January 07, 2005

A possible "tsunami generation" of child slaves

UN Fears Gangs May Traffick in Tsunami Children
Tue January 04, 2005 05:46 PM ET
By Thomas Atkins

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Tuesday it was concerned children orphaned or separated from their parents by Asia's tsunami may be falling prey to criminal gangs bent on selling them into slavery.

The U.N. said it had received reports of adults posing as foster parents and children being shipped from Indonesia to Malaysia for sale, adding to worries about a "tsunami generation" of children also under threat of disease and hunger.

U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) officers were alarmed when a colleague in Kuala Lumpur received an unsolicited mobile phone text message offering children to order, UNICEF spokesman John Budd said by telephone from Jakarta.

"Three hundred orphans aged 3-10 years from Aceh for adoption. All paperwork will be taken care of. No fee. Please state age and sex of child required," the message read.

Although the message mentioned no fee, Budd said: "If you read that text message, and if it is true, then either they have 300 orphans for sale or they have the capacity to seize children according to orders received."

Children account for at least a third of the 150,000 people killed by the Dec. 26 tsunami. The killer waves ripped children from their parents' arms, battering some to death and leaving others to survive alone.

Posted by Kyer at January 7, 2005 10:20 PM