Child trafficking raises concern [Archives:2005/835/Community]

April 21 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
The recommendations of the children parliament's fourth round held on April 11-13 on the issue of “Situations of children between legislation and reality” stressed the issue of trafficking Yemeni children into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The children parliament's fourth round was attended by representatives from the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the Ministry of Interior, the Committees of Constitutional Rights and Freedoms at the Parliament and representatives from international organizations concerned with the issues of childhood.

The recommendations stated that the government should be responsible for solving the issue of child trafficking, particularly the Ministry of Interior as well as imposing penalties for those found to be involved with children trafficking.

The Children's Parliament urged the Yemeni and Saudi authorities to capture those who traffic children into the KSA and refer them to the court, and conduct medical check-ups on children who returned after being taken to Saudi Arabia.

The recommendations emphasized the necessity of establishing a juvenile police and training police recruits how to deal with children, calling on the concerned authorities to activate the international and local laws related to child rights.

The Children's Parliament was formed three years ago and holds its regular round once a year at the Yemeni Parliament.

The Yemeni Parliament referred the phenomenon of child trafficking over eight months ago to the Committee of Public Freedoms and human Rights, which in turn sent its recommendations to the Council of Ministers. However, a vote has still to be set, despite the fact the suggestions include fighting child trafficking.

The phenomenon of child trafficking has been magnified over the past two years and has increasingly become a matter of serious concern. Recent studies conducted on child trafficking indicate that around 64.4 percent of children smuggled between the ages of seven and fourteen were beaten and sexually abused.

Al-Wasat Newspaper mentioned in issue No. 47 that over 3797 children were trafficked from Yemen into Saudi Arabia in January 2004 while 3741 children trafficked in March of the same year, however there is some doubt about the authenticity of these figures.