Invisible Children

"There are more than 7 billion people in the world, and more than 2.2 billion of them are children. ...More than one billion of those children live in poverty and half of these live in extreme deprivation. They constitute, then, half a billion young people under the age of 18 whose very lives have been truncated and put in daily peril. "  - Invisible Children

The silos into which we tend to place these children and young people may satisfy our need for organization, but they hinder our understanding of the interrelated complexities of the issues impacting their lives. Accordingly, numbers cited to quantify the extent of any issue are necessarily inaccurate to some degree. There is, quite simply, too much overlap. Street-connected children who are orphans and working in hazardous labor situations can be triple-counted in these statistics. A young girl who has no access to education and is subsequently sold by her parents to a trafficker can be double-counted. Migrant children can appear on the statistical records of more than one place. This is not, in any way, to minimize the impact of these numbers, for without question and in any evaluation, the numbers are vast. But we do well to understand that, as vast as they are, they may not be pure.  We must view their situations not in terms of the numbers they represent but as emanations of the immense personal, human, and societal costs they exact.

Invisibility by the Numbers

[1] UNICEF, 2013.  Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and trends in birth registration, p. 6, ,http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_71514.html
[2] The UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), 2013. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality: Report 2013, UNICEF, New York, p. 1, http://www.childinfo.org/files/Child_Mortality_Report_2013.pdf
[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/
[4] Siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTPREMNET/Resources/EP125.pdf., p.3.
[5] http://streetchildren.org/about/street-children/
[6] Orla Ryan, “FT Seasonal Appeal helps thousands of vulnerable children,” Financial Times, November 27, 2012.  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2bb4cea8-47c7-11e3-9398-00144feabdc0.html
[7] http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58005.html
[8] Covell, Katherine and Becker, Jo (2011).  Five Years On: A Global Update on Violence Against Children, NGO Advisory Council for Follow-up to the UN Study on Violence Against Children, p. 24; and www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/files/UNICEF_Factsheet_Children_and_Adolescent_Migrants_May_2012.docx
[9] UNHCR. (2011). UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2011. 8. Retrieved October 26, 2013, from UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/516285b89.html
[10] UNICEF. (2013). Orphan Estimates . New York: UNICEF.
[11] http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/paediatric/en/
[12] BBC, Children of Conflict: Child Soldiers page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/features/childrensrights/childrenofconflict/soldier.shtml
[13] UNICEF, 2007., ‘Children in Detention: Calculating global estimates for Juvenile Justice Indicators 2 and 3’, Programme Division, UNICEF, New York,.  Cited in: UNICEF, 2009.  Progress for Children: A report card on child protection, Report No. 8, UNICEF, New York, p. 20.
[14] World Health Organization, Geneva, 2004.
[15] http://purposefullyscarred.com/2013/07/22/unicef-report-125-million-survivors-of-fgm/
[16] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs345/en/
[17] Covell, Katherine and Becker, Jo (2011).  Five Years On: A Global Update on Violence Against Children, NGO Advisory Council for Follow-up to the UN Study on Violence Against Children, p. 24.
[18] www.unicef.org/sowc06/profiles/disabilities.php
[19] http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_61657.html
[20] UNICEF, “Progress for Children: A Report Card on Adolescents,” April 2012, pp. 13-14:  http://www.unicef.org/lac/PFC2012_A_report_card_on_adolescents%281%29.pdf[1] “The Lost Generation,” The Economist, May 1, 2013; http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/05/global-youth-unemployment; and http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/employment.shtml

Demographic

Snapshot

Unregistered children under-five (1)
230,000,000
Under-five deaths annually (2)
6,600,000
Stunted or chronically malnourished children (3)
162,000,000
Children living in extreme poverty (4)
400,000,000
Street-connected children (5)
100,000,000
Children in hazardous or exploitative labor (6)
215,000,000
Children trafficked annually (7)
1,200,000
International migrant  children (8)
33,000,000
Refugee and internally displaced children (9)
38,000,000
Children orphaned or living in orphanages (10)
18,000,000
Children living with HIV/AIDS (11)
3,400,000
Children involved in armed conflict (12)
300,000
Incarcerated children (13)
1,000,000
Children who are victims of rape or sexual violence (14)
223,000,000
Girls at risk for Female Genital Mutilation (15)
30,000,000
Girls giving birth annually (16)
15,000,000
Girls exposed to domestic violence (17)
275,000,000
Children living with a physical or mental disability (18)
150,000,000
Primary school-aged children not in school (19)
57,000,000
Illiterate youth (20)
127,000,000
Unemployed youth (21)
75,000,000