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UNICEF estimates 500,000 children used trafficker’s services to reach Europe illegally

The estimate is based on data from Europol, Interpol and information from other UN agencies, EFE news reported

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Children in India, (representational image) Wikimedia

September 3, 2016: At least 500,000 children have used the services of traffickers to enter Europe illegally since January 2015, says the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report, that was released on Friday.

The estimate is based on data from Europol, Interpol and information from other UN agencies, EFE news reported.

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UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe explained that the calculation is based on the fact that nearly 590,000 minors have filed an application for asylum in the European Union in those 18 months.

As many as 100,000 of these asylum applications were filed by unaccompanied children, although Crowe added that the figure should be higher because of the different registration systems in countries.

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Given this figure and the fact that Europol-Interpol believes that 90 per cent of journeys made by refugees inEuropeare done with the help of traffickers,Unicef has concluded that half a million children used their services.

Interpol estimates that human trafficking earns between $5-6 billion a year. (IANS)

 

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Flawed Facebook App Let Children Chat with Strangers: Report

Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service

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FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA
Facebook has admitted a design flaw in its Messenger Kids Service that exposed thousands of children on group chats with unauthorised users.
According to a report in The Verge on Tuesday, the design flaw “allowed users to sidestep that protection through the group chat system, thereby letting children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers”.
The social networking platform introduced Messenger Kids in 2017 and is aimed at kids under 13 years of age. Despite call for withdrawal by experts, Facebook said a “technical error” was behind the problem in group chat. Facebook sent notification to parents, saying it has disabled the group chats in cases where the flaw was detected.
“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety,” the company added.
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FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. VOA
Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app designed for kids to communicate with family and close friends that parents or caregivers approve.
Parents set up and manage their child’s Messenger Kids account through their own Facebook account.
It is unclear how long the bug was present in the app’s group chat feature. Last year, more than 100 child health experts wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to discontinue the Messenger Kids app.
“At a time when there is mounting concern about how social media use affects the well being of adolescents, it is particularly irresponsible to encourage children as young as pre-schoolers to start using a Facebook product,” the authors wrote.
Facing the flak from lawmakers and experts, Facebook in February this year decided not to build a new app called “LOL” to let children share and post humorous meme content. Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service. (IANS)