Rumours of child trafficking after natural disasters. Fact, fiction or fantasy?
Journal of Children and Media, 5(4),
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Rumours of child trafficking have surfaced quickly after every major natural disaster since the Asian tsunami. Although usually proved false or exaggerated, stories of traffickers preying on vulnerable victims have become an integral feature of the disaster narrative and donors and relief workers are constantly urged to do more to help the supposed victims. This article looks at the way that this threat to children has been reported in four major disasters of the last decade - the Asian tsunami of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, the Myanmar cyclone of 2008 and the Haiti earthquake of 2010 - and suggests reasons why fears of child trafficking in disaster zones have developed so rapidly, become so firmly established and what this says about Western fears and concerns about childhood.
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