Children trafficked for exploitation in begging and criminality

Young people in criminality and young people in street begging may be victims of exploitation where the acts they perform or are forced to perform are instigated as a part of organised criminality.

Children are exposed to many different and multiple forms of exploitation. An area of growing awareness is the exploitation of children in begging and criminal activities. With the adoption of the new EU Directive on human trafficking in 2011, governments have specifically committed to addressing these forms of exploitation.

In this project, national expert teams consisting of an investigating police officer, a prosecutor, a child protection professional and a representative of a child right’s NGO were formed in each participating country. The national teams travelled to each country, visiting national facilities, and discussing their challenges, experiences and good practices. Expert seminars were also held.

Discussions focused on:

  • challenges facing law enforcement and child protection when it comes to protecting children suspected of being trafficked for exploitation in begging and/or in criminality;
  • unaccompanied, asylum seeking children and links to trafficking;
  • children in criminality;
  • access to protection for child victims;
  • difficulties in prosecuting the perpetrators. 

The final report looks summarise the discussions and the good examples encountered in the four countries.

The project ended with a roundtable seminar in Vilnius, at which some 60 experts from the region and from other parts of Europe looked at how best to ensure protection while prosecuting perpetrators.

This project was supported by the Swedish Institute Baltic Sea Unit and the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, with teams of police, prosecutors, child welfare professionals and NGO experts from Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden.