AUTHOR/S: Melba L. Manapol, Leah J. Aportadera
KEYWORDS: Children, Child Welfare, Drug Trade, Service-providers, Rights Based, Social Protection
The world’s children have lived behind the numbers and are caught up in a multidimensional phenomenon called Child Poverty threatens not only the individual child but is likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and even exacerbating inequality in society. According to UNICEF, 22, 000 children die each day due to poverty. Being meek and weak in life makes these children even more invisible in death, (UNICEF, 2014). These harsh realities faced by our children has forced them to face a bleaker future and living a life of insecurity and higher risk in terms of abuse and exploitation. This includes children engaged in drug trade.
The study is an attempt to describe the situation of children involved in drug trade through the narratives and accounts of the child focused service providers who have direct encounter with children and their families. The study design was qualitative particularly the phenomenological approach to research.
Findings revealed that more and more children are lured into the drug trade business and their age is getting younger (as young as 8 years old). Drug trade has become a family affair with the parents as promoter in the participation of their children. Reasons are economic, troubled environment and families becoming dysfunctional.
Major recommendations include a revisit and review of policy protecting children, improve guidelines for addressing this issue and for the government and private sectors to draw out rights-based and community-based programs and services that ensure social protection, prevention, mitigation, rehabilitation and reintegration of children.
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