CEU Takes Part in CONFRONT Project to Counter New Forms of Roma Child Trafficking

Researchers in CEU's Center for Policy Studies (CPS) are participating in a large-scale project that aims to strengthen counter-trafficking efforts in Europe by addressing two deficiencies in current discourse: lack of in-depth knowledge of new forms of child-trafficking and lack of involvement of the Roma community (a group at high risk of child trafficking). The project, funded by the EU Commission, will focus on three new forms of trafficking: child begging, labor exploitation for pick-pocketing, and sexual exploitation of boys. Research will take place in seven EU member states, four of them typical countries of origin for victims of trafficking (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia), and three of them traditionally destination points for Roma victims (Austria, Italy, and Greece).

Through new testing methods, participatory research, and analysis, the group aims to first understand new forms of trafficking and then strengthen counter-trafficking efforts. Roma researchers in target countries will participate. In order to enhance child victim support, the group will launch two pilot initiatives to help with victim reintegration and, importantly, to sensitize service providers and child welfare authorities to the plight of trafficked children.

“We have a long way to go. Child victims of trafficking hardly ever get treatment from the social or the childcare system – the referral system is dysfunctional,” said Zsuzsanna Vidra, research fellow at CEU's Center for Policy Studies (CPS). “The latency of the phenomenon is even greater than for adults.”

At the conclusion of the project in June 2015, participants will share findings with important stakeholders and advocate for the involvement of the Roma in counter-trafficking efforts. CEU's Viola Zentai, CPS director and research fellow is the project's senior advisor, with Vidra serving as principal researcher. The partner organizations are: the Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria), the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights (Austria), the Censis Foundation (Italy), the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Greece), People in Need (Slovakia), and Soros Foundation Romania.

The project is funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union. For further information, visit http://cps.ceu.hu/research/confront.