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Archive for November, 2012

DRC Fact Sheet and Afghanistan IED/Landmine/UXO Field Guide for NGOs Being Prepared

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 26, 2012

Congolese Soldiers on Patrol in Rutshuru

Over the next few weeks I will be preparing two guides for use by NGOs in the field:

1)  Combatants of North and South Kivu:  An NGO’s Guide to the DR Congo
2)  NGO’s Field Guide to IEDs, Landmines, and UXOs:  Afghanistan

The data provided will be complete but not overly technical.  “Combatants of North and South Kivu” is a bare-bones fact sheet whereas “NGO’s Field Guide” is an illustrated identification resource covering the most prevalent forms of IEDs, landmines, and UXOs volunteers may encounter while in Afghanistan.  Similar field guides will also be produced for other hot zones.  It is my hope that this information will help keep fellow aid workers safe while in-country.  The DRC data will be posted on our WordPress site and the munitions field guide will be available as a PDF file upon request.

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Brief: Children of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 26, 2012

Founder Alex Gowen

Brief:

Children of the Islamic Republic of Iran

 November 24, 2012

 by

Alexander E. Gowen

The Fishermen

Though The Fishermen’s focus is limited to orphaned, street, foster, and refugee children, the overall condition of child welfare within the Islamic Republic of Iran (hereinafter referred to as Iran) necessitates our attention.  Some of our information is dated but we believe it is still relevant.  It is important to note that the following is not a reflection on our views of Islamic values, but simply a presentation of our initial research on Iranian children and the cultural differences NGOs may face when addressing child-related issues.

Since its shift from monarchy to theocratic Islamic republic in 1979, Iran removed many of the laws protecting children while at the same time increasing the ability of adults to commit what we would consider criminal acts upon them without penalty.  This is in direct violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which the Islamic Consultative Assembly ratified in 1994, but “reserved the right not to apply any provisions or articles of the Convention that may be in contravention with domestic laws and Islamic standards.”  Though overtures have been made by Tehran to improve its abysmal record on children’s rights, nothing of any significance has changed – this is especially true when considering orphaned/street children.

Children essentially have no rights in the Islamic Republic, and many die each year from parental child abuse/neglect – largely due to the mother’s inability to protect her children both physically and legally from abusive parties (though it is not uncommon for both the mother and father to be directly involved in the abuse of their children).  Other prevalent causes for the death include drug overdose, suicide, murder, and a surprising number of state-sponsored executions (51 since 1990 according to Amnesty International – making it the leading country of child executions in the world).

Men can divorce freely and have full custody of their offspring, many of whom are sold for marriage or into forced labor.  Even if the father kills his child, he faces no retribution.  The mother, however, may be imprisoned for failing to protect her children from harm and/or interfering with the husband’s duty to discipline them.  Divorced women have virtually no say in the well-being of their children, and since unemployment is rampant (officially 12.9 but realistically above 20%) and largely disproportionate in favor of Iranian males, an unwed mother has very little she is able to offer other than her love.  It is not uncommon for parental love to be used against them – children are commonly tortured in front of mothers and fathers to gain confessions.

Females suffer worse conditions than males of equal or older age.  For instance, a girl as young as 9 may be sentenced to death for committing a Gesas crime (crime against God) whereas a boy is immune unless 15 years of age or older.  In impoverished areas such as Khorassan and Sistan-Baluchistan, girls as young as 4 are bought and sold for as little as $4 for use as laborers on farms or in workshops.  Girls have absolutely no say in matters of marriage and can be legally wed at the age of 9 (with parental consent), typically to much older men.  Additionally, the practice of Sigheh – the purchase of a 24 marriage certificate – has been used by many to raise familial money by wedding a daughter to others, which is a legal and face-saving method for guardians to prostitute girls (for which the penalty for the girl would typically be death by hanging or stoning).  This temporary marriage license also aids in legitimizing sexual relations with very young females and allows men the ability engage in sexual relations with multiple partners, thereby corrupting the Sigheh’s original intent.

Recent economic hardship and rampant criminal activity (in addition to a generally abusive environment at home) has resulted in a significant number of runaways in Iran, increasing child prostitution by 635%.  In Tehran alone there are an estimated 84,000 female prostitutes (most of which are under 18) – a figure which does not include the thousands who have been trafficked to other countries.  These runaway children wind up living in abandoned buildings, automobiles, parks, shipping containers, or on the street itself – even so they are considered luckier than those who remain in the grasp of abusive parents/guardians.  According to a 2009 report, 45 Iranian girls run away from home every day to escape abusive parents and poverty, only to engage in prostitution, become unwilling participants in drug gangs (transport or peddling),  or forced to beg for money for others.  We believe that number to be much higher.  Regardless, roughly 60% of all girls who run away from home are raped within the first week, for which they can be sentenced to death.  The official number of orphaned/street children in Iran is 60,000, but it is suspected to be higher than 200,000 (or which 55% are offspring of Afghan refugees).

Within the legal system there are many children who are awaiting their 18th birthday for execution (in excess of 143 according to a 2012 HRW report).  Many others have suffered horrible torture and unreasonable imprisonment.  According to the Iranian penal code, a 9 year-old girl can be tried as an adult and punished by flogging or stoning depending upon the crime.  Many children are imprisoned without being formally charged and often executed before establishing their identity.  According to Amnesty International, executions are often carried out in public and typically utilize an industrial crane for hanging.  The child stands on a gallows with his/her hands tied, and is slowly lifted and dangled in front of a crowd.  In the 2004 case of Atefeh Rajabi – a 16 year-old orphaned girl who had suffered many years of abuse – religious police arrested her for having sex with unmarried men and was hung from a crude gallows in a very public railway square.  She remained a gruesome spectacle for 45 minutes before being laid to rest.  Very few of the residents supported the presiding judge’s sentence, nor did they find it appropriate for him to personally put the noose over Atefeh’s head.  As for stoning – again a public event – a girl will be buried up to her chest or neck and will be hit repeatedly by stones “not be too large to kill the convict by one or two throws and at the same time shall not be too small to be called a stone”  according to Article 104 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran.

We have painted a bleak picture of Iranian society and its treatment of children.  Aside from governmental policy – which the average citizen does not control – it must be said that the majority of Iranian households are both loving and caring, and even though it may seem that Iranian children have nowhere to turn there are NGOs and individuals quietly offering safe havens and a sympathetic ear to those in need.  Though no significant changes may be expected from Tehran, many within Iran are eager to see an end to medieval punishments, gender inequality, economic depression, and religious laws/police.  The best we can do as outside NGOs is to continue to provide support to in-country organizations attempting to help these children and assist entities such as the UN so they may pressure for policy revisions within the Islamic Republic, but in the end these are Iranian problems requiring Iranian solutions.

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We Are Paying Attention!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 22, 2012

On any given day there are so many events in the world which are relevant to our work.  Though we may only report on a few, we are paying close to attention to everything which affects the lives of the children.  We are watching and are prepared to act when possible.  If you needs us, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

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The Fishermen Welcomes Abby Kalainikas

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 22, 2012

Abby Kalainikas is a junior attending Wake Early College of Heath and Sciences.  She is volunteering her time with The Fishermen in order to help achieve her gold award for the Girl Scouts of America.  Abby is excited to be a part of our mission as she loves helping people – assisting those in need brings her true happiness.  Ms. Kalainikas’ exposure to various cultures and her enthusiasm for meeting and interacting with people is a great asset to our work.  Welcome aboard, Abby!

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Report on Human Trafficking in the Republic of Moldova

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 20, 2012

Co-Founder Sarah Gowen

Republic of Moldova:

Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery

November 20, 2012

by

Sarah Gowen

The Fishermen

Moldova is arguably the poorest country in Europe (along with Kosovo) with an average annual income of $2,500, making it a hot-spot for human trafficking.  Criminals operate freely, taking advantage of desperate men, women, and children who simply want a better life.  Though the Moldovan government has taken steps to combat this horrible trade including the creation of the Department of Migration and a National Anti-Trafficking Committee, little has changed.  Until serious steps are taken to address the problem on a level recognizable to the public (poverty and education), human trafficking will continue to plague the people.  As it stands, sex slaves are Moldova’s main export.

In this report I will point out critical data so you are aware of the size and scope of the issue of human trafficking in Moldova.  Though there is a great wealth of existing information with new reports coming in every day, I will only focus on major problems and provide basic statistics.  More data is available through The Fishermen if requested, including case reports, testimonies, overviews, and investigations by NGOs and government agencies.

The main categories I will address are as follows (definitions provided by the US Department of State and UNGIFT):

  • Sex Trafficking:  Sex trafficking comprises a significant portion of overall human trafficking. When a person is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution, or maintained in prostitution through coercion, that person is a victim of trafficking. All of those involved in recruiting, transporting, harboring, receiving, or obtaining the person for that purpose have committed a trafficking crime. Sex trafficking can also occur alongside debt bondage, as women and girls are forced to continue in prostitution through the use of unlawful “debt” purportedly incurred through their transportation or recruitment—or their crude “sale”—which exploiters insist they must pay off before they can be free.
  • Child Sex Trafficking:   According to UNICEF, as many as two million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. International covenants and protocols obligate criminalization of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The use of children in the commercial sex trade is prohibited under both U.S. law and the UN TIP Protocol. There can be no exceptions and no cultural or socioeconomic rationalizations that prevent the rescue of children from sexual servitude. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/ AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possible death.
  • Organ Trafficking:  Trafficking in organs is a crime that occurs in three broad categories. Firstly, there are cases where traffickers force or deceive the victims into giving up an organ. Secondly, there are cases where victims formally or informally agree to sell an organ and are cheated because they are not paid for the organ or are paid less than the promised price. Thirdly, vulnerable persons are treated for an ailment, which may or may not exist and thereupon organs are removed without the victim’s knowledge. The vulnerable categories of persons include migrants, especially migrant workers, homeless persons, illiterate persons, etc. It is known that trafficking for organ trade could occur with persons of any age. Organs which are commonly traded are kidneys, liver and the like; any organ which can be removed and used, could be the subject of such illegal trade.
  • Forced Labor:  The majority of human trafficking in the world takes the form of forced labor, according to the ILO’s estimate on forced labor. Also known as involuntary servitude, forced labor may result when unscrupulous employers take advantage of gaps in law enforcement to exploit vulnerable workers. These workers are made more vulnerable to forced labor practices because of high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, and cultural acceptance of the practice. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals are also forced into labor in their own countries. Female victims of forced or bonded labor, especially women and girls in domestic servitude, are often sexually exploited as well.

The Problems:

First, let’s examine the problems.  The prevalence of human trafficking and the selling of organs and prostitutes in Moldova is due to widespread poverty and a general lack of education.  Moldovans earn less than in any other country in Europe and are eager to seek a better life, even if it means taking a known chance on offers for jobs overseas.  Additionally, it is not uncommon for friends, parents, and husbands to encourage loved ones to engage in risky or outright corrupt enterprises.  Desperate people will commit desperate acts in order to get by.  Others are simply undereducated about the dangers of the slave trade and answer ads for work in other countries as waitresses, dancers, models, etc, only to have their passports taken upon arrival and be forced into prostitution or physical labor.

Of particular concern for The Fishermen is the issue regarding orphanages.  Children are required to leave institutions when they graduate from school, usually at the age of 16 or 17.  They have no money for living expenses and are desperate for income of any sort – these children are easy prey.  Some orphanage administrators actually sell information to traffickers so they know when girls are being evicted.

Sadly, once someone is ensnared it is incredibly difficult – if not impossible – to get out of the slave trade.  Many victims wind up being killed by their captors either as examples to others or due to constant beatings.  Even if escape is possible it is difficult to find people to help victims return home – quite often, the authorities and even trusted friends are directly involved. What I found shocking is that it is not uncommon for former victims to become trafficking recruiters themselves.

Finally, Moldova is geographically located in an area where it is relatively easy to relocate victims to Europe, Balkans, Middle East, or Russia – four of the major destinations for Moldovan slaves.  It does not help that the Transnistria region of eastern Moldova is under Russian occupation and outside the control of the Moldovan government, rendering it a hotspot for human trafficking operations.

The Statistics:

80% of victims of human trafficking – most of which are women and young girls – are forced into prostitution.  The remaining 20% are usually men and boys whom are sold to forced labor operations.  Approximately half (42%) of the prostitutes are under 18 when they are initially trafficked.

Though there is no hard number for female victims of sex trafficking, it is substantially higher than that of forced labor (apparently tens of thousands of Moldovan women have fallen victim).  Out of all the female sex trade victims being sold out of Eastern Europe, 61% are from Moldova.  These women – ages typically ranging from 15 to 30 – are usually from rural areas and are in search of employment.  Most have answered ads offering jobs overseas – usually for dancers, models, nannies, or housekeepers – only to have their passports confiscated and then forced to work as prostitutes at bars, brothels, clubs, and saunas.  In fact, nearly 85% of sexual slavery victims left their home countries in search of employment.  Taking into consideration that there are an estimated 600,000 to 1 million Moldovans working abroad (70% of which are under 24), the number of females whom were likely trafficked could be staggering.

Child prostitution is wide-spread – occurring mostly at hotels or near bus and train stations – and typically involves relatives and authorities.  Children as young as 12 are trafficked and are sold into slavery for low prices (sometimes as little as $400) in order to ensure continued demand.  Of all victims of human trafficking, 42% are minors at the time of “recruitment” (30% of which are girls) – only as few as 12% are still under 18 when they return home.  Sadly, involvement of relatives is not always nefarious – there have been reports of parents selling their children in hope they will have a better future overseas.  Again, the economic situation in Moldova is a key causative factor in human trafficking – with more than one-half of the population living in poverty with no hope in sight we must expect this problem to persist.  Case in point:  many of the children working as prostitutes on the weekend are students wanting to earn extra income and are not victims of sexual slavery.

The trafficking of organs is particularly heinous.  Moldova is one of seven countries known for being providers of organs (the others being China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, and Romania), most of which come from children.  Organs commonly traded are the kidneys and liver, but can be any organ which can be removed and used.  Since the harvesting of organs requires medical skills and facilities, hospitals and clinics must be considered as co-conspirators of this trade.  Forced child prostitution, by the way, is a typically a byproduct of organ trafficking.

In 2008 it was estimated that there were over 25,000 Moldovans trafficked for forced labor alone.  Men are trafficked to Russia and other countries to work in the construction and service sectors of Russia and other countries whereas the children are used for begging and other slave labor such as agriculture.  A personal friend of The Fishermen is a survivor of forced child labor and his story is common.  He watched as his mother and sister were shot dead trying to flee from the farm on which they were being held captive – only he survived.

The Solutions:

Finally, let’s explore the solutions.  Addressed below are Fishermen programs followed by suggestions for other NGOs.

As mentioned previously, low income and inadequate education are the two most significant causative factors leading to human trafficking in Moldova.  Though we are incapable of affecting the economy, we are in a position to assist Moldovan youth by helping them explore employment opportunities and steering them away from suspect businesses.  We have had a project in the making since the creation of our organization called the “Forum,” which is an internet-based information resource where children in other countries can ask participating professionals for advice on jobs and education.  Such guidance would help give students who would otherwise feel helpless about the course of their future take charge and hopefully find a suitable path and the means to get there.

Education is critical in the war to prevent human trafficking.  Many are not aware of the dangers they are taking by responding to ads offering jobs overseas.  They may be equally unaware of the involvement of friends and relatives who are often behind their “recruitment.”  By spending time at orphanages and schools teaching students how to identify and avoid slave traders we may be able to save many potential victims. We are developing a simple but effective brochure to help with this educational effort and will be more than happy to share them fellow NGOs and other volunteers dedicated to the elimination of human trafficking in Moldova.

Other options outside the scope of The Fishermen include:

  • Employment training programs:  By teaching Moldovans usable job skills, NGOs will – at the very – least reduce to possibility that they will seek “grey area” jobs such as modeling, dancing, etc.
  • Job creation projects:  Assisting in the expansion of local enterprises and/or providing funding for the creation of new businesses will generate jobs within Moldova and help stabilize the economy.
  • Business verification databases:  Providing a venue through which prospective employees can verify that the external or internal job for which they are applying is legitimate would not only help Moldovans evade human trafficking operations, but citizens of other high-risk countries as well.  Availability of this information via internet, phone, and print will assure that anyone willing to take the time to investigate a potential employer will remain safe.

Conclusion:

Though this was a simple overview of only a facet of the monumental problem which is the modern slave trade, I hope that it provided enough data for you to gain an understanding of the issue as well as our approach to a solution.  As a small NGO with a narrow focus (orphanages) we are capable of only limited participation, but if we all contribute resources to fight this horrendous trade there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the people of Moldova.  Let us work together as one and eventually we will see the end of human trafficking world-wide.

 

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Aid Shipment to DR Congo Postponed

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 20, 2012

 

Unfortunately, due to the ever-shifting nature of the conflict in the DR Congo we have decided to postpone our aid shipment.  As of yesterday rebel forces have taken the main eastern city of Goma (population 400,000), rendering aid activity highly unpredictable if not impossible.  Since we are a small organization we cannot afford to take chances with our supplies – if they are lost or seized it is not easy for us to replace them.  Therefore, we will wait until more a more predictable climate exists in North Kivu before we engage.  Working with a more experienced partner (World Relief) will ensure our effort will make a difference.  As always, I will keep you posted as the situation progresses.  In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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World Relief and The Fishermen to Work Together

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 20, 2012

 

We are pleased to announce that World Relief (http://worldrelief.org/) and The Fishermen have formed a cooperative relationship and will begin working together in the very near future.  This fortuitous event was made possible by the Karen Lumbu, our Strategic Humanitarian Aid/ Relief Specialist.  We will be re-tasking our supplies and engaging in the DR Congo with our new partner as soon as the hostilities allow a safe return of aid agencies.  Since World Relief is a global operation our capability to help others has been greatly enhanced.  It is our honor to be a part of their mission to make the world a better place.

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New Reports Coming this Week

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 19, 2012

 

This week we will focus on completing several projects which have  been on the table for the past few months.  Sarah will be posting her report on human trafficking in Moldova and I will work on my article about orphaned children in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  If there is a topic you wish for us to examine always feel free to send us a request.

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Report to UN: Physical and Sexual Abuse of Institutionalized and Street Children

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 18, 2012

Physical and Sexual Abuse

of

Institutionalized and Street Children:

Statistics and Recommendations

Report to the

 57th Session of the Committee on the Status of Women

 November 12, 2012

 Prepared by

Joanna LiVecchi

On behalf of The Fishermen (2011 special consultative status – health/medical initiatives for orphaned children) I wish to draw to the Committee’s attention the issue of physical and sexual abuse of abandoned, orphaned, and street children (for the purpose of CSW57 I will limit my focus to females only).  Children of both sexes are at risk for abuse, but the incidence is estimated to be five times more likely for females.  According to Battered Women’s Social Services, “Up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.”  Our concern is for the abandoned, orphaned, and street girls ranging from infant to 18 (hereinafter referred to as “children”) whom are at increased risk for abuse due to the lack of family support and protection, and are perceived as easy targets.   It is the mission of The Fishermen to be a voice for these children, to raise awareness of their plight, and to assist in providing the tools necessary to assist in the prevention of violence against them.

There are three categories of at-risk children that I will to address in this report:

  • Orphan:  A child who has lost both parents either through death or abandonment.
  • Street:  A child residing primarily in the streets of a city without adult supervision or care.  He/she may or may not be orphaned.
  • Foster:  A child without parental support and protection, placed with a person or family to be cared for, usually by local welfare services or by court order.

As reported by UNICEF in 2005, there are as many as 153 million boys and girls around the world who are technically orphaned (having lost one or both parents), of which 13 million are classically orphaned (lost both parents).  Eight million live in institutional care.  These numbers continue to grow and may reach 400 million by 2015.  Studies have found that violence in these residential institutions is six times higher than in foster care, and children are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse.  In a 2001 report, Human Rights Watch stated that 30% of all severely disabled children living in institutions in the Ukraine died before they reached 18 years of age due to mistreatment and neglect.  They are not alone.  HRW has also investigated institutions in Kenya, China, Romania, and Russia and uncovered similarly alarming cases of abuse.  If their reports are indicative of the plight of orphans world-wide, it can be estimated that at least 20-30% of institutionalized children are being physically and/or sexually assaulted.  According to our research, mistreatment is largely due to poor/nonexistent screening of new employees, low to no pay, insufficient training, high stress due to overcrowding and inadequate facilities/services, indifferent management/administration, and ill-defined guidelines on how to handle disciplinary issues.

Street girls may not technically be orphaned, but are at greater risk for abuse and sexual assault since they are unaccountable to anyone and move from shelter to shelter.  The exact number of street children is very difficult to measure but is approximately 100 million world-wide.  The largest concentrations of street children are found in Latin America, India, and Africa (UNICEF, 2000).  It is estimated that 48.5% of street girls in India have been abused.  In Africa, the numbers are much higher.  It was reported in Rwanda that 95% of girls had been raped, either by street boys or other members of the community.  The numbers for Kenya and the Congo are similarly staggering.  In Guatemala, the number of street girls who fled their families due to incest and rape was 64%.  Even in a country as affluent as the United States there are an estimated 1.3 million street children, many of whom are victims of violence and abuse.

The final category is children living in foster care.  Foster children, unlike orphans, often have surviving parents, but their families can no longer care for them adequately.  Their parents may suffer from extreme poverty, debilitating illnesses or be deemed as being “unfit” or “dangerous.”  Although these children have been placed in homes they may still have limited contact with their biological parents.  Females in foster care programs, though the safest of the three at-risk categories, are still vulnerable to abuse.  Although it is difficult to determine the exact percentage of abuse occurring in foster care, several studies conducted in the U.S (Kinship Care Study, 2008), Australia (New South Wales Study, 2008) and U.K (York Outcomes Study, 2005) indicated a wide range of alleged abuse in foster care: 3-37%.  The actual numbers of abuse may be much higher as these studies do not examine foster care in high risk regions such as Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia.

It must be considered that the above data may be inaccurate and does not reflect the actual extent of abuse amongst institutionalized females and street girls.  Aside from highly variable data from international agencies and irregular investigations on issues regarding orphaned and street children, there is the regrettable issue of under-reporting cases of physical and sexual abuse, which is a pandemic problem ranging from orphanages to the aid agencies charged with the task of protecting vulnerable children.  In her paper titled, No One To Turn To, Corinna Csaky states that the reason there is insufficient data to substantiate the number of orphans abused by aid workers or NGO volunteers is due to the fact that “Few UN Agencies and NGOs collect detailed information on the abuse of children by their own personnel and fewer make this information public.”  If we take unreported cases into consideration, regardless of NGO involvement, the number of abused children would rise substantially.  The WHO estimates that each year 40 million male and female children under the age of 15 are victims of family abuse and neglect serious enough to require medical attention.  These astounding numbers do not even take into account the cases of abuse occurring within the orphaned, street, and foster child community. Pure speculation of the number of unreported cases of abuse in institutions and foster homes, in addition to the number of abused street children, could  increase the WHO’s estimate of 40 million by up to 20 percent, raising the number to 48 million.  This is a modest estimate.  Even if the number was just one, we should not allow incidents of criminal violence against children to occur when we have the ability to prevent it.

The task of preventing abuse of institutionalized and street children is daunting and there is no perfect or easy solution.  However, it is our responsibility to come together and strive to improve their condition.  On behalf of The Fishermen, I present the following recommendations for your consideration:

  1. Develop and enforce stricter hiring policies and guidelines for UN aid workers and other NGOs which work with the orphan/street girl community.  Though it will not eliminate the bulk of possible acts of abuse, it will help reduce the number of predators seeking access to young women under the guise of humanitarianism.
  2. The UN may take a more active role in the prevention of abuse within the orphanage system by implementing a simple and inexpensive routine inspection of institutions utilizing existing local UN resources or participant NGOs.  These inspections would be voluntary – government and private orphanages are not obligated to participate – but considering that such inspections may lead to outside assistance from aid agencies they may welcome UN observers.
  3. UN aid workers should be trained how to recognize the early clinical signs and symptoms of physical and sexual abuse, how to detect emotional or behavioral aberrations in the children, and receive some basic training in crisis management.  We are in the process of creating a handbook entitled ACT for the UN and NGO community which will help aid workers, health care professionals, and social workers identify early signs of physical and sexual abuse.  The guide is formatted to be user-friendly with several tables, charts and diagrams.  Medical and dental descriptions are clearly explained yet kept simple for non-medical aid workers.  A sample chapter will be available on our ECOSOC page.

The statistics are staggering and will only grow along with the size and scope of the addressed issues.  Though it is beyond our power to lower the number of orphaned and street children, let us work together to reduce the possibility of abuse against them.  You have our recommendations and our thanks for the opportunity to participate in the 2012 CSW session for the “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”.

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Joanna LiVecchi Submits Report to the UN on Physical and Sexual Abuse of Orphaned/Street Children

Posted by worldorphanrelief on November 18, 2012

Joanna LiVecchi

Joanna LiVecchi has just completed and submitted an initial report to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in order to open a dialogue on the issue of physical and sexual abuse within the orphanage system.  Though the problem is wide-spread, very little hard data exists on the abuse of orphaned/abandoned, street, and foster children outside the first-world, nor are there any universal identification/prevention programs for use by the NGO/aid community.  Recognizing this deficiency, Joanna has approached the UN, identified the problem areas, and proposed a cooperative venture to engage these issues directly.  This is an important step towards furthering the protection of children world-wide as well as the development of UN/Fishermen relations.  Joanna’s report will be read and considered during the 57th session of the CSW.  A copy of her report will be posted on this site.

The following are the statement parameters of the 57th CSW session:

The priority theme for the session in 2013 will be “The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls” with a two-faceted focus:  on primary prevention and multi-sector services and responses for victims/survivors.  The review theme will be:  The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS (agreed conclusions from the fifty-third session).

This is an opportunity to share with the Commission on the Status of Women your organization’s analysis of societal and cultural norms, the political and economic context, evidence, current state of practice, and/or gaps and challenges, regarding prevention of, and responses to violence against women and girls for the Commission’s deliberations and normative and policy work on this topic.

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