related trade:
Core concept: How is the core concept around institution-related trafficking described and defined?
Laws, policies and systems: What are laws, policies and the current system of regulating institutional care for children and human trafficking in all its forms? What is the term? 'Trafficking orphans' is legally defined and what will be the legal model to solve it?
Patterns and dynamics: How children are trafficked and exploited in different institutional care settings around the World?
Scale and prevalence: What can be new and what already exists evidence tells us about estimates of scale and prevalence of institutional trade?
Vulnerabilities, risks and drivers: Why do certain children fall victim to institutional-related trafficking? What encourages institutional-related trade?
The complete research document can be downloaded at "Stop Orphanages" at westerlakenfoundation.org or via the following link: https://www.wearelumos.org/resources/cycles-of-exploitation/