Trafficking in human beings is often qualified as a modern form of slavery. It is a widespread practice in many parts of the world, involving also European countries, which are for the most part countries of destination of trafficking flows. Child victims may be recruited for the purpose of sexual exploitation, trafficking of organs, forced begging, forced adoption, exploitative labour etc. The special vulnerability of child victims has been progressively taken into account in the elaboration of universal and regional counter-trafficking instruments and should always be considered by States when implementing their international obligations in this field. The principle of the best interests of the child – as defined in human rights instruments such as the Convention of the rights of the child (Article 3) and the European Charter of Human Rights (Article 24, para. 2) – in particular, shapes and moulds the international obligations concerning the protection of victims of trafficking, compelling States not only to take into due account the special needs of child victims in implementing measures to provide for their physical, psychological and social recovery, but also to ensure that the best interests of the child is never overridden by other considerations, including those relating to the requirements of justice or to general migration control. In the first perspective, special rules apply to the protection of children as victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings against traffickers. In the second perspective, States are charged with particularly burdensome obligations concerning the definition and implementation of a durable solution for child victims of transnational trafficking. They are required, first of all, to make a careful and individual assessment of the child’s condition in order to identify the most suitable option between local integration, return to the country of origin, or resettlement in a third country. This assessment should take into due account the need to preserve the victim’s family environment, on the one hand, and the necessity to protect the child from the risk of further violence and abuse and to ensure the full enjoyment of his or her human rights, on the other hand. States, moreover, remain to a certain extent responsible for the implementation of the child victim’s “life project”, even if the latter is to be carried out in a foreign country.

The protection of Child Victims of Trafficking in Europe

ANNONI, Alessandra
2016

Abstract

Trafficking in human beings is often qualified as a modern form of slavery. It is a widespread practice in many parts of the world, involving also European countries, which are for the most part countries of destination of trafficking flows. Child victims may be recruited for the purpose of sexual exploitation, trafficking of organs, forced begging, forced adoption, exploitative labour etc. The special vulnerability of child victims has been progressively taken into account in the elaboration of universal and regional counter-trafficking instruments and should always be considered by States when implementing their international obligations in this field. The principle of the best interests of the child – as defined in human rights instruments such as the Convention of the rights of the child (Article 3) and the European Charter of Human Rights (Article 24, para. 2) – in particular, shapes and moulds the international obligations concerning the protection of victims of trafficking, compelling States not only to take into due account the special needs of child victims in implementing measures to provide for their physical, psychological and social recovery, but also to ensure that the best interests of the child is never overridden by other considerations, including those relating to the requirements of justice or to general migration control. In the first perspective, special rules apply to the protection of children as victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings against traffickers. In the second perspective, States are charged with particularly burdensome obligations concerning the definition and implementation of a durable solution for child victims of transnational trafficking. They are required, first of all, to make a careful and individual assessment of the child’s condition in order to identify the most suitable option between local integration, return to the country of origin, or resettlement in a third country. This assessment should take into due account the need to preserve the victim’s family environment, on the one hand, and the necessity to protect the child from the risk of further violence and abuse and to ensure the full enjoyment of his or her human rights, on the other hand. States, moreover, remain to a certain extent responsible for the implementation of the child victim’s “life project”, even if the latter is to be carried out in a foreign country.
9788863428452
Trafficking in human beings, children, Palermo Protocol
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