Authorities in Indonesia and from the UN are worried that children orphaned in the December 26 tsunami will be targeted by child-trafficking gangs. As
a result of this fear restrictions have been put in place for children leaving the country, and guards have been posted in camps to watch out for the
children. With an estimated 35,000 children orphaned in the disaster, it seems this is the perfect opportunity for such gangs to move in.
Fearing that child-trafficking gangs will exploit the chaos of the tsunami disaster, Indonesia has slapped restrictions on youngsters leaving the
country, ordered police commanders to be on the lookout for trafficking and posted special guards in refugee camps.
The moves this week come amid concerns by child welfare groups such as UNICEF that the gangs — who are well-established in Indonesia — are whisking
orphaned children into trafficking networks, selling them into forced labour or even sexual slavery in wealthier neighbouring countries such as
Malaysia and Singapore.
“I’m sure it’s happening,” said Birgithe Lund-Henriksen, child protection chief in UNICEF’s Indonesia office. “It’s a perfect opportunity for these
guys to move in.”
Such trafficking, if true, would vastly deepen the suffering of children already struck hard by the disaster: Indonesia estimates 35,000 Acehnese
children lost one or both parents in the disaster.
Swedish and Thai police said today that they are searching for a 12-year-old Swedish boy last seen leaving a Thai hospital with an unknown man in the
aftermath of the tsunami.
A boy matching the description of Kristian Walker was last seen with a German man at a hospital near Khao Lak yesterday but has since vanished,
despite a desperate search by his American grandfather, Daniel Walker, family and police said.
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This is so sad to hear. These children have already suffered so much as a result of the tsunami; their whole lives have been thrown up in the air.
They've lost parents, brothers, sisters, friends. Their homes have been destroyed. Now there's this additional worry. I sincerely hope that these
children are protected, and in light of another article stating parents who lost their children were claiming other orphans.. well, I really hope
that's what it was and these children weren't taken to be sold.