January 11, 2018
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.
More recently, in 2015 the UN adopted Sustainable Development Goals that include ending forced labor, human trafficking and use of child soldiers. Each goal has targets to be achieved by 2030. Likewise, in 2016 the PC(USA)’s 222nd General Assembly proclaimed its stance against trafficking in its approval of a policy titled “Human Trafficking and Human Rights: Children of God, Not for Sale.” The policy states that “every person bears the image of God” and “human beings should never be treated as commodities.”
To learn more about these pressing international issues, contact the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations: presbyterianmission.org/ministries/un.
Simon Doong, Young Adult Volunteer, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Today’s Focus: Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Dear God, we all bear your image, with equal beauty and equal rights. But at times we forget that we are all your children, called to love each other and to defend the oppressed. Help us to remember who we are. Amen.