The CBSS Children at Risk Unit invited policymakers, practitioners, advocates and researchers from the Nordic and Baltic Sea Region, including Northwest Russia, to gather on 29 – 30 May 2018 the for the regional expert conference on Good Practices in Identification and Referral of Children at Risk of Exploitation and Trafficking in Oslo, Norway.
The Norwegian Deputy Minister for Children and Equality, Mr Tom Erlend Skaug, opened the conference. Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children and President of ”Missing Children Europe” gave the keynote address. Other high-level experts on hand included: Mike Dottridge, Independent Expert; Rudolf Christoffersen, Member of GRETA and Public Prosecutor in Bergen; Angelica Kjos, Artist, Author and Experience Consultant; Dorothea Czarnecki, Senior Adviser, ECPAT Germany; and many more.
Together with leading European and international experts from the child rights and anti-trafficking field, the participants engaged in a review of the current state of knowledge, policy and practice and develop the Oslo Conclusions.
The results of a multi-country consultation process with child victims of exploitation and trafficking informed the discussion: the children had previously made recommendations on what kind of support is needed to exit difficult and exploitative situations. The speakers, panellists and participants asked and responded to critical questions, engaged in solution-oriented discussions and identified key learning from today’s practice that could guide more effective and appropriate approaches to identification and referral, in the region and beyond.
The conference builds upon previous meetings and achievements in the CBSS Protect Children on the Move project and is a follow up to The Stockholm Conclusions Promoting Good Practices in Protecting Migrant and Asylum Seeking Children, especially Unaccompanied Children, and Finding Solutions for the Children, Families, Societies and States – December 2016. Several hundred officials, professionals and experts have been consulted, trained and shared information during 2013 – 2018, culminating in a number of publications in the lead up to this conference.
The Council of the Baltic Sea States Expert Group on Children at Risk developed the project in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers. During 2016, the two Councils organized training seminars in Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. In 2017, meetings on good practices in identification and referral have taken place in St. Petersburg and Vilnius.
The conference was co-organized with the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.