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Anti-Child Trafficking Legislation in Asia: A Six-Country Review (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia)

NCJ Number
Radhika Coomaraswamy; Ambika Satkunanathan
Date Published
128 pages
This paper identifies the inadequacies of the legal frameworks for combating cross-border trafficking of children for labor and sexual exploitation in six countries of South and Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia), with attention to the discrepancies between national laws and the standards of international instruments regarding such trafficking in children.
There is international consensus that the mere taking of children across borders for the purpose of slavery, slavery-like practices, or exploitation is an international crime, regardless of the means used for trafficking and the consent of the child or his/her parents. In the case of trafficking in children, the prosecution has only to show the transport of the child and the exploitative nature of his/her current condition. This approach implies zero tolerance of child trafficking. International instruments also require that the country to which the child has been brought provide the child with victim support services. Most countries of the region do not mandate such services in their legislation but do include them at the executive, programmatic level; however, because of the lack of resources and personnel, these programs are often ineffective. Unless countries immediately provide victimized children with an alternative to their current survival means, albeit exploitative, they are at risk for further exploitation. It is essential that the dynamics of child exploitation be understood in context and that hazardous and dangerous activities be prohibited; however, other forms of employment for children can be allowed to exist under strict regulation by government agencies, which allow children means of surviving. This paper reviews the legal framework of each of the six countries as measured by the aforementioned international standards, and recommendations are offered. 9 case studies