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'CARICOM should focus on children'

Published:Monday | February 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

AMID REPORTS of child trafficking on the rise and reports that Haitian police have arrested 10 US citizens caught trying to take 33 children out of the earthquake-stricken country, the Jamaica Association of Young Professionals is calling for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to play a greater role in protecting children made orphans.

The catastrophic earthquake, which hit the Caribbean state on January 12 claiming over 150,000 lives, has left many children without parents. This is where chairman of the association, Junior Rose, believes that the CARICOM should come in.

"CARICOM countries should provide temporary shelter for some of these orphans, particularly those under 10 years old. The regional body should set up a fund that would support these orphans being housed in respective countries. Hence, the financial burden would not necessarily be on the governments of the region or the national budgets," he said.

According to statistics from the United Nations Children's Fund, about 380,000 children lived in the nation before the earthquake.

With the number set to increase, the association believes that the region should look out for the most vulnerable of the population affected by the earthquake.

Since the earthquake, CARICOM has taken a multi-pronged approach to the disaster responding in cash and kind. CARICOM is also part of a coordination committee involved in the reconstruction of Haiti, along with other international organisations and states.