Children trafficked for exploitation in begging and criminality: A challenge for law enforcement and child protection

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Council of the Baltic Sea States Child Centre

In 2002, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) established an Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk (EGCC), a group of representatives from the ministries responsible for child policy in the CBSS Member States. The Expert Group set up the Children’s Unit within the CBSS international secretariat and created a special regional framework for cooperation on child rights and child protection. Through its programmes, the EGCC has addressed the situation of unaccompanied and trafficked children in the region since 2003. The EGCC programme on child trafficking for exploitation in begging and criminal activities offers an opportunity for joint learning and reflection between the different agencies involved in addressing these cases. The programme aims to develop recommendations on how the cooperation of child protection services and law enforcement agencies can be strengthened in order to better respond to and prevent the exploitation of children in begging and criminal activities. The report starts with a brief summary account of what has been reported on the exploitation of children in begging and criminal activities in the four countries that participated in the programme, namely Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden. It proceeds then to discuss selected elements of the legal framework concerning child trafficking and exploitation. It revisits legal concepts and definitions and to which extent they are applicable to the exploitation of children in begging and criminal activities. The main interest of the report is to document experience and promising examples from each of the countries, to identify contentious issues and challenges encountered and how they have been confronted or overcome. The report concludes with a summary of the key observations and findings and selected recommendations for law, policy and practice.

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