Chinese action-film star and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan is in Myanmar this week to help United Nations efforts to combat child trafficking in the country.
"Trafficking and exploiting children are horrific crimes. They leave lifelong scars and rob children of their childhoods," Chan said. "Children are not for sale. For the sake the world's children, we must work hard to stamp out these damaging and criminal practices."
During his three-day visit, Chan will visit a vocational training centre for trafficked children who have managed to return to their homes but are in need of special care and support. He will also travel to UNICEF-supported projects assisting children at risk of being trafficked, including those without parental care and children who are living and working on the street.
According to UNICEF, every year some 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide. Trafficking, which represents a multimillion dollar enterprise, exposes children to physical violence, sexual abuse and grave emotional distress.
Trafficking is also closely linked to migration, the agency notes. Tens of millions of people migrate for work within their own countries and across borders in the region. When they are far away from their homes and support systems, families - especially children - face an increased risk of being trafficked.
While in Myanmar, Chan will discuss how to effectively combat trafficking with Myanmar's Ministry of Social Welfare and with members of its anti-trafficking police task force.
"It is very important that young people know how to protect themselves," said Chan. "Simple things, like knowing not to trust anyone who promises you a dream job in another country; never going to an unknown place alone; knowing your parents' and your own full name and age; and being able to explain where you live, help children guard against traffickers."
Chan has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2004.