Today, 19 August 2015, is World Humanitarian Day which draws attention to the 100 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict, hunger and disease who are struggling to survive in today's emergencies and reminds the international community that 'each one of us can make a difference' and 'create a more humane world.' It is also a day to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others, and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.
Children are often the most vulnerable populations during and after humanitarian crises, and the risk of sexual exploitation increases immensely in the chaos of the aftermath as the disruption to the social order caused by emergencies heightens the potential for children to be exploited for economic and sexual purposes.
Unicef reports that 'about 50 per cent of the estimated 26 million people currently displaced by armed conflicts and violence are children'. The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and ECPAT Senior Advisor, Najat Maalla M'jid, presented a study on the protection of children from sale and sexual exploitation following humanitarian crises due to natural disasters at the 19th session of the Human Rights Council this year where she explained that despite the numerous actors providing emergency responses, children continue to be at the mercy of those seeking profit from the chaos and are put at risk of sale and sexual exploitation. In any humanitarian crisis, whether it's a natural disaster, armed conflict or complex emergency, children's rights to survival, development, protention and participation must be preserved.
World Humanitarian Day 2015 celebrates the world's humanitarian organisations and aid workers who inspire the world with their selfless dedication to helping others and ECPAT International personallly thanks all those, especially our network members, who have committed to life-saving action for all children around the world.
Top officials of the UN system are joining an appeal for people around the world to join a global digital storytelling campaign designed by the United Nations and partners to mark World Humanitarian Day 2015 by drastically changing their social medai feeds and share captivating tales of humanitarian tales.
Show solidarity as a global citizen by signing up to the #ShareHumanity campaign here and donating your social medai feed to promote humanitarian action and help give a voice to the voiceless by sharing their stories of crisis, hope and resilience.