Ricky Martin has expressed his concern about children affected by Syria’s conflict.
On Wednesday, Martin — as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF — visited Lebanon to meet children who have emigrated with their families. The Puerto Rican singer is calling for greater attention to the safety of millions of children whose lives have been transformed by displacement, violence and a persistent lack of opportunities.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, 1.1 million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon, half of them children who are more likely to be victims of exploitation and abuse, besides not having an option to go to school because they have to work.
“I have met with children who have been forced to become the breadwinners for their families, and work up to 12 hours a day,” Martin said in a press statement. “The world must make greater efforts to ensure that these children are protected from exploitation and receive access to safe environments where they can learn and achieve their independence,” he added.
Martin has been a Goodwill Ambassador since 2003 and an active advocate of children’s rights. His focus is to promote children’s protection from exploitation, abuse and trafficking, not only through UNICEF, but also with his Ricky Martin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has worked to end the atrocities against children.
“The courage of these children inspires me. They are gaining the knowledge and skills that they need to develop their own their families, communities and societies when they reach adulthood,” he said.