Photo of the Month January Backstory

© UNICEF/NYHQ1996-0959/Alejandro Balaguer

In this photo, a boy and a girl carry pumice stones loaded on an empty sack, each holding one end, out of an underground volcanic mine, near the southern city of Arequipa, Peru. It is estimated that up to 68% of children working under the legal age in Peru work in rural areas. Children who engage in mining work often must carry heavy loads in poorly ventilated and unsafe working environments. Children are often not appropriately dressed to protect themselves from injury in a mine (notice the girl above is wearing flip flops).

Human trafficking is described as a form modern-day slavery that subjects children (and adults) to forced labor.  Children trafficked as forced laborers can work as maids or caregivers, factory or construction workers, and on migrant farms. In Peru, children - especially girls from the poorest areas - are lured by promises of educational opportunity or employment. When children are trafficked, they almost always end up in work that is dangerous to their health, safety and morals. They may not be able to go to school and may lose the opportunity to improve their lives in the future. They are often cut off from their families and are at risk for abuse and other forms violence.

In addition to these dangers, child trafficking violates the rights of children as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects children from exploitation and violence and allows them to be with their families, go to school and have time to play.

For additional information on child trafficking, download this infographic handout HERE.

Did you know that January is Human Trafficking Awareness month? TeachUNICEF offers a unit on child trafficking with lesson plans and activities, available for free HERE. To learn how you can get involved in UNICEF USA's 'End Trafficking' campaign, visit their website HERE.