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Posts Tagged ‘poverty’


Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

By Liam Sweeney

sold_photo1Think back, if you can, to year 6. What were you doing then? You probably didn’t even know what a prostitute was. But for many of the children living in the red light districts of countries like India, Cambodia and Thailand, at the same age- and younger!- they know all too well what a prostitute is. They are one.

What is child trafficking?
Child trafficking is the recruitment, transfer and receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficked children usually live in poverty. They are sold, kidnapped or sometimes enticed with promises (which are soon broken) of a better life. Exploitation can include forced labour, slavery, recruitment as child soldiers or beggars, and many are forced to become sex workers.

It is estimated that over 1 million children are involved in the commercial sex trade. That’s equivalent to a quarter of New Zealand’s population, trapped in a world where anything goes and there is very little to protect them. This tragic trade is more widespread than you may think. Although there are laws against this in most countries, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that people from 127 different countries are being sexually exploited in 137 different nations - with 50% of these people being minors! Confronted with these shocking statistics you may ask, what’s being done about this? But the real issue is why is it happening in the first place?

Demand and Supply
You might assume it is due to the conditions the child is living in, poverty. Children who live in slums or poor areas are often in a situation where their parents are desperate – sometimes so desperate that they sell their child for extra income. But poverty isn’t the sole cause of child prostitution. Poverty is a factor that makes it easier for traffickers to exploit people desperate for money, or a different life. But traffickers would not be able exploit children if there was no demand. You don’t need to be an expert in economics to realise that with no demand a product will not be sold. But unfortunately, as the figures show, there is a high demand for this trade, and according to Anti-Slavery International, demand is growing.

Sexualisation of Children
The main demand comes from people, mostly men, all across the world, who can afford to travel to these countries for sex. This is called child sex tourism. It is hard to imagine why these people would do this. But if you take a look around you, you may see some clues. Advertising and the media play a huge role in shaping the thoughts and desires of people. Every time you barbie-dollturn on your TV or open a magazine you are likely to see sexually revealing images being used to sell a product, anything from a car to a burger. Children, especially girls, are sexualised at a young age. From the pole dancing kit marketed in the UK to girls as young as 5, to the classic icon of a Barbie doll dressed in a miniskirt and high heels, flirting with boyfriend Ken, girls are viewed by some as mini women. Add to this the powerful influence of consumerism - the attitude that anything can be bought - and you will find people willing to act on their desires and pay any price to get what they want.

You can help
The horrifying reality of child prostitution is experienced by children from every continent. While poverty and the powerful forces of money, the media and consumerism allow (even encourage) this trade to thrive, there can never be any justification for this kind of child exploitation. Show you care by finding out more about the issue and getting involved in the fight to stop child prostitution.


  • Go to the Stop The Traffik website and check out their ideas for how to help.
  • Join the Stop The Traffik page on Bebo and Myspace
  • The ECPAT website suggests that if you or your family are going on holiday, find out if your travel company or hotel has signed the Code of Conduct. (This relates to the protection of children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.) If it has not, then find a one that has!
  • Be informed and make your protests heard for your fellow children across the world.

This article was originally published in the Global Focus pages of Tearaway Magazine.

Changing the world one word at a time

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Global Bits - Issue 16 (24 Pages)

Global Education Centre

cover-art-issue-161This Global Bits offers readers a chance to look inside the heads of our future leaders – and to understand the issues and passions that drive them. Open to all 12-18 year olds, 10 young people were picked for this programme for the first time in 2008. In this issue these creative and savvy new authors relate history to global politics. They unravel subjects such as international guidelines for human rights the difference between actual and relative poverty, and just how democracy works.

Watch this space for our new group in 2009!

Download PDF 5.44MB

You can also join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand (YWCA and Y-Dub)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
The YWCA of Aotearoa-New Zealand work to empower women, especially young women, to reach their potential. They acknowledge their Christian and women’s heritage and commit themselves to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to addressing all forms of oppression so that women together may attain social and economic justice.

How can I get involved?

There are nine YWCA Local Associations around Aotearoa-New Zealand, each offering valuable programmes and community services.

Check out the local association web sites here to discover what they are doing in your community.


Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
The New Zealand YMCA is a community organisation, based on Christian principles, which aims to enable individuals and families to develop physically, mentally and spiritually and enjoy a healthy quality of life.

How can I get involved?

YMCA is represented all around NZ, and they run a variety of programmes depending on the needs of that particular community. One programme that is currently run in many YMCA centres is ‘Raise up and Represent’.

The aim of Raise Up is to support youth in being physically fit, to encourage personal ownership and leadership, and to foster a sense of pride and respect for themselves, and the communities in which they live. YMCA are often searching for student leaders to help plan and implement Environmentally focused youth initiatives and activities for youth in their community. Contact your nearest YMCA for more info.

World Vision

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome extreme poverty and injustice. World Vision New Zealand currently supports more than 70 projects in more than 25 countries.

How can I get involved?

  • Sponsoring a Child
  • Getting involved in a Charity Challenge (biking round Cambodia or climbing Mt Kilamanjaro are a few examples)
  • Volunteer to help run World Vision programmes in NZ
  • Participating in/running a 40-hour Famine
  • Donating directly
  • Getting involved in World Vision advocacy campaigns
  • Joining/starting a World Vision group at your school or university

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
UNICEF - the United Nations Children’s Fund - is the world’s leading agency for children. UNICEF works closely with children, women and communities as well as governments, other UN agencies, faith-based groups, non-government organisations and the private sector to create a better world for every child.

How can I get involved?

Fundraise – Put the ‘fun’ back into fundraising!  Take part in a run, cycle, or swim while raising money for UNICEF.  It’s easy to make your own fundraising web page!

Campaign for Change - Make some noise and help shape better policies and practices for children.  Whether you write to your local MP about an issue affecting children, fill out one of our surveys or sign a petition, you’re helping affect change for a new generation of kids.  Join UNICEF’s Campaigners for Change by emailing for further updates.

Buy an Inspired GiftDoes your Dad need another pair of socks?  Why not help girls in Ghana go to school instead?  Purchase a bicycle for a girl in Ghana from our online shop and help give a better future to children!

- Your donation will go further with UNICEF! For every dollar donated, we can leverage $10 for children who need your help.

Volunteer - There are a number of ways that you can get involved with UNICEF NZ as a volunteer:

  • You can help out in their Wellington office with administration duties
  • You can help them with fundraising events
  • If you think you have some specific skills and experience that will be of value to them then you can apply for an internship

Trade Aid

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What do they do?
Trade Aid is a New Zealand founded, alternative trading organisation which has been working with craft producers and small farmers in developing countries around the world for 35 years. Trade Aid currently has 32 retail shops in both the North and South Islands and runs an extensive public education programme which aims to equip New Zealanders to speak out for greater justice in world trade.

How can I get involved?

Shop at Trade Aid! =D

Volunteer for Trade Aid - At Trade Aid there are opportunities to be a retail volunteer, speaker about Trade Aid issues to community or school groups, campaigner, education team member or a trustee. Get in touch with your local shop and see what you can get involved with today, sign up on-line at or pop in for a chat.


Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
TEAR Fund is a Christian humanitarian organization set up to provide long-term sustainable solutions to the desperately poor and lift them out of poverty with dignity and hope.

How can I get involved?
Become an advocate – Advocates help to promote, support and organise TEAR Fund programmes in their local communities, churches, small groups, youth groups and at events. By becoming an advocate you reach out to the poor and oppressed through practical expressions of love. You also meet like-minded people, concerned about social justice.
Sponsor a child – TEAR Funds Child Sponsorship programme is Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based.
Donate - To any of TEAR Fund’s programmes, including micro-enterprise and development projects and disaster response.
Join an Insight tour – TEAR Fund run regular trips to their projects in developing countries These trips broaden your understanding of poverty and its solutions, and are very inspiring.

Join ‘Uprising’ – ‘Uprising’ is the youth arm of the Micah Challenge - a global campaign to mobilise Christians against poverty. As of September 2008, Uprising is still in its infancy.. but check out the TEAR Fund website to see where it’s at.

Save the Children

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
Save the Children are a humanitarian organization that fights for children’s rights, both in New Zealand and overseas. They desire to see a world which respects and values each child, a world which listens to children and learns, and a world where all children have hope and opportunity.
How can I get involved?
Sponsor a Child - Help transform the lives of vulnerable children. You can either sponsor a child in a region of your choice, or nominate the money to go to the area of greatest need.
Shop – there are 33 shops all across New Zealand, which all sell quality products for mums, dads, children, grandparents and friends at competitive prices. They are run by volunteers and the funds raised help with Save the Children’s work around the world.
Volunteer your time – You can help with a wide variety of fund-raising activites, such as advocacy and awareness raising, staffing a STC shop, or collecting during their Annual Appeal.
Apply for a Small Grants Fund - Save the Children will fund local initiatives that make lasting benefits for children and young people by building their capacity to reach their full potential. If you are under 18 you can still apply, but you are required to partner with a registered organisation for financial and other support.

Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
This is the arm of the Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) in Aotearoa New Zealand that deals with social justice issues. They aim to give service and create peace in Quakerly ways.

How can I get involved?
If you are a young Quaker (aged between approximately 16 and 39) you can join the ‘Young Friends’. Regular meetings are held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. At their annual camps, held over Easter, Young Friends have speakers come and talk to the group, where there will tend to be discussion on important issues related to justice and peace. Young Friends also pay to offset their carbon from camps, and aim to shop local and eat vegetarian as a means of reducing damage to the Earth.