Commission on Human Rights
Every year, thousands of people - the majority of whom are women and children - fall victim to trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual, labor and other exploitation, both within and beyond national borders. Trafficking in human beings is a terrible violation of human rights in general, and the more so when women and children become victims of this contemporary form of slave trade.
For many years the Romanian Government has been deeply engaged on the path of prevention and combating trafficking in human beings, with a special focus on assistance and protection of victims. The 2004 Report of the Romanian Ministerial Working Group for Co-ordination and Evaluation of activities for Preventing and Combating Trafficking reasserts that prevention and countering trafficking in human beings is a priority on the Romanian government agenda. The Romanian National Plan of Action focuses primarily on law enforcement and legal reform and includes all relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions in each field of action, including research, prevention, awareness raising, assistance, legal reform and law enforcement.
The main activities of the Romanian Inter-ministerial Working Group in the area of co-ordination for the year 2004 included:
With regard to preventive actions, the Romanian Government has identified the necessity of raising awareness in this field mainly by education means. In this respect, several themes related to trafficking in human beings have been recently included in the national curricula applicable to the primarily and secondary school. At the same time anti-trafficking awareness campaigns were carried out in the mass media in order to underline the existent risks of becoming victim of trafficking. The decreasing level of trafficking in big cities of Romania was the result of these campaigns.
The Romanian Government is currently focusing on improving the procedures of identification of victims and the capacity to offer them proper and complete assistance and protection, placing emphasis on the special needs of children. In this regard, in 2004 the Romanian authorities started to review the functioning of the national system of collecting statistical data by implementing a standardized application form to be used by all governmental institutions involved in this activity.
Many activities are particularly focused on preventing the trafficking of children. For example, the Romanian authorities have recently developed, in co-operation with UNICEF and Columbia University, a program for mapping out advocacy and media campaigns and outreaching initiatives aimed at preventing child trafficking by assessing the relevance and effectiveness of existing projects in this field.
Fighting the trafficking in human beings is not only a national responsibility, but also a regional and international obligation. The mobility and flexibility of criminal networks require a coherent international response when approaching this phenomenon. Romania has become party to the most relevant international instruments, proving its commitment to find appropriate and effective answers to this serious and direct threat to human dignity.
The Romanian authorities consider that the reinforcing of the regional and international cooperation in this field on this matter is not only necessary but also vital. In this context allow me to briefly present a relevant example, which is the Task Force on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings established within the SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime. Since 2002 the Task Force has coordinated - on annually basis - regional operations, called MIRAGE, aimed at dismantling human trafficking networks. Operation Mirage 2004, coordinated by Romania, resulted in the identification of 601 victims, of whom 98 received assistance from NGOs (such as medical assistance, psychological counseling, and shelter) and 138 were repatriated by the International Organization for Migration.
I would like also to refer briefly to the ILO's sub-regional "Project of Technical Assistance against Labour and Sexual Exploitation of Children, including Trafficking, in countries of Central and Eastern Europe ". Its mandate is to provide technical and financial assistance to States in the implementation of child labour conventions, especially the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention. The project has a four-year duration (2003-2007) and it combines actions at national level with collaborative activities at sub-regional level that focuse on good practices in combating trafficking in children and other Worst Forms of Child Labour.
Romania strongly believes that similar initiatives may be conducted on larger scale so as to ensure an appropriate response to trafficking in human beings. My country is firmly committed to the cooperation on regional and international level in order to combat this negative phenomenon more efficiently.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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