Budapest Conference highlights child trafficking

The trafficking of children for sexual purposes has been revealed as a much greater and more generalised problem than was realised. Most victims are from Central and Eastern Europe.

The Multilateral Conference in Budapest, sponsored by UNICEF and the Council of Europe, has exposed alarming facts about the seriousness of child pornography and sexual exploitation of minors in Europe.

On a worldwide scale, the International Organisation for Migration estimates that between 700,000 and 2,000,000 people, including children, are the victims of trafficking in human beings. A quarter of these people are from Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.

Many are tempted into the European Union by false promises of a lucrative contract, only to find that their nightmare begins as soon as they arrive. Not only are adult women sold into prostitution rings, but the problem is affecting minors more and more, a fact which was presented at this conference. For the first time, this issue has been revealed as a large-scale problem, not an isolated marginal problem perpetrated by perverts.

Those who exploit the traffic of children do so because it is cheaper than trafficking in adults. Children can be snatched from schools or from the street, drugged, and transported to the area where their exploitation is to begin, much more easily and with less resistance than an adult.

The proliferation of pornographic sites on the Internet is proof of a dramatic increase in the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. A UNICEF spokesperson stated that it is “cheaper and more simple for traffickers to bring children from Central and Eastern Europe into Western Europe than to recruit them in Less Developed Countries” such as Africa, Asia or South America.

Guy de Vel, Director of Legal Affairs at the Council of Europe, declared at the conference, “Now it is clear that this is real trafficking, carried out by organised groups, the European governments start to take things seriously”.

Stricter controls at points of entry into countries, such as ports and airports and more active intervention by the authorities (police and social services) into suspicious cases would make it harder for the monsters who prey on the defenceless for their personal gain to perpetuate this evil activity.


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