World Vision Georgia launched the campaign against child exploitation in the streets. “Not My Choice, “It takes a World to End Violence Against Children” with a specific focus to combat child exploitation on the streets.
Aim of the campaign is to eliminate child exploitation in the streets, to raise public awareness and to set policies that will be directed against the exploitation of the children,” said Eka Zhvania, Program Director of World Vision Georgia.
Social topics are important for the country, where 10-12 percent of the population is socially vulnerable and it is especially important when it comes to socially unprotected children,”Dimitri Khundadze, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Health and Social Issues of the Parliament of Georgia stated.
With support from the donor community, the Government of Georgia and nongovernmental organizations united their efforts in 2013 to create services for children living and working on the streets and to develop a mechanism for their identification and referral to necessary services. To date, around 800 children have been identified, through the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs’ Social Service Agency database, as those pursuing a street life on a daily basis.
Corporal punishment, maltreatment and deprivation of basic and developmental needs are the outcomes of economic exploitation by family members, close relatives and other elders. Campaign “Not My Choice” aspires to end child exploitation on the streets by challenging attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that condone it and by ensuring governments enact policies that prohibit it and provide services that prevent it.
World Vision Georgia has been working on the issue of children working and living in the streets for several years already. Each year, World Vision’s 3 Day Care Crisis Intervention Centres (2 in Tbilisi 1 in Kutaisi) provide vulnerable children with medical, nutritional and psychological support. The long-term goal of the centre is to help these children turn their lives around and enable them to enter formal education – improving their chances for a better future.