APP 13: Prevention and Protection: Causes and effects
The urgency of promoting children’s rights is often related with emergencies or highly problematic situations. Even by recognising that these emergencies exist and that the CRC could provide us with a key reference to address them, it is necessary to consider that the Convention should help us to prevent the problems by creating sustainable conditions of protection. This perspective helps us in considering the CRC not just as a set of rules to condemn violation but as a strategic framework to change the causes leading to it.
For example child trafficking is rightly addresses as an serious crime through which criminals are taking advantage of children’s vulnerability. Of course it is necessary to prosecute criminals and ensure the protection of children. At the same time a preventive logic would suggest to consider the conditions that allowed children to be vulnerable to this crime. A thorough analysis will highlight that the victims of this crime are mainly children whose rights have not been respected or have been violated.
We focus on the effects without considering the structural causes and the responsibilities that constructed the possibility for trafficking to happen. It could be unintelligent migration laws, cheap and unregulated labor market, lack of opportunities for the child to be included and integrated in the system. These are not usually labeled as criminal responsibilities but they determined the possibility for that child to be severely violated. The degree of vulnerability is largely constructed by the system, the very system that is shocked in knowing that many children are trafficked.
Policies for children are often limited to the effects and rarely are tackling the causes leading to the violation of their rights. Maybe because tackling these causes would highlight the evident complicity of the system in determining the level of vulnerability. While it will be always important to concentrate on specific groups of children at risk, the CRC is demanding to generate the conditions for that child not to be vulnerable. In this perspective the CRC platform provides many possibilities to develop policies and systemic strategies to raise the level of protection through prevention. Again we are confronted with a widespread dumb logic where the triangle victim, savior, aggressor (horror, pity and terror) become the dominant narration.
Beyond the hypocrisy of this approach, we could also question how many resources could have been better invested based on the simple assumption that a child whose rights are respected is also a child who could benefit from adequate protection. Following this logic we could assume that the child protection system has to crosscut all sectors of society of policy and the public administration by considering that this system represent just a partial component for CRC implementation that should.