June 2003

On 1-3 June, in Helsinki, the US, Canadian and Swedish Embassies to Finland, the Finnish Government and the Council of the Baltic Sea States gathered some 150 delegates to share and improve practices, programmes and policies aimed at stopping trafficking in children.

The Conference “Stop Child Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery” enjoyed the presence of several dignitaries like H.E. President Tarja Halonen of Finland, H.E. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, H.E. Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki of Finland, H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Winberg of Sweden, Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson of Sweden, and H.E. Ambassador Adele Dion of Canada. “The Children’s Senator” Chris Smith of the United States gave videotaped remarks. Her Highness, Queen Silvia of Sweden sent her videotaped greeting to the conference.

H.E. Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter was the driving force behind the conference.

This instructive and forceful conference gave clear political support from the entire Baltic Sea region as well as from the United States and Canada that the fight against trafficking in children is as important and necessary as ever.