The IMPACT findings suggest that the rights of the child are being addressed strongly through a legalistic and administrative approach.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is however far more than a legal document. The Convention has a programmatic character that expands the notion of rights to a more holistic understanding of the person. It promotes an understanding of the child not only as a vulnerable person in need of protection, but as a rights holder and citizen who contributes to the society with his or her evolving capacities. It guides an assessment of the rights and needs of the child across all aspects of the child’s person and development. It relates to social and economic aspects, health and education, the development of skills and capacities, and the child’s socio-political participation.

When the rights afforded under the Convention are understood not only article by article but also holistically, it can guide policy makers and practitioners in developing more systemic approaches to child rights policy planning and implementation. The evidence collected by IMPACT suggests that this understanding and vision might get lost in implementation.

 The Convention offers guidance for policy makers across all sectors concerned with responses to child exploitation and trafficking, including social welfare and child protection, law enforcement and the judiciary, labour, education, health, and immigration. A child rights-based and protection-oriented response is therefore not in conflict with a criminal justice or migration management response, but is cross-cutting and bears an inherent potential for integrating and reconciling these different political mandates and agendas.

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