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Fight against child trafficking in Myanmar

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan: "Trafficking and exploiting children are horrific crimes"


Beijing, 5 July 2012 – Celebrated Chinese actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan arrived in Myanmar this week on a three-day mission to help combat child trafficking. 

©UNICEF/China/2008/Adam Dean
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with children affected by the Wenchuan earthquake at the UNICEF China 2008 "Champions for Children" event

Mr. Chan will meet children who have been trafficked and are now receiving help to recover from the suffering and distress caused by this multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise. Every year, some 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide.

Between 2000 and 2007, China's Ministry of Public Security dealt with 45,507 cases of trafficked women and children, although actual numbers are believed to be much higher. Between April 2009 and September 2010 the MPS investigated 13,500 cases of trafficking in women and children, resulting in 16,517 victims rescued, and 1,228 foreign victims repatriated. 

In Myanmar, Mr. Chan will visit a vocational training centre for trafficked children who have managed to return home but are in need of special care and support. He will also travel to UNICEF-supported projects assisting children at risk of being trafficked, including those without parental care and children who are living and working on the street. 

He will discuss how to effectively combat trafficking with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and with members of Myanmar's Police Anti-Trafficking Task Force in Mandalay. 

In the lead up to the trip, Mr. Chan said: "Trafficking and exploiting children are horrific crimes. They leave lifelong scars and rob children of their childhoods. Children are not for sale. For the sake the world's children, we must work hard to stamp out these damaging and criminal practices."

Trafficking exposes children to physical violence, sexual abuse, and grave emotional distress. In East and Southeast Asia the trafficking industry is fueled by demand for cheap or exploitable labour, commercials sex with children, adoption outside legal channels, and forcing women or girls into exploitative marriages. 

In China, UNICEF works with the All China Women's Federation and the Ministry of Public Security to raise awareness and mobilize local leaders to prevent trafficking in the most vulnerable communities. UNICEF has also supported cross-border anti-trafficking efforts between China and Myanmar, Vietnam and more recently with Lao PDR. 

Trafficking is also closely linked to migration. Tens of millions of people migrate for work within their own countries and across borders in the region. When they are far away from their homes and support systems, families and especially children face an increased risk of being trafficked. 

If families have essential information and education on how to protect themselves, the risks of being trafficked can be reduced. Jackie Chan plans to deliver messages about self-protection to young people in Myanmar during his visit.

图片Jackie Chan visits a kindergarten in Ha Long City, Vietnam, where "Happy Birthday" is sung to a young girl

"It is very important that young people know how to protect themselves," said Mr. Chan. "Simple things, like knowing not to trust anyone who promises you a dream job in another country; never going to an unknown place alone; knowing your parents' and your own full name and age; and being able to explain where you live, help children guard against traffickers."

Jackie Chan has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2004, using his celebrity status as a vehicle to promote humanitarian progress for the most disadvantaged children. 

"Jackie Chan is hugely popular in Myanmar and he is a strong and dedicated advocate of child rights," said Ramesh Shrestha, UNICEF Representative in Myanmar. "Children and teenagers are inspired by his martial arts skills, bravery, adventure and humour. He will be a source of inspiration and encouragement to young generation," he said. 

About UNICEF in China:
UNICEF first assisted China between 1947 and 1951, providing emergency services, food and nutrition, health and hygiene training during and after the Civil War. In 1979 UNICEF officially commenced its cooperation with the Government of China to support child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

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For further information, please contact: Dale Rutstein, UNICEF China, +8610 65323131 ext. 1301, drutstein@unicef.orgor Liang Ruoqiao, UNICEF China, +8610 85312614, 13911366639,

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