Boys and girls count on their parents, on adults in their communities, and on their governments to keep them from harm. When children are surrounded by caring and responsible adults and institutions (like schools, hospitals, and other places that care for them), this creates a protective environment around them.
Sadly, millions of children are not safe from harm, because their environments are affected by poverty, exploitation, family dysfunction, discrimination, war, or natural disasters. They experience violence, abuse, and neglect. They can be trafficked, forced into dirty, dangerous and degrading work and sexual exploitation. They often find their other, most basic rights – like attending school, or receiving health care – are threatened or denied.
Protecting children means fulfilling their right to live free from these ugly realities. This is one of World Vision’s top priorities. We are working to prevent harm from coming to children, and to protect and restore boys and girls who are currently in situations of exploitation and abuse, or who have escaped them.
The negative impacts of these situations can last for years or even a lifetime. However, if children receive timely and appropriate care for their physical, psychological, and social needs, they can heal and grow into caring and productive adults.
Some of the children most in need of protection worldwide include:
- 85 million child labourers doing dangerous work. Trafficked children are among them.
- There are more than 250,000 child soldiers
- 13 million children under age 18 who have lost both their parents (in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean)
- Up to 150 million street children
What World Vision is Doing
We’re working with children, communities, and governments to create protective environments for children, through:
- Speaking up about the child protection issues we’ve witnessed (like child trafficking, child labour and exploitation) -- talking to individual Canadians, and to governments in Canada and in developing countries
- Using our firsthand experience to help create solutions with governments, humanitarian organizations, and communities. For example, in Canada, World Vision supported the passage of a 2010 Parliamentary bill which created minimum sentences for child traffickers. We also called for the creation of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was launched by the Government of Canada in June 2012.
- Supporting education for boys and girls on how to protect themselves from exploitation, and helping them speak out and get help if they are in an exploitative situation. We also help them to be key players in coming up with solutions and in putting those solutions into practice.