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10 Organizations defending children’s human rights

ECPAT International

ECPAT International is a children’s rights organization focusing exclusively on ending sexual exploitation of children. With an international secretariat based in Bangkok, ECPAT works around the world to address issues of online child exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, child sex tourism, child trafficking, education of children on their rights, and human rights reporting. ECPAT has a network of over 100 member organizations in 95 countries around the world who help carry out their mission. The organization publishes country reports on many of the countries in which their partner organizations work. The country reports are just some of the many resources ECPAT offers to help others advocate against child trafficking and sexual exploitation. ECPAT and their network of organizations advocate for protection of children and the end to child sexual exploitation through policies, reports, social media, articles, outreach, education, and more.

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Child Rights International Network (CRIN)

CRIN is a think tank focusing on children’s rights through research, artwork, and advocacy. Their goals are to have children recognized as individuals with human rights, to build a collective to protect and defend children’s rights, and to seek justice for rights violations. They work towards these goals in a variety of areas including access to justice, age assessment, assisted reproduction, bodily integrity, counter-terrorism, civil and political rights, deprivation of liberty, children’s rights in the digital age, environment, military enlistment, sexual violence, and more. CRIN provides reports, data collection, research statistics, and more to help organizations and human rights activists support their advocacy and work towards children’s rights. CRIN also hosts an online art gallery representing and advocating for the rights and individuality of children.

Defence for Children International (DCI)

DCI is a membership-based grassroots movement focused on increasing children’s rights through successful and effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. DCI has four main priorities: justice for children, violence against children, children on the move, and children affected by armed conflict. They also focus on three cross-cutting issues: children deprived of liberty, child participation, and gender. DCI’s international secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland with National Sections and Associated Members around the globe. The National Sections focus on children’s issues most relevant to the countries in which they work, advocating for transparent, accountable, sustainable, and socially transformative change. In addition to working in the field DCI also publishes reports on trends and relevant topics in the area of children’s rights and protection.

PLAN International

PLAN International is an organization that works in 76 countries to advance children’s rights. Their goals are to empower children to make changes, to drive change in practice and policy at various levels, to prepare children and communities to respond to crises and adversity, and to support safe and successful growth of children into adulthood. PLAN promotes education of children, ending violence, youth activism, sexual health and rights, as well as helping children through early childhood, advancing skills and work, and supporting children through emergencies. PLAN also hosts an online activist hub, providing resources, stories, and tools for young campaigners around the world. This platform motivates people to share stories, campaigns, and more across social media. PLAN has 50 country offices, 4 regional hubs, 4 liaison offices, and 20 national organizations separate from PLAN’s main structure.

Save the Children

Save the Children is an international organization working to protect and improve the lives of children across the globe. With staff in 120 countries, their programs focus on the goals of helping children survive, learn, and be protected. Save the Children works through programming, emergency response, and advocacy to further protection and rights for children in a variety of ways. Save the Children works to engage children about their rights, as well as families, communities, governments, and international organizations, to build on children’s rights from the ground up. They focus on keeping leaders and governments accountable for their actions towards children. The organization also publishes regular reports on various issues relating to child rights, including reports on different countries and regions. Additionally, Save the Children also has online advocacy and news, as well as an initiative called Child Writes that allows children to write about and speak about their experiences and their rights.

UNICEF

UNICEF is an international organization working in over 190 countries and territories to improve the lives of children and their families based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF has initiatives, campaigns, and programs covering issues in the areas of child protection and inclusion, child survival, education, emergencies, gender, innovation for children, supplies and logistics, and research and analysis. UNICEF implements programs, works with local stakeholders and governments, and advocates at every level to further their goal of increasing children’s rights, safety, and protection. They also work to deliver supplies to children in areas with low access to food, medicine, etc. and in emergency situations. They do extensive research in order to create their programs, publishing research and stories on a variety of issues impacting children around the world.

World Vision

World Vision is a Christian organization focused on improving the lives of children and the communities in which they live. They work in over 100 countries to address a variety of issues in the areas of health, education, child sponsorship, child protection, poverty in America, Christian faith, gender equality, economic empowerment, disaster relief, disability inclusion, clean water, hunger and food security, and refugees and fragile states. They work out of their Christian beliefs, ensuring that their initiatives are child-focused, community-based, and measurable in terms of outcomes. World Vision’s primary initiative is their child sponsorship program, which helps provide money for nutrition, education, healthcare, clean water, and more for children around the world. They also publish a gift catalog that allows people to donate specific items to various communities, such as medicine, school supplies, livestock, water supplies, counseling, and more.

Humanium

Humanium is an international organization focused on ending violations of children’s rights globally. Their approach to their work includes raising awareness, providing legal assistance, and supporting local partners. Humanium provides workshops in the communities in which they work to help educate children and families about child rights. They have implemented projects in about a dozen countries, focusing on children’s rights to life, education, food, health, water, identity, freedom, and protection. They work to improve communities and countries in these areas by addressing problems of poverty, exploitation, violence, discrimination, harmful cultural practices, health, isolation and rootlessness, and justice for children. Humanium has a child sponsorship program to provide resources to the children they work with around the world.

International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR)

IBCR is an international organization aiming to increase the promotion of children’s rights across North and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They work with social workers, defense and security forces, judicial system staff, civil society groups, government agencies, and other organizations to implement child-friendly practices. They also advocate for and raise awareness about children’s rights. IBCR is committed to creating sustainable change by building capacity in communities and assessing various stakeholders dealing with children’s rights. They focus specifically on issues relating to children and emergency situations, exploitation and violence against children, and children and the justice system. IBCR also provides training and conducts research to help further their goal of increasing children’s rights. They equip local stakeholders with information, resources, and tools to build their capacity to increase and advocate for children’s rights.

WE Charity

WE Charity is a Canada-based international organization and educational partner focused on eliminating poverty and improving the lives of children around the world. They operate through WE Villages, a community development model for communities with high incidences of child labor, exploitation of children, and minimal opportunities for girls. They address these problems through education, clean water access, health, food, and opportunity. In addition to the charity, WE also has a social enterprise aspect, partnering with individuals and businesses who donate at least 50% of their profits to WE Charity. WE has also started WE Schools, an innovative approach to education that provides an experiential service-learning environment to encourage youth around the world to engage with social issues.

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About the author

Allison Reefer

Allison Reefer is a young professional living in Pittsburgh, PA. She works with a refugee resettlement agency to help refugees and immigrants in the city, and she volunteers with a local shelter for human trafficking victims. She obtained her Master in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Writing from Geneva College, focusing most of her academic work on human trafficking and migration in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In her free time, she loves to write, read, sing and play bass guitar, practice Russian, and explore her city.