Children’s rights denounces child prostitution and social networks – RT in French
A report by the Children’s Rights Foundation reports more than 43,000 reports of children lost in 2022. Among these cases, a large majority of runaways appear, which sometimes lead to prostitution.
In France, a child is reported missing every 12 minutes. This is the dramatic finding of a report published Thursday by the Children’s Rights Foundation on the occasion of the International Day of Missing Children.
This publication comes as the French media reported the kidnapping on May 25 of a 10-year-old girl, Eya, while she was walking with her mother in the street to go to her school, in the suburbs of Grenoble. According to the prosecution, the father “and a hooded accomplice” “gassed the little girl’s mother with tear gas” before seizing Eya. The latter were finally arrested, and Eya found, by the police in Denmark on May 26.
Disappearances: an overwhelming majority of runaways
For 2022, the Children’s Law report lists 43,202 reports of the disappearance of minors. Reports of abductions by one of the parents listed are only 544 cases. Among those reported, there are 37.9% of minors under the age of 15. 41,518 reports correspond to running away from home with a large third (36.9%) of minors under 15 years of age. The “worrying disappearances”, they, numbering 1,140, correspond according to the report to “various situations but most often resemble long escapes during which contact with the child ends up being broken”.
The younger average age of runaways is among the alarming trends found in the paper as the number of runaways under the age of 15 has risen 3.6% nationally since 2018.
Cases of child prostitution on the rise
However, the figures for disappearances have tended to stabilize in recent years. 2022 even marks a drop of 1.5% compared to 2021. The significant increase in the figures for disappearances and therefore runaways is in the decade of the 2000s. of 33,670 minors. In 2007, a peak of 44,699 was reached.
Still, the share of cases of child prostitution is experiencing a worrying increase. “For boys, the main risk is delinquency. For girls, it’s prostitution”, explains in Le Figaro Sandrine Pepit. And the director of 116,000 Disappeared Children adds: “In recent years, we have noticed a growing link between repeated runaways and sexual exploitation. Running away is the main gateway to prostitution”.
Thus, out of the 2,167 cases handled by the monitoring unit, one third of the cases concerning young girls relate to supposed or proven sexual exploitation. A subject that is developing thanks to the digitization of the lives of minors.
Social networks: the trivialization of a “culture of exhibition”?
Sandrine Pepit, thus adds in Le Figaro that social networks have a central role in today’s runaways, because “young people have access to them earlier and earlier and those who are not well off in their environment tend to take refuge there”. “In some cases, we find that they leave their homes to join people who are not always well-meaning, met in this way,” she adds..
In November 2021, the French government launched a national plan to combat child prostitution based on the observation that 7,000 to 10,000 minors would be affected. The government site refers to minors who do not consider themselves “as victims” and who tend to “trivialize their conduct”.
It is by investing in the digital field that associations and public authorities intend to lower the numbers of runaways. An awareness spot, the same for two years, was broadcast on May 25 on national channels. Its purpose is to warn of the risk of running away but also to make 116,000 known, while in 2022, Children’s Rights identified 31,897 calls made to this number, i.e. a lower number than the total number of reports. In addition, a charity event on the Twitch platform was organized on Friday May 26 with around forty streamers to raise funds for 116,000.