Hungry, poverty-stricken, ill and thirsty in some cases, with a hopeless future, the children of Somalia are the victims of international gangs trafficking in human beings. Some of them are forced into sexual slavery to act as objects of pleasure.
Smiling children being sent abroad to get a better life wave goodbye to their parents in the drought-stricken heartland of eastern Somalia. The smiles soon turn to tears as they wake up to the harsh reality that they are the prisoners of gangs involved in child smuggling, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA).
The report, called “A gap in their hearts” exposes the scam, in which parents pay as much as 10,000 USD to secure a better life for their children, who are then abandoned in Europe and North Africa, some to be picked up by other people who will exploit them. As many as 250 children per month are being smuggled out of Somalia, aged between 2 and 16 years of age.
While it is true that some of the children are sent to caring relatives, others are not so fortunate. Forced to adopt a new name and identity, they fall victims to gangs who then sell them or exploit them as sexual slaves.
The international community abandoned Somalia after it descended into lawlessness in 1991. Now the country’s children are exploited. Perhaps it is time for the international community to consider humanitarian issues while billions of dollars are being spent in preparation to destroy Iraq.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
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