“The Smile of the Child” was keynote speaker in the 3rd Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on "Protecting the Rights of Trafficked Persons”

27 July 2022


Athens, 27th of July 2022


“The Smile of the Child” was keynote speaker in the 3rd Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on "Protecting the Rights of Trafficked Persons”


Mr. Costas Yannopoulos, the President of the BoD of the Organization and Mr. Marc Van den Reeck, Head of International Cooperation and former Ambassador of Belgium to Greece, participated in the 3rd Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on "Protecting the Rights of Trafficked Persons", held on July 18-19 in Vienna.

The OSCE is an Organization of 57 countries that covers the geographical area spanning from Vancouver to Vladivostok and comprises a forum for political dialogue on issues related to international security, including the human dimension.

The main theme of this Meeting was "Protecting the Rights of Trafficked Persons" and "The Smile of the Child", continuing its consistent and active presence and cooperation with International Organizations over the years, as well as its consistent participation in the annual meetings of the Alliance Against Trafficking in Human Beings of the OSCE, was invited to participate with an intervention in a special Session on "Countering Trafficking in Human Beings in the Context of Armed Conflict".


The Meeting was organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, with the aim to foster the exchange of views among participating States, institutions, international organizations and civil society and to discuss the implementation of commitments on the human dimension and specifically on how to combat human trafficking in cyberspace.

Costas Yannopoulos stated: "We are the largest civil society organization in Greece dealing with child care and child protection, and we are the national operator of the European hot/helplines for children, 116111 and 116000. Our interest and involvement in combating child trafficking in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine is significant and obvious. Over 7 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the war, both internally and across borders. Half of them are children, while almost 2.400 cases of missing children have been recorded so far.

We have organized 2 missions to Ukraine with the dispatch of 30 tons of humanitarian aid and the transfer of families with children to Greece, where they are accommodated in houses of our Organization and we provide them with holistic support. We also voluntarily participate in the creation of individual profiles (with their consent of course) with useful data to facilitate tracking, research and rescue if the individual person goes missing. Our call centers have been working as anti-trafficking Info Desks since 2014, and we have Ukrainian and Russian interpreters on call, and train our call center staff to deal with the specifics of war.  On the European level, we cooperate with the organization Magnolia in Ukraine, as members of the European network "Missing Children Europe" and on the global level with the global network Child Helpline International, with active assistance in cases of disappearances as well as counseling support for children and teenagers.

We welcome the initiative of this meeting and hope that it will act as a catalyst for the political participation of public authorities in handling the issue. At "The Smile", we are willing to contribute, following our principles of a holistic approach and support without discrimination", concluded the President of the Organization.

During its intervention, the Organization submitted specific Proposals, such as the registration and supervision of all organizations operating in the field, the utilization and further development of tools that already exist and operate effectively, such as the European hot/helplines 116000 and 116111, but also the utilization of civil society organizations for a holistic crisis management.

On the occasion of their participation in the OSCE Meeting, the President and the Head of International Cooperation of the Organization had the opportunity and honor to meet Ambassador Konstantinos Kollias at the Permanent Representation of Greece to the OSCE, and to discuss with him the multi-year and holistic action of Organization, but also its contribution to the management of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which led to the invitation received from the OSCE to participate and intervene in this Meeting. Among other things, C. Yannopoulos informed Ambassador Kollias about the specific Proposals he submitted to the OSCE, but also about the Organization's availability to support all efforts of our country, and of international organizations, to effectively deal with the consequences of armed conflicts. True to its principles, "The Smile of the Child" will continue to stand on the side of the Ukrainian refugees residing in Greece throughout time and in the long term. The Organization remains active in the fight against Violence, Disappearances, Health and Poverty at the European and of course national levels.


For more information, please contact:
“The Smile of the Child”
Press Office
Tel. 11040 (local charge)