Plan International and Protection: Defending Children from Vulnerability
A lack of sanitation, insufficient health care, illiteracy and a lack of education, economic poverty, child abuse, gender-based-violence, isolation: these conditions make up the daily reality of the majority of the world’s children today. Every single piece of this reality contributes to a child who does not realize his or her rights, and is therefore left vulnerable.
These gaps leave children in a vicious cycle of “vulnerability and need” that eventually places them at the doorstep to exploitation. In many countries where Plan International works, an exploited child can often result in a trafficked child, and child trafficking is increasing at alarming rates. Globally, 20 percent of trafficking victims are children. Plan can’t, doesn’t, and never will just sit by and accept that as the “new norm.” Plan’s work across the world is to fulfill its mission – to protect and promote the rights of children – and Plan implements programs in almost every sector that focus on that very foundation. When Plan builds a water well, trains a Community Health Worker, empowers a parent, begins a Village Savings and Loans group, educates a police officer, or equips a mother, it aims to empower and protect. Child exploitation, child trafficking, and child abuse don’t just happen. They happen because there are victims who don’t have the tools to be victors. These things happen because a parent has died, leaving a gap in leadership; they happen because there is no food on the table so the child moves to the city; they happen because the family has no money and work – regardless of what kind of work – is a means for survival.
The Plan International USA Education and Protection Team has created a “Vulnerability Framework,” a tool that is being used to truly identify the causes of child trafficking – beyond the studies and research, away from the academic presentations and outside the donor boardrooms – a tool that looks into the spaces within a community and directly into the eyes of a child. Plan works in health, water and sanitation, education, and many other sectors, but throughout its programming, Plan protects.
This Month's Articles:
Plan International’s areas of expertise have led to the identification of four building blocks to build safe, healthy, and empowered lives, identifying rather than reacting to exploitation.
Plan International programs in Nepal and the Philippines are identifying and preventing human trafficking.
Although the United States has vocalized opposition to child marriage, it is legal in all 50 states.