In India, as in other countries, the rise in the number of street and working children is associated with the phenomenon of rapid urban growth, especially of sprawling slums and shanty towns. The predicament of the urban child "in difficult circumstances" is inextricable from these conditions of urban poverty in which he and she is brought up. The first point of any enquiry into childhood in India's slums and squatter settlements, therefore, has to be the entire living context of poor urban children: physical, environmental, socio-economic, and familial.
The Urban Child project launched studies in the Philippines, Brazil, India and Kenya. Italy constituted a special challenge because it introduced to the project a North-South dimension. Owing to the rapid industrialization and economic growth of the period 1950-1980, Italian children have certainly fared better. However, severe forms of disaffection and problems among Italian youth have also emerged.
The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) has been working on child trafficking research since 1998 in close collaboration with UNICEF Regional and Country Offices, UNICEF National Committees and other partners. Most recently, the IRC was a key research partner in the development of a European Union African Plan of Action on Trafficking with the publication Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, in Africa, which covered 53 countries in Africa. This was a collaborative project with the Governments of Italy and Sweden. The IRC is currently engaged in research activities on trafficking of children in Europe and in South Asia. This CD compiles both the studies executed and published by the IRC as well as related reference materials that may be of interest.
The Secretary General of the United Nations appointed Independent Expert Paulo Sergio Pinhiero to lead the UN Study on Violence AgainstChildren. UNICEF and the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) are contributing to the Study in a number of ways, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, UN agencies, academics, and ombudspersons. More specifically, the Centre is developing global and regional reviews of normative standards and mechanisms to prevent violence against children, as well as of work done by ombudspersons in this area.