More than a quarter of all Australian children under the age of five are living in foreign countries, according to the Australian Crime Commission.
This means that children are living and working in countries where they are not at home and are not safe, a report published by the Australian Immigration Advisory Council (AICAC) has found.
The report, published in February, also revealed that the AICAC has seen a significant increase in child protection calls in the past year and more than one-third of all calls related to child migration.
It comes as the Australian government continues to ramp up efforts to tackle the growing threat of child trafficking.
Child migrants are often trafficked for sexual exploitation, child prostitution, forced labour and forced labour recruitment.
Child protection calls and referrals are up, according the report, which was commissioned by the AICSAC.
The child migration program is set to become a part of the national child migration plan and the government is also looking at how to better align child migration with other child protection efforts.
“The child migrant program is a vital part of Australia’s national child protection strategy,” AICC CEO Sue Brown said.
“Child migrants have been identified as a key factor in a number of cases of forced labour, child sex exploitation and child trafficking across Australia.”
“The majority of child migrant cases we receive involve children between the ages of two and five years old.”
More than three-quarters of all child migration cases that we receive are between the age ranges of five and 12 years old.
“She said child migrants were also involved in more than half of all cases of child sexual exploitation reported by AICCC in 2017.”
While it is clear that child migrants have a significant role in child trafficking and child exploitation, they do not represent the majority of the population of child migrants in Australia,” Ms Brown said in a statement.”
Most child migrant child sex abuse victims in Australia are from countries such as Thailand and Cambodia.
“It is vital that we understand how children migrate to Australia, and what impact that has on child migration, and how we can best target the prevention, detention and prosecution of child migration offenders.”