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Protecting children from trafficking is top priority, says OSCE Specal Representative during visit to Moldova

( OSCE) - The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, during her visit to Moldova called on the country to continue improving measures to prevent human trafficking, including trafficking for labour exploitation, and protect victims' rights, including access to compensation and long-term support for the social inclusion of victims, especially child victims.


Moldova can build upon its long-lasting commitment and existing structures in the field of protection of victims and potential victims, she said.


"Many children are vulnerable to trafficking. They include boys and girls from abusive or dysfunctional families, homeless children, runaways and street children, child drug addicts, child victims of domestic violence, children belonging to ethnic minorities, children left behind by migrating parents, orphans and children in institutions," said Giammarinaro.


"These vulnerable children often come to the attention of the public authorities at some stage, and we need to be aware and take these opportunities to intervene and strengthen the protective environment around children at risk to prevent them being abused and exploited."


The Special Representative is visiting Moldova to hold consultations on trafficking issues with a view to support continuing efforts and future developments of the new national action plan. She met the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Andrei Popov, of Labour, Social Protection and Family, Sergiu Sainciuc, of Internal Affairs, Iurie Cheptanaru, and of Justice, Vladimir Grosu, as well as with the Chair of the Superior Council of Magistrates, Nicolae Timofti.


Giammarinaro also met representatives of international and non-governmental organizations including UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, La Strada Moldova, Terre des Hommes and the Child Rights Information Centre (CRIC) to discuss current trends in trafficking in the country.


The OSCE Special Representative's Office is supporting a project implemented by CRIC to enhance the prevention of trafficking in children, especially vulnerable children without parental care, by providing at-risk children with good living conditions and opportunities for further education. The project is funded by the Principality of Monaco, Liechtenstein, Andorra, and San Marino.


Giammarinaro also highlighted the work done on human trafficking by the OSCE Mission to Moldova.


Ambassador Philip Remler, the Head of Mission, said: "Investigating and prosecuting traffickers is essential to combating this crime; and prosecuting domestic violence is just as vital, because domestic violence is a major factor in trafficking. In 2010 and 2011, the OSCE Mission trained more than 300 judges, prosecutors, police officers and lawyers on handling cases of human trafficking and domestic violence."