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united nations children fund

Minute for Mission: Human Trafficking Awareness Day

One modern form of human trafficking is the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 300,000 children under age 18 are forced to engage in armed conflicts around the world. The United Nations and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have taken strong stances against the use of child soldiers. In 2002, the UN adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which aims to keep children from being recruited and used in hostilities. Countries ratifying the Protocol commit to not recruiting children under 18 for military service and to taking all possible measures to prevent such recruitment. To support the Protocol, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations coordinates a Red Hands Campaign, in which more than 300,000 red hands have been made and delivered to world leaders to proclaim that children should not be used as soldiers.