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“Tsunami Orphans” Became Targets of Human Trafficking

Posted January. 11, 2005 21:56,   


In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, a worker of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently received a strange SMS advertisement which said, “You can buy children according to your liking.”

The web edition of Newsweek (January 8) reported that the SMS message said, “300 three-to-10-year-old orphans from Atjeh, Indonesia are waiting to be adopted. All related paper processes are free. Just choose the age and the gender of the child.”

Other foreign press outlets, including Reuters, also reported the SMS advertisements of human trafficking of children by saying that the children who have lost their families and homes because of the tsunami face a “second danger.”

The number of children who received direct and indirect damage from the tsunami is estimated at about 1.5 million. A total of 35,000 children became orphans in Atjeh, Indonesia alone.

The foreign press has reported that traffickers in humans, who were persistently active in the region, are using the tsunami disaster as an opportunity to make great profits.

It is reported that the sold children are illegally adopted, become slaves, or even sold to prostitution groups.

There are even people who sneak into the refugee camps and kidnap children, and some disguise themselves as either relief agents or parents to kidnap the children.

A four year-old boy in Atjeh, who was under the protection of the government, was kidnapped by a man and a woman who asserted that they were his parents, but he was soon released thanks to the fast report of a relief worker.

The foreign press also reported that most local newspapers in Indonesia and Sri Lanka are full of advertisements looking for children, posted by the parents of children who are concerned about the kidnappings.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com