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OSCE. Cross-dimensional Seminar on Preventing and Combating Child Trafficking in times of crisis and conflict.

CAAC & THB Seminar/Photo credit: Micky Kroell/OSCE

The co-chairs of the OSCE Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict (Albania, Belgium, Italy, Norway and Poland) organized a seminar on preventing and combating conflict-related child trafficking.

The seminar explored the specific vulnerabilities that expose children fleeing conflicts to the risk of becoming victims of human traffickers and discussed actions that national authorities can take to reduce these risks. Preventing and combating child trafficking is an issue where the OSCE has a strong mandate to support participating States and where the Organisation can and is making a difference.

The OSCE was among the first international organisations to raise awareness among participating States on the risks of trafficking related to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine caused by Russia’s war of aggression in 2022. The OSCE continues to assist national authorities in strengthening prevention and protection mechanisms, including through an innovative training methodology based on multi-agency simulation exercises, developed since 2016 in cooperation with the Italian Carabinieri Centre of Excellence for Stability Policy Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza (Italy), and which pays – among others – specific attention to the needs of trafficked children.

Conflict-related child trafficking will be the subject of an upcoming publication by the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba. Speaking by video message at the event, UNSRSG Gamba presented the preliminary findings and recommendations of the study and said that “by connecting child trafficking to the six grave violations […], we promote a comprehensive focus on prevention, protection and assistance measures that center the needs of the most vulnerable and combat impunity for all forms of conflict-related child trafficking”

In addition to the Ambassadors of the five co-chairs of the OSCE Group of Friends on children and armed conflict, the following speakers intervened in the event: Amb. Natasha Meli Daudey, Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Malta to the OSCE; the President Emeritus of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca in her capacity as Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office on Civil Society and President of Eurochild (the largest network of organisations and individuals working with and for children in Europe); Maria Margherita Maglietti, Child Protection Specialist (Gender-based violence and protection form sexual exploitation and abuse) at UNICEF, and Katharina Thon, Programme and Capacity building officer at the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.