Worst forms of child labour, including child sexual exploitation tourism, dangerous work in factories and mines, and forced labour in agriculture all contributing to climate crisis
Climate stressors can lead to increased violence against children, including sexual exploitation, as families search for alternate sources of income
- Children have a key role to play in respondin
A new report published today by the Overseas Development Institute, in partnership with international aid agency, World Vision, exposes the ways in which violence against children and climate change are reinforcing one another. “Ending Violence against children while addressing the global climate crisis” warns that, as climate change effects continue to increase, so will violence against children without concerted and focused action to stop it.
The researchers identified a vicious circle, where some of the industries contributing to greenhouse gas emissions also exploit children and use some of the worst forms of child labour. Dangerous working conditions in textiles, forced labour and clearing of land for cocoa or palm oil and child sexual exploitation tourism are all contributing to climate change as well as some of the worst forms of child abuse.
Andrew Morley, World Vision International President & CEO, said: “The link between climate change and violence against children may not seem obvious – but they are inextricably linked. When we tackle one, we must tackle both. Climate change leads to food insecurity, displacement and loss of livelihoods.”
“As families struggle to make ends meet, parents often resort to damaging coping mechanisms. This can include the devastating atrocity of child marriage as, sadly, parents often believe this is the only way their children can be provided for. Children can also be forced to take up dangerous labour, to contribute to the family finances, which puts them at serious risk of exploitation and abuse. What’s more, with dwindling resources because of climate change, regions or entire countries can be more at risk of conflict and violence – which, sadly but inevitably, involves children, robbing them of their futures and God-given potential.”
The paper also examines the ways in which children themselves can contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and climate activism. Children are uniquely positioned to identify risks that adults might overlook or underestimate, and it has been found that when they are consulted in DRR, not only do they benefit, but so do their friends, families and communities. Youth climate activists also have a role to play in raising public awareness.
The ongoing fight against climate change and the endeavour to end child abuse and exploitation is inextricably linked. World Vision believes that governments and donors must prioritise child protection whilst tackling emission -heavy industries and also include children and young people in consultations in order stop this devastating vicious cycle.
“As ever, we must all hear the voices of children affected by these issues as we work together on solutions.” concluded Mr Morley.
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The full report will be available here https://www.wvi.org/publications/climate-change/ending-violence-against-children-while-addressing-global-climate-crisis
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.wvi.org or follow us on Twitter @WorldVision