Governments and aid agencies are on alert in three countries in Asia for children being trafficked for sexual or labor exploitation, or adoption following the tsunami disaster.Indonesia
Save the Children has trained Indonesian counselors available to meet with children affected by the tsunami, but it's very important to create a sense of normalcy right away; they have established large tents where children can gather.
Routine, school, play can help heal psychological trauma for these children.1
To stop child trafficking, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered that all minors under 16 not leave Aceh or the country. To enforce this, harbour and airport controls have been strengthened in Medan (North Sumatra). However, many orphans have already been taken to Medan, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta.
The Jakarta Post reports that at least one foundation offered Acehnese orphans to potential foster parents via short messaging services (SMS).
Authorities in Indonesia are ordering refugee camps to do everything in their power to stop child trafficking and illegal adoptions. The government has set up a special unit charged with Aceh infants, children, and orphans. In the province's capital of Banda Aceh a new orphanage will be built as quickly as possible to host all of the parentless children. Should it prove too small, the authorities plan to build another one in Medan.2
Adoptions will only be possible after orphanages are built. Orphan adoptions are usually handled by the Aceh Agreement Association.
For CNN coverage on the threat of trafficking of Aceh orphans, refer to the latest article from the CNN Web site.
Thai and Swedish Police in Thailand now posit that a missing 12 year old Swedish boy was not kidnapped from a Thai hospital as reports suggested, but he remains among the hundreds of Swedes missing from the tsunami disaster of southern Asia.
It was believed that 12 year old Kristian Walker had left a Thai hospital with an unknown man, raising fears that he might have been snatched by a child trafficker.
However, authorities have determined that the boy who left the hospital was not Kristian, and it appears that boy left the hospital legitimately.
It is believed Kristian never checked into the hospital and that he remains missing along with his mother and approximately 700 other Swedes.3
Sri Lanka is on high alert against possible trafficking in tsunami orphans. The fear remains that orphans or displaced children might be sold, sexually exploited or end up as domestic workers. To counter the danger, the Sri Lankan government is urging its citizens to inform the National Child Protection Authority of any individual or family illegally harbouring a tsunami orphan.4
Local governments, for example, in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala provinces of India, working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, plan to administer vitamin A and measles vaccinations to 115,000 children living in refugee camps, to be completed over the course of one week.5
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