Is This a Child? Rights, Protection and Responsibilities in a Globalized World
Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
In 1989, the UNCRC working group decided that a person is a child until the age of 18. This was done despite a minority opposition from African and Asian countries. The UNCRC held out a subject position ´child´, which was, and is, based on children’s vulnerability and rights, aimed at a legally binding protection of all children. This categorization of ´child´ is an ambiguous one and is contested in and between states in the global community. Norway, prominent in endorsing the notion of 18 years, nonetheless operates with provisos defining different age-levels denoting the child´s moral and judicial responsibilities for crimes (15), sexual relations (16), voting rights (18) and access to alcohol (18/20). However, within the child protection services, a person may be a child until the age of 23. In this paper, I want to investigate shifting meanings as well as identity politics in Norway in relation to childhood with the UNCRC as the constitutive other. In so doing, I direct special attention to specific limitations and moral connotations of the ´child´ - especially in cases where children have committed crimes versus those where they have been subjected to harm entitling them to care under the child protection services.
Differences In The Construction Of Belonging Of Missing Children
Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany
According to Missing Children Europe (MCE), 250,000 children are reported missing in the EU every year. MCE distinguishes between five categories of missing children cases, namely runaways, abductions by a third person, international parental abductions, lost, injured or otherwise missing children and missing unaccompanied migrant minors. While cases of criminal abductions by strangers dominate the media discourse, runaways make up the majority of reported cases in the EU. Despite the increased risks that all missing children face due to their vulnerability without adult supervision, their identities of belonging are constructed differently, depending on the category they are assigned to. Specifically, the parental bond can be traced as a key theme in media reporting on stranger abductions as well as international parental abductions, which is in sharp contrast to the far more contested parental relationships in runaway cases, which influences both the construction of belonging as well as the intervention responses to the children going missing.
The EU-funded research project ChildRescue (HORIZON 2020 Grant Agreement Nr. 780938) that is currently being implemented in four EU countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece) aims at understanding underlying structures of missing children cases as well as improving the immediate response to those incidents through an innovative technological solution. As a part of the research project, interviews with international experts, who work on different types of missing children cases, have been conducted (N=13). The results of these interviews have illustrated the different needs and challenges faced by missing children, both in their experience of being missing as well as in their (non-) belonging to their families.
Child Sex-Trafficking: A Qualitative Analysis Of Risk Factors From The Experiences Of Survivors
University of Barcelona, Spain
According to the ILO (2017) one million children are victims of sexual exploitation worldwide. In Europe, 14% of registered victims of sex-trafficking are minors (Eurostat, 2015). Scientific literature has described risk factors for sex-trafficking of children pointing to poverty, violence, lack of educational opportunities, domestic violence, child abuse, among others. In this paper, we focus on the influence of these risk factors for sex trafficking, particularly on family violence, abandonment, and abuse. Under the Spanish research project END-TRAFFICKING (Puigvert, 2015-2017) we carried out extensive qualitative fieldwork using the Communicative methodology of research (Gómez, 2011). For this paper, we selected 10 interviews with professionals and 15 daily life stories with sex trafficking survivors who were trafficked when they were underage, some of them were also migrants.
This contribution aims to reveal the experiences and the silenced voices of the underage victims of trafficking, through the analysis of the life trajectories of adult sex-trafficking survivors. The results show the violation of children's rights suffered and the gravity of the consequences. The findings confirm some of the risk factors indicated by previous research and point to new dimensions of analysis like the relevance of social relations within the peer group and with other adults. Also, the findings show the lack of an adequate social response in front of risky situations that the children endured, which increased their risk for being victim of sex-trafficking. Implications for preventing sex-trafficking of minors and future sociological research on this issue will be discussed.
Growing Up with Violence in a Kashmiri Neighbourhood
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India
In Kashmir the inevitability of state violence and its entrenchment in the everyday has brought to the forefront the voices of the Kashmiri people, marking a shift from understanding Kashmiris as passive receivers or victims of violence to focusing on them as agentic beings. While the scholarship interrogates suffering, resilience and resistance of men and women as ‘adults’, there is no significant academic work which looks at children in Kashmir to bring out how they live in/with violence. Based on ethnographic field work in one of the downtown neighbourhoods in Kashmir which is essentialized as a ‘stone-pelting’ hub, the paper would look at the everyday of children and explore the subjectivity of childhood through individual as well as group experiences of children. Taking a departure from the pornography of violence, it would look at the way children are impacted, reflect upon, challenge, resist and live with various structures - which constrain as well as offer possibilities. It is going to be an exploration of the ‘social’ in the lives of children thus, arguing for a different kind of ‘childhood’ in Kashmir and at the same time explore multiple childhoods within.