“Not for Sale” project highlights problems of violence against children
This project is the brainchild of the Spanish artist, Alicia Fremis and the Taiwanese artist Maikl Lin. The aim is to draw attention to the problems of violence, exploitation and sale of children through the medium of art. The project started in Bangkok where Fremis took the first photographs of a naked child wearing a necklace inscribed ‘Not for Sale’. She took the photographs to Russia. Necklaces displaying that inscription were for sale at an auction held as part of the project in Moscow. The proceeds will go towards supporting UNICEF programmes. Furthermore those taking part in the auction saw Russian children file on stage as part of the presentation.
As the UNICEF representative in the Russian Federation, Bertran Beinvel, said, the UN children’s fund defends children’s rights in over 150 countries. He observed that it was difficult to give an exact reckoning of the children who suffer violence and exploitation because of the clandestine nature of these crimes, but statistics do exist according to which nearly 1.8 million children worldwide are involved in prostitution and 120-180,000 are sold as ‘live goods’. He stressed that what is going one in Russia gives cause for concern. This is because Russia is a transit country for the import and export of children. Between 2000 and 2008 the exploitation of children for sex and pornography increased by a factor of ten. The official statistics alone show that in 2008 9,100 children were subjected to sexual violence. Girls aged between fourteen and sixteen in the socially vulnerable categories (i.e. orphans, otherwise unsupervised or members of antisocial families) are at the greatest risk. Mr Beinvel stated:
‘The problem of child trafficking and violence is complicated and multi-faceted. Its resolution demands the combined efforts of state, NGOs, citizens, and the media. The media play a very important role in preventing such crimes and putting children and parents on the alert as to the possible dangers. The more the media publicise such information in a restrained and non-sensational way, the safer the world will be for our children.