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Trafficking in Children and the Best interests of the Child– OSCE Annual Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference, 3-4 April 2017.

The aim of this year’s conference was to enhance the coherence of international efforts and further promote integrated approaches to respond to child trafficking. The conference arose from an alliance of international and civil society organisations wishing to collaborate to strengthen measures to prevent child trafficking, protect children’s rights and efficiently prosecute perpetrators.   

Focusing on the three ‘Ps’, Prevention, Protection and Prosecution, topics discussed at the conference included:

Policies and measures which may foster the best interest of the child.

Threats facing children in crisis situations.

Factors which increase children’s vulnerability.

The adequacy of existing child protection systems.

Special emphasis was given to the increasing numbers of children on the move, including unaccompanied minors and internally displaced children.  Kevin Hyland, OBE, UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner was particularly concerned about the escalation in numbers of children being trafficked and called on all countries to work together and strategically deploy their resources at prevention of any further escalation. Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ, Under Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, spoke on behalf of Pope Francis, who encouraged the authorities to do more to combat human trafficking. Full message available at http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/04/03/popes_message_to_osce_human_trafficking_conference/1303043

360 representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States and 11 Partners for Co-operation, major international organisations and NGO’s as well as academia, civil society, the media, trade unions participated in the conference which really was a forum in which participants could analyse case studies, exchange good practices and explore possibilities for collaborations in order to adequately respond to child trafficking in a rights-based and child-friendly manner.

As RENATE is about to undertake research on Child Trafficking in seven of its member countries (Albania, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the Ukraine), attendance at the conference will be particularly useful for the times when we may have to rely on governmental organisations and NGOs to provide data that may be otherwise inaccessible.

Official report on the conference due shortly.

Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.       

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