UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Millions of children worldwide are subject to trafficking, abuse, violence, child labor and other mistreatment, a U.N. report released Tuesday indicated.
"A society cannot thrive if its youngest members are forced into early marriage, abused as sex workers or denied their basic rights," UNICEF's Executive Director Ann Veneman said.
The report includes calls for improving child-protection systems and promoting social change.
"Understanding the extent of abuses of children's rights is a first step to building an environment where children are protected and have the opportunity to reach their full potential," Veneman said.
She added that the report covers issues ranging from sexual abuse and child marriage to physical punishment and genital mutilation.
While progress is being made in reducing some violations of children's rights, officials acknowledged they don't know the extent of abuses, violence and exploitation against children, said the report, "Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection."
The report collected data on issues such as sexual abuse and trafficking, child marriage, physical punishment of children, child labor, birth registration, the practice of female genital cutting, and attitudes toward violence against women inside marriage, Veneman said.