Workshop: Income-generating projects may help reduce child trafficking [Archives:2008/1123/Local News]

January 24 2008

By: Yemen Times Staff
HAJJA, Jan. 22 ) A workshop on child trafficking was organized Sunday in Hajja, one of the Yemeni governorates that suffer the most from the social problem due to high poverty and illiteracy rates. Attended by local officials and non-governmental organizations concerned with children's development, the workshop came up with a list of possible solutions to eradicate the phenomenon, believed to have a negative impact on the future of Yemen's children.

“Needy families, known for their willingness to let their young children be smuggled into Saudi Arabia to improve their own livelihood, should be assisted by income-generating projects to help them support themselves to help curb the rampant phenomenon of child trafficking in Yemen,” recommended workshop participants.

Raising awareness about the risks related to child trafficking by carrying the messages to schools and mosques was a further recommendation suggested by the workshop, which was organized by Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) MENA, a non-governmental organization affiliated with the Islah Social Charitable Association.

The symposium also focused on diagnosing the phenomenon, putting proposals for treatment, and coordinating with neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia to combat the phenomenon.

Dr. Jamal Al-Hadi, Director of the ACCESS MENA Project, said in a statement that the workshop discussed three papers on effective mechanisms to fight child trafficking.

According to Al-Hadi, the first paper discussed the phenomenon of child trafficking through facts and figures, while the second one, presented by Hajja Deputy Governor Jamal Al-Aqel, shed light on the long term negative consequences of the phenomenon unless immediate action is taken to stop it. It also recommended that the government and civil society organizations should work jointly to combat child trafficking. The third paper, presented by Al-Hadi, concentrated on the efforts and achievements of the project and its sought-after objectives.

Five districts, local council members, representatives from ministry of education, and principals of the nine project-targeted schools participated in the workshop.

Authorities have thwarted trafficking attempts of as many as 23 children to the bordering state of Saudi Arabia since the beginning of this year, quoted official sources as saying on Monday. The children, aged between 8 and 15 years, were taken to a Yemeni center in Haradh at the Saudi border for temporary care before being returned to their respective families.

“Last week we returned one kid from Hajjah