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Child trafficking for exploitation in begging and criminal activities: Challenges and contentious issues CBSS – Child Centre Roundtable Meeting Vilnius,

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Presentation on theme: "Child trafficking for exploitation in begging and criminal activities: Challenges and contentious issues CBSS – Child Centre Roundtable Meeting Vilnius,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Child trafficking for exploitation in begging and criminal activities: Challenges and contentious issues CBSS – Child Centre Roundtable Meeting Vilnius, 29 November 2012 Daja Wenke Independent Researcher and Consultant Child Rights / Child Protection

2 The actors Children Social services / child protection services Police Prosecution Immigration authorities, judiciary, consular offices, et al.  Individual perspective and strengths of each actor  Maximum realisation of potential through mutual trust, cooperation and common commitment  Cooperation guided by a child rights-based approach: The child at the centre

3 The definition Elements of international definition are reflected in national law Element of ‘force’ is still considered a central aspect Limited scope of the forms of exploitation in some countries: ‘forced labour’  Inconsistencies within the national laws  Difficult to apply the ‘irrelevance of consent’ in practice  Challenge of identifying child trafficking cases in absence of physical force or violence  Different interpretations by service providers and law enforcement

4 The concept of exploitation Inconsistent laws to prohibit all forms of exploitation of children (CRC Art. 32-36) Some forms of exploitation can be prosecuted only when they constitute trafficking (esp. exploitation in begging and criminal activities)  No guidance on how to identify exploitation  Difficult to understand exploitation when there is no physical violence involved  Response to child trafficking cases is prioritised over general response to exploitation  Children who are exposed to exploitation that is not identified as trafficking may remain unprotected

5 The perception of a ‘victim’ Stereotype perceptions of a ‘victim’ strongly guide the identification and related proceedings: –Experience of extreme violence –Behaviour –National and ethnic origin –Gender –Age  Important to overcome stereotypes  Understanding ‘victim of crime’ as a legal concept  Standards and guidelines by the UN, Council of Europe, EU  Put in place broader responses for all child victims of crime  Recognise the agency and evolving capacities of the child

6 Support and assistance Strongly built on ‘categorisation’ of children Child needs to ‘fit’ into existing systems: child protection, asylum Many unresolved questions in offering support and assistance for children exploited in begging and criminal activities  Challenge of building trust  Close cooperation between law enforcement and social services  Access to independent information and legal advice  Need to define how to work with closed institutions  Need to offer role models and life perspectives outside of criminality and street life  Longer term follow-up, including for young adults  Strengthen preventive services for children and families on the move

7 The right to non-discrimination The status of the child and the perception of a victim have a strong impact on rights and entitlements There is a risk that responses to child trafficking in law, policy and practice set up a system of identification, referral and assistance that is exclusive and potentially discriminatory  Measures to address child trafficking need to become more inclusive

8 The best interests of the child Assessing and determining the best interests of the child –Different rights of the child may appear to be in conflict –Different standards in countries of destination and origin –Involvement of parents or community members The interests and needs of the child, law enforcement and social services may appear to be in conflict Safeguard the best interests of the child when there is no criminal case  Cross-sectoral cooperation in best interests assessments  Transnational cooperation in best interests assesssments  Holistic approach  Consolidate existing tools for maximum quality standards

9 The right to be heard Listen to children and take them seriously Understanding the difficulty to disclose Communication in a language that the child understands –Qualified interpreters that the child feels comfortable with –Language that is sensitive to the age and maturity of the child –Take time to explain Cultural mediators Qualified interviewers Children’s House model for forensic interviews: extend the practice to all child victims

10 Cross-sectoral cooperation Cooperation between law enforcement and social services is critical for addressing child trafficking: –Identification –Investigation –Building trust –Safeguarding the child’s right in legal and administrative proceedings –Security  Institutionalise cross-sectoral cooperation mechanisms at the local level  Involve other sectors as well: Immigration authorities, health professionals, private sector, et al.  Recognise strengths and limitations of each sector

11 Transnational child protection There are well-established bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation mechanisms in the area of law enforcement and the asylum reception system Bilateral contacts between child protection authorities are less organised and often ad hoc, depending on the initiative of individual officials  Connect national child protection systems across borders  Strengthen the competence to handle transnational child protection issues at local level  Access to centralised technical expertise  Consider creating national central authorities or focal points

12 Towards a child rights-based approach The focus on identification of the status of a victim of trafficking seems to override a broader child rights-based assessment Other infringements against the rights of the child are not necessarily considered This appears to concern primarily non-national children A child rights-based approach...  Is based on the CRC and its general principles  Recognises that child trafficking is inter-linked with other child rights and protection concerns  Prioritises the individual case and needs assessment over ‘categorisation’ and regardless of the child’s status

13 Implementation into practice The national laws, structures and systems are not perfect but offer a wide range of action  Ensure that national laws are effectively applied and implemented into child rights practice  Need for more preventive action: national / regional  Challenge existing systems: Innovation through structural change combined with mindset change  Child rights-based and investment approach for social cohesion, development and nation building

14 Thank you! Daja Wenke Independent Consultant and Researcher, Child Rights / Child Protection

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