Commendable Initiatives Around the World
Since 1989, the local NGO, Forum for Street Children (FSCE), has worked to prevent the exploitation and trafficking of Ethiopia’s vulnerable population of urban children. In collaboration with international NGOs and local and regional law enforcement, FSCE helped to establish Child Protection Units (CPU) in police stations in Addis Ababa and nine other towns countrywide. each CPU educates law enforcement officials on the rights of children and provides assistance to child victims of exploitation. Since 2000, FSCE has reunified over 1,000 trafficked and exploited street children with their families. As a result of FSCE awareness programs targeting the public transportation sector, staff at the Addis Ababa Central Bus Terminal now report possible child trafficking cases to local CPUs and free public transportation is being provided to reunify victimized children with their families in rural regions.
Panama: Pilot Program Takes Comprehensive Approach To Assist Victims
The Ministry of Social Development (MIDES), in cooperation with the International Labor Organization (ILO), initiated “Direct Action,” a pilot program aimed at proactively addressing trafficking in three neighborhoods known for problems with commercial sexual exploitation. Ninety-five adolescents who were victims of trafficking or were deemed “at risk” of becoming victims of trafficking participated in the program. In addition to medical and psychological care, participants were provided with formal education or vocational training. To alleviate economic hardship and attempt to eliminate this factor in trafficking vulnerability, MIDES provided support to adolescents and their families in the form of basic equipment to cook and sell empanadas and tamales. Phase Two of the program will monitor the progress of the participants and hopes to ensure none are victimized.
European Community: Convention Provides Far-Reaching Protection for Victims
The Council for Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings with ratification from ten European member states entered into force on February 1, 2008. The Convention aims to, among other goals, establish the highest standards for the protection of trafficking victims. This includes mandates for governments to provide comprehensive support and assistance to victims, a non-punishment clause for victims, and residence permits not based on cooperation with law enforcement. The Convention also entitles victims to a minimum 30-day recovery and reflection period to escape the influence of traffickers and to make a decision regarding cooperation with authorities. These provisions extend beyond the recommendations of the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the TVPA minimum standards.
Romania: National Database Aids Rapid Response to Emerging TIP Trends
The National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (ANITP) created a centralized national database for law enforcement personnel to input data on individual trafficking victims. This compilation of information, which includes roughly 100 data fields for each victim and is processed at ANITP headquarters in Bucharest, is crucial for identifying and quickly responding to emerging trends in trafficking. Through the use of the database, ANITP was the first to identify an increase in labor trafficking of Romanians to the Czech Republic, and disseminate the information to law enforcement and policy officials. The national database is an effective tool for targeting trafficking trends and serves as a model for other countries.