Child trafficking measures "too little too late"
Child trafficking continues in south-east Europe
Also In The News
Roy Keane has today been confirmed as the new manager of Sunderland and has revealed he has a list of players he wants to bring in.
Wednesday, 30, Aug 2006 10:34
Efforts to reduce the trafficking of children from south-east Europe are "too little, too late", the British government has been warned.
A report by children's charity groups Unicef and Terre des Hommes warns that "piecemeal prevention efforts" are failing to protect children from falling prey to traffickers and suggests awareness-raising campaigns often do not work.
The warning comes after visits to Albania, Moldova, Romania and Kosovo - countries seen as particularly vulnerable to child trafficking.
"Children are trafficked in south-eastern Europe because prevention efforts are too little, too late," Maria Calivis, Unicef's regional director for central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said.
"They end up in a terrifying maze with no known escape route."
The report, Action to Prevent Child Trafficking in South-Eastern Europe - a Preliminary Assessment, is calling for more protection mechanisms and a better flow of information between involved parties.
It also urges the creation of "harmonised, synchronised and seamless systems and services" to cross international borders and help improve prevention of child trafficking.
Responding to the report, the Home Office has insisted that it is already working hard to bring the "appalling modern day slave trade of child trafficking" to an end through prosecution and supporting those affected.
"The Home Office has also introduced a new offence of 'trafficking for exploitation' that carries a heavy 14-year maximum penalty," a spokesman added.
"We are working with key stakeholders across all relevant government departments and with the voluntary children's care sector, including Unicef, to develop a coordinated strategy to tackle child trafficking.
"Teams of social workers have been established at ports and asylum screening units to help identify the particular needs of separated children who may have been trafficked and to help develop plans to safeguard their welfare and protect them from the traffickers."
A government action plan on the issue will be published later this year, the spokesman added.