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International Conference: Assisting and Reintegrating Children Victims of Trafficking: Improving Policy and Practice in the Member States of the European Union
 
On March 20, 2013 in Sofia CSD organised a conference on Assisting and Reintegrating Children Victims of Trafficking: Improving Policy and Practice in the Member States of the European UnionThe Conference served as forum to present the results of a comparative study of the legal and policy frameworks as well as the programmes for reintegration of children victims of trafficking (hereafter: child VoT). The research was conducted in six EU countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Sweden) under the project Assisting and reintegrating children victims of trafficking: promotion and evaluation of best practices in source and destination countries (ARECHIVIC).

The conference was opened by Dr. Mila Mancheva, senior research fellow at the Sociological Program of CSD, who stressed that the existing international legal and practical instruments for assistance of victims of trafficking are being implemented with varying and often limited success in the EU member states. Dr. Mancheva drew attention to the methodology for evaluation of programs for assistance and reintegration of child VoT developed by CSD that could be used in the wider EU context as a tool to monitor the progress in this field.

In his address to the guests of the conference Mr. Kalin Kamenov, Chairman of the State Agency for Child Protection,said that one important need in the assistance of victims of trafficking, including children, is the lack of financial mechanism for the return of children and adults in their home country. Mr. Kamenov stressed that the recommendations for improvement of the programs for assistance and reintegration of child VoT, developed by the Center for the Study of Democracy, reflect accurately and adequately the needs of the system.

Ms. Antoaneta Vassileva,Secretary of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons, said that since 2005 there has been an improvement in the policy on child trafficking, but there is still much to be done in this area – at both international and national level. Ms. Vassileva stressed the need to develop services for long-term care to be available to child VoT after the stage of the crisis center.

Ms. Aimee Comree, Adviser to the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings at OSCE, pointed to the lead trends in child trafficking such as the increased use of the internet and social media for recruitment purposes as well as the combined forms of exploitation of children such as begging and prostitution. Ms. Comree outlined the main priorities of the OSCE in combating trafficking in children, which include - providing assistance, not conditional on the willingness of victims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities; establishment of special national legislation to ensure the application of the principle of non-punishment of child VoT and development of strategies for empowerment of children as well as women.

Ms. Timea Stranska from "People in Need", Slovakia, presented the results of a comparative analysis of the legal and policy frameworks for assistance and reintegration of child VoT in the six countries included in the study. Some of the main conclusions of the study put forward by Ms. Stranska include – the lack of specialised programs for long-term reintegration of children victims of trafficking in the studied countries; gaps in the training of the staff working with child VoT; the need for improvement of the legal and policy frameworks for protection of child VoT.

Ms. Kamelia Dimitrova, research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy, presented the results of the comparative evaluation of programmes for reintegration of child VoT in the six countries included in the study. Some of the main conclusions of the study presented by Mrs Dimitrova included - the lack of mechanisms for centralised data collection on trafficking in children; the lack of monitoring mechanisms of child VoT assistance and reintegration programs; the need of better formulation of deadlines and resources in the key strategic documents for combating trafficking at national level; the lack of Codes of ethics for interviewing child VoT, and the lack of regular and comprehensive risk assessment. Ms. Dimitrova stressed the need of development of adequate programmes for long-term integration of child VoT in both countries of origin and destination.

Mr. Helmut Sax from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Austria, and second Vice President of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings of the Council of Europe (GRETA), presented some good practices for the re/integration of child VoT in the six countries as well as the methodology for their identification, developed for the purpose of the study. Mr. Sax focused on both the strengths and the weak sides of the presented good practices and discussed the potential for their transferability to other EU countries.

At the efinal session of the conference, Mr. Luigi Bellesi from the Centre for Social Studies and Policies (CENSIS), Italy, presented the new website on support and reintegration of children - victims of trafficking. He outlined both the structure and the contents of the web site that makes available to all stakeholders across the EU the methodological tools for the conduct of assessments of integration programs for child VoT, all national and comparative reports drafted in the framework of the study. The analytical data is presented in English and the national languages of the participating countries and is divided in separate categories such as: policies, programmes, best practices, research tools and more.




Agenda (Adobe PDF, 28 KB)


* Project co-financed under the Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security; Directorate D; Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Sole responsibility lies with the author and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
 
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