18 October: EU Anti-trafficking Day

18 September 2019

PRESS RELEASE

Athens, 18 October 2019

 

18 October: EU Anti-trafficking Day

“The Smile of the Child” supports the European effort against trafficking in human beings

 

On the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, celebrated every year on the 18th of October, "The Smile of the Child" participates actively to the efforts of all relevant stakeholders and authorities at European and international level in order to raise awareness on the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings and offer through its actions support to victims or potential victims of this modern scourge.


Τhis year "The Smile of the Child" participates to the ‘#YouHaveRightscampaign of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) joining forces with Organizations and countries from across Europe. The main aim of this campaign is to inform citizens about the risks of victimization, their rights and ways of gaining access to help, protection and proper information.


According to European and international data, women and children are particularly vulnerable as they are at risk of being subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labor, begging or other forms of trafficking as a result of poverty, discrimination, violence, armed conflict and lack of education.


In Greece the experience of the Organization shows that all minors are potential victims of trafficking either due to conditions of social exclusion and poverty that can lead to child exploitation or as a result of neglect, domestic violence and substance addiction. The above factors can lead to runaways of children and therefore at great risk of victimization. In the context of the migration crisis, traffickers often target migrants and refugees who want to travel with the help of smugglers to other countries.


“The Smile of the Child” has repeatedly pointed to the fact that cases of missing refugee and migrant minors are not reported in most of the cases, and as a result the search and rescue mechanism of the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 and Amber Alert Hellas are not activated.


For this reason, the Organization implements a wide range of actions to ensure that children at risk of trafficking, whether minor refugees and migrants, Greek children or children of any other origin who have been removed from their biological parents due to serious abuse and neglect, enjoy not only a shelter and food, but also holistic support, true care and love and new opportunities for their future lives.


At the national level, “The Smile of the Child’’ cooperates on a steady basis with the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking, the law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities, civil society agencies and organizations, whereas it contributed to the operation of a National Referral Mechanism in Greece, established in January 2019 and coordinated by the National Social Solidarity Center (EKKA).

 

According to data from reports submitted to the National Referral Mechanism for the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings from the 1st of January 2019 to the 31st of July 2019, 82 persons received protection services or were identified during the first half of 2019. Of these 82 people, 58 are women and girls, 16 are men and boys, 2 are transgender and 6 are not listed in the report forms. Of the women, 5 were pregnant at the time of reporting, while 13 were in Greece with their children, undergoing, thus, an increased vulnerability.


At the European and international levels, “The Smile of the Child” participates in the EU Civil Society Platform against THB and contributes to the fight against trafficking in persons as member with consultative status at UN ECOSOC, associated member at UN Civil Society Unit, Communications Unit, associated member of the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime, member of the BoD of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), member of the BoD of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children-Missing Children Europe (MCE).


Learn more about the ‘#YouHaveRightscampaign here.

 

For more information, please contact our press team at press@hamogelo.gr or +30 210 3306 140.  

 

International Data

The extent of trafficking in human beings is difficult to quantify reliably in the light of available data globally, while it is rarely comparable. According to estimations on an annual basis:

Around 2.45 million people worldwide are victims (UNODC) out of which 1.2 million are children (UNICEF)
800,000 people fall victim to trafficking within their country's borders (International Organization for Migration)
Hundreds of thousands of victims fall within the European Union (mainly women and children)