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Protect children

Atasa Moceituba
Sunday, August 24, 2014

THE President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has asked for unity in eradicating child trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in the country.

Ratu Epeli said sexual exploitation of children and trafficking were abhorrent violations of children's rights.

He made the comments at the opening of the Youth Ambassadors Training on the Elimination of Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children in Suva on Thursday.

Ratu Epeli said sexual violence against children was recognised to be the most severe violation of their human rights and the worst form of child abuse and exploitation.

"The sexual exploitation and the trafficking of children for commercial purposes are heinous crimes against our nation's children.

"This is the worst possible form of child exploitation and child labour," he said.

"The commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children, and amounts to forced labour and a modern form of slavery."

Ratu Epeli said children were the most important resource for the nation. They are our future leaders. Their right to a decent living, education, and holistic development must be provided.

"Their welfare must be our priority. And, their safety must be our concern."

He said the three primary forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children included child prostitution, child pornography, and trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

Ratu Epeli reminded the youths about their roles in addressing and combating the issue.

"As youth ambassadors, you will be expected to speak, write or perform publicly in forums to directly influence the audience in their thinking and behaviour towards the issue.

"This is not an easy task but one that requires fortitude and strength of character," he told them.

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