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Rotarian Action Group Against Child Slavery

The work of the Rotarian Action Group is not an agency of, or controlled by Rotary International. It does, however, aim to raise awareness among fellow Rotarians of the plight of thousands of children whose very existence is one of the cruelest of all: slavery. The agency seeks to provide members with a source of information on child slavery issues and future project opportunities.

Despite the fact that slavery is illegal in every nation, children are still falling prey to unscrupulous masters of this insiduous crime in every country in the world. As with many of the initiatives supported by Rotary as a whole, the Rotarian Action Group encourages Rotarians and Rotary clubs to take action in support of this particular project in a variety of ways. It might mean working to influence relevant policy makers to consider the rights of children, or maximising the power of social media to engage Rotarians world-wide. These vulnerable children also need practical help, such as that provided by rehabilitation centres.

Other examples of successful projects undertaken by the Rotarian Action Group include the construction of a Trafficking Shelter for girls in Bihar, India, and a rescue mission set up for children in Mae Suai, Thailand, which aims to procure materials with which to build new school accommodation and provide food, uniforms, mosquito nets and books. Near Allahabad, the centre for the rehabilitation of boys has a new vehicle for rescue and transportation as well as vocational training equipment. In addition, they now also have camera and video facilities to record raids etc. So important is the work of the agency, that it was formally recognised in January 2013 and has officers and coodinators in the UK, USA, Italy, India, New Zealand, Zambia and South Africa.

Taking action to end this crime together

It is difficult to imagine that child slavery even exists, let alone understand the realisation that child slavery is manefested in more ways than might at first appear. Likewise, children are the second most lucrative commodity for organised crime after drugs. We also know that child slavery is not just the realm of the poorer countries of the world. On the contrary, the Middle East, arguably amongst some of our wealthiest nations, are guilty of not doing enough to protect vulnerable children – some of them are as young as five-years-old when they are trafficked from regions within areas of Pakistan and Bangladesh to work as jockeys in camel racing. Despite the existence of legislation which bans the use of children under the age of 15 as jockeys in camel racing, there is much to suggest that the law is being openly ignored.

As the seventh largest country in the world, and with a population of around 1.27 billion, many of India's most vulnerable children fall prey to child slavery, forced to work in carpet, clothing and firework factories, or to cut diamonds that are too small for adult eyes to see. Often they find themselves in debt bondage on tea plantations, stone quarries or brick kilns.

In Africa, children are set to work as slaves in cocoa fields or informal diamond mines; whilst in Haiti, they are abused in a miserable life of domestic servitude.

The right of the child is all but forgotten, let alone protected, and often in broad view of the rest of the world. They desperately need our help to put an end to their suffering.

Click here for more information about the work of the Rotarian Group Against Slavery.


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