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UN Warns Of Child Trafficking After Tsunami Disaster

5 January 2005 -- United Nations officials say they are concerned that children who were orphaned or separated from their parents by the Asian tsunami disaster could be kidnapped by human traffickers and sold into forced labor or sexual slavery.

UN officials said they had received unconfirmed reports that human-trafficking gangs may be seeking to exploit the disaster by grabbing youngsters, particularly in the devastated Indonesian province of Aceh.

Indonesia has ordered police to be on the lookout for trafficking and has posted special guards in refugee camps and temporarily banned children from Aceh from leaving the country.

Children are estimated to account for up to one-third of the estimated 150,000 people killed in the tsunami disaster, and aid workers say surviving children are now at risk from outbreaks of diarrhoea and other ailments.