Every child has a right to their childhood. They should be ensured a life free of exploitation, violence, neglect, and extreme poverty. Children require education, health services, consistent support systems as well as love, hope and encouragement; to aid them to eventually develop into healthy, capable adults.
However, it is a fact that millions of young people around the world are exploited in different ways. Children are forced to work in factories, in backrooms, on the street, and in the sex trade. They may be sold as slaves or even drafted to fight in wars. The violation of children’s rights is pervasive throughout many countries. Exploitations take place not only in the public sphere but the children are alarmingly exposed to domestic abuse, including sexual, physical, emotional, and psychological violence.
Conditions of constant conflict or poverty inevitably propagate child abuse in its worst forms. Moreover, children are easy targets for exploitation because they are dependent on adults and the social institutions for their development. They are usually unaware of their rights, and are unable to voice their concerns formally.
The United Nations acknowledges the basic rights of children through its conventions and optional protocols such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (CRC-OPSC), Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC-OPAC), Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) , Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182)