NEW YORK - The head of Unicef has warned that people may still be trying to smuggle children out of Haiti, and said protecting youngsters who survived the earthquake was the top concern of the UN children's agency.

Ann Veneman, pictured, said in an interview that Unicef was identifying children who lost or could not find their parents. The body was also working with other groups to put children who were alone into facilities where they could receive food, water andpsychological help.

"This is a children's emergency," she said.

Veneman, who visited Haiti last week, said in every humanitarian crisis there was a risk that children would be trafficked for sexual exploitation, adoption, child labour or other illegal purposes. In Haiti, she said, "this is a big concern".

Last week, 10 Americans were charged with kidnapping and for trying to take 33 children into the Dominican Republic without proper documentation.

Veneman said Unicef had learnt of other instances "where there is concern that children may not have (had) the necessary documents when they left". - Sapa-AP