Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says,

More than 100 teenagers involved in sex trafficking and exploitation were rescued over the weekend in coordinated raids encompassing more than 70 cities, the FBI said Monday.

The raids resulted in the arrest of 150 “pimps” involved in the commercial exploitation of both adults and children, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division.

It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, Hosko said.

220 million children who don’t exist: A birth certificate is a passport to a better life — so why can’t we all have one? ,

Almost one in three of all babies born across the world annually  births are not registered each year. These children do not have a birth certificate and, legally speaking, do not exist.

Globally, there are an estimated 220 million children under five across the world whose birth is not recorded. That excludes China, where figures are unknown. There is growing evidence that, without a birth certificate, such youngsters are more likely to be poorer than even the most disadvantaged of their peers, struggling to access healthcare, attend school, sit exams, or even get the vaccinations they need to survive.

“The position now is, if you are invisible, you are vulnerable,” said Nicoleta Panta, advocacy manager at Plan International’s universal birth registration campaign. “How can you measure progress on goals when not every child is counted? How can children be vaccinated if nobody knows they even exist?”

A child without a birth certificate, and therefore unable to prove his or her age, is more at risk of being exploited by being put to work, of being arrested and treated as an adult in the justice system, of being forcibly conscripted into the armed forces or child marriage, or of being trafficked, experts warn.

Doctors launch campaign to make smacking children illegal,

A leading group of Australian and New Zealand doctors has launched a campaign to end smacking and other forms of physical punishment as a legal and acceptable means of disciplining children.  The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), representing 20,000 medical professional trainees, wants Australian legislation amended to outlaw corporal punishment, and for parents to be educated about more effective forms of discipline.

Currently Australian laws allow forms of physical discipline by parents, sometimes including the caveat “reasonable force” as a limit.

President of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), Associate Professor Tim Hannan, told Guardian Australia child psychologists recognised “the relative ineffectiveness of physical punishment as a means of disciplining children and they are also aware of the body of research noting potential negative consequences of smacking”.

“Hitting children is not doing anything for them and we would like parents to understand more effective ways to discipline their children,” said Kim Oates, emeritus professor of paediatrics and child health at Sydney University.

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