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Children’s Participation in Community-based Child Protection Mechanisms: Combating exploitation and trafficking of migrant children in Burma

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Save the Children Myanmar

These notes were developed for a presentation for the 17th ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect held 7-10 September 2008 in Hong Kong, China. The presentation looks at some initiatives to create community-based child protection mechanisms in Burma. Recent work has reinforced the crucial role of children’s participation in protection work. Initial consultations with children in early 2008 indicated the significance of paid and unpaid work in their lives, problems of violence at home and in school, the impact of changing economic circumstances of the family on children’s migration, work and school, and the importance of children’s agency and their sense of filial responsibilities in decisions on migration and work. This work with children also highlighted adults’ ignorance about children’s lives, especially in cultures where there are highly hierarchical social relationships and particularly where, for example, educated urban adults in practice know little of the detail of rural children’s lives. These consultations provide a basis for work on the development of child protection mechanisms, in training for staff and establishing a foundation for children’s participation and partnership in protection work.

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