Wednesday, May 7, 2003

AIDS, child trafficking major problems in Asia-Pacific: UNICEF

The HIV/AIDS epidemic and child trafficking have reached alarming levels in the East Asian and Pacific region, delegates at a regional conference said on May 7. More than 2 million people in the region are already HIV-positive, and infections continue to rise rapidly, according to the "Bali Consensus," a document adopted at the end of the three-day conference in Bali, Indonesia. The conference, organized by UNICEF, was attended by delegates from 25 countries.

"In the years ahead we will also have to provide support for millions of children and young people whose lives have been severely affected by the illness of their parents, especially those who have been orphaned," the report said.

Delegates said human trafficking involved increasingly large numbers of women and children. Children are being trafficked for labor, sexual exploitation, begging and adoption. Girls under 18 make up one-third of those who have been forced to be prostitutes in a number of countries.

"These children are frequently subjected to physical and sexual violence and psychological trauma, and are highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases," the document said. "The HIV and AIDS pandemic among children, serious malnutrition, trafficking and sexual exploitation of children are important challenges for the implementation of the Bali Consensus," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

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Created: January 10, 2004
Last modified: January 15, 2004
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