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  • New Delhi: The Unicef urged the nations to reach out to the millions of exploited and deprived children, who have become virtually invisible to the world, to achieve the millennium development goals. In its report 'The State of the World's Children 2006: Excluded and Invisible', the UN body said millions of children disappear from view when trafficked or forced to work in domestic servitude.

    Other children, such as street children, live in plain sight but are excluded from fundamental services and protections. Not only do these children endure abuse, most are shut out from school, healthcare and other vital services they need to grow and thrive.

    The report assesses the condition of the world's most vulnerable children, whose rights to a safe and healthy childhood are exceptionally difficult to protect. These children are growing up beyond the reach of development campaigns and are often invisible in everything from public debate and legislation, to statistics and news stories.

    Unless many more of these children are reached, several of the millennium development goals (MDGs) - particularly the goal on universal primary education - will simply not be met on time or in full.

    The report attributed the increasing risk of children becoming invisible to several factors, including the lack or loss of formal identification, inadequate state protection for children without parental care, exploitation of children through trafficking and forced labour and premature entry of children into adult roles such as marriage and combat. Also, children not registered at birth are not counted in statistics or formally recognized as members of society.

    Without a formal identity, children may not have access to essential services including education, healthcare and social security, and cannot protect themselves in dangerous situations where they may not be treated as children. A massive push is needed to boost access to essential services for the children and their families.The report suggested immediate interventions - dubbed 'quick impact initiatives' - that can provide a vital kick-start to human development and poverty reduction.

    Building up national capacities, through strategies led by national governments and local communities, is the best way to ensure the sustainability of these initiatives over the longer term.

    Urging deeper approaches that give special attention to the most vulnerable, the Unicef suggested participation of governments - through legislation, budgets, research and programmes - along with donors, international agencies, civil society and the media to reach out to the children who are most at risk of becoming invisible.

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