On 12th December 2011, the day against child trafficking was commemorated successfully at CDC school in Mae Sot, Thailand. Parents, teachers and students from seventy two migrant schools, totaling over two thousand people, attended the ceremony.
The ceremony was opened by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech regarding child rights and child trafficking. At the beginning of the speech she states, “Everyday should be a day against child trafficking”. She goes on to say, “Trafficking children, and therefore trafficking our future, should be stopped. It is so inhumane and is an uneducated idea. This is gambling with our future.” It is for this reason Aung San Suu Kyi believes child trafficking should be eliminated, and why she would like to show appreciation for those who are actively working against child trafficking.
At the ceremony a number of galleries were on display, educating attendees on child rights and child trafficking, as well as galleries of the children’s handicrafts. In addition, pamphlets, books and posters were distributed amongst the audience.
During the ceremony, child trafficking activist group United ACT performed an educational play called “The Rose Surrounded by Thorns”, and several other participant schools performed additional entertainment programs.
Ma Ei from CDC school said,”All Burmese people should come to this ceremony, which has been made possible through the efforts of time and money of the organizers. Once here, do not undervalue the knowledge you receive. If someone tries to make you a victim, you can remember what you have learned here to protect yourself.”
The ceremony was organized by a Burmese Anti Child Trafficking group, Burma ACT.
The child trafficking issue is prominent along the Thai-Burmese border, with over 150 cases reported in 2011, according to the Burma ACT spokesperson, Ma Nan Mu.
She said,” This year there were 100-150 cases reported. But these were only the cases we were able to reach; there are many more that we can’t reach and more that we are not aware of. In the border area, the major route for child trafficking is from Mae Sot to Bangkok. Some children are sold to fishing companies as fishermen. In some areas, the number of child beggars and child prostitutes is still increasing. We have to stick together in order to eradicate these issues.”
In reality, because of economic crisis in Burma, some victims go with their parents to neighboring countries, persuaded by human traffickers.
The recognition of women and child trafficking as a crime occurred at the UN’s Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, held in Palermo, Italy (2000). The protocol officially came into force on 12th December of that year, and is now recognized as the International Day against Trafficking. Anti-child trafficking campaigns are carried out in Thailand, Lao, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam annually on this date.