Study on child trafficking in the Nordic countries

Findings from previous UNICEF IRC studies on child trafficking, including in the European region, affirm the importance of understanding child trafficking in close connection with other child rights and protection issues. In 2009, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) entered into a partnership with the National Committees for UNICEF in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to conduct a study on child trafficking in these five Nordic countries.

The UNICEF IRC study is conceptualised within the broad framework of the implementation of international standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children as well as regional standards and instruments. The study further builds upon the advocacy experience of the National Committees for UNICEF in Nordic countries on child trafficking and related issues.

Research analyses the national and regional laws, policies and structures in place to prevent and respond to child trafficking and how they relate to national child protection systems. It will critically review responses to address and prevent child trafficking from the perspective of children's rights. It will seek to assess the impact of anti-trafficking responses on children who are at risk of trafficking, including: children who are socially or economically excluded, children who experience discrimination due to their ethnic or national origin, immigration status or other factors, as well as children who are victims of other forms of exploitation. Good practices of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the Nordic countries will be identified and examined with a view to assessing how these measures can contribute to more systemic approaches and prevention.

The study is being implemented through a multi-step process, beginning with a comprehensive literature review on child trafficking and related child rights and protection issues in the Nordic countries. The review covers official information sources from the Nordic Governments, ministries and institutions and official and alternative reports to UN Treaty Bodies and their respective Concluding Observations. Other important sources of information include studies and reports by non-governmental, international and regional organisations and academic and research institutions. In addition to qualitative data, quantitative data available from official sources from each of the countries will be collected and analysed. An in-depth analysis of legal and policy frameworks at national and regional levels will be conducted. In addition, key informant interviews, expert consultations and round table discussions will inform the analysis. The study is being implemented in close consultation with an Advisory Group comprising experts from regional organisations, international non-governmental organisations, academics and UNICEF officials.

The UNICEF IRC study will yield recommendations on how to strengthen systemic approaches to prevent child trafficking in all its forms and to protect children who have experienced exploitation, especially in the context of trafficking. While the recommendations will be formulated specifically for the Nordic countries, it is anticipated that the findings will also inform the broader regional and international debates on child trafficking. A final report will be published and launched in mid- 2011.

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