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Ensuring Safety for a Child, Everywhere, Every time
A round table discussion on the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography of the Convention on the Rights of the Child took place in Tashkent. Representatives of UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, state agencies and ministries responsible for child rights and human trafficking, as well as members of civil society organizations and Makhalla Foundation participated in the discussions.
“UNICEF welcomes the efforts of the government in implementing the Optional Protocol on the Sales of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; in particular, the creation of a special unit to combat trafficking within the Ministry of Interior and the establishment of a rehabilitation center. However, there is a need for more progress,” said Sascha Graumann, Representative, UNICEF in Uzbekistan.
Participants of the meeting underlined the key areas that are important to consider in Uzbekistan. These include: the need to improve data collection; the importance of having a clear definition of sale of children; better coordination at all levels to strengthen implementation; communities have the knowledge of measures for prevention; child friendly investigations; social services for the recovery and rehabilitation; and legal compensation or funds for victims.
Justice Renate Winter, Vice-President of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expanded on some of these points. She explained the role of legal definitions for the sale of children and the possibility of criminalization of companies to prevent organized crime by companies that operate by claiming adoption as their mandate.
Justice Renate Winter stressed on the importance of international cooperation to facilitate extraterritorial jurisdiction, to improve communication and transparency with regards to cross-border adoption and to train border agents to recognize trafficked children. She also underlined the need for development of child friendly services, which help victims overcome stigmatization and the ability to guarantee protection for children during trials and during repatriation. “You have to protect them in case repatriation is possible. Protection does not stop at a court room, but only when the child is assured of a safe place everywhere,” said Justice Renate Winter.
Participants recognized the challenges and the importance of strengthening and improving Uzbekistan’s approach to child trafficking, prostitution and pornography. The need to adopt clear definitions not only on trafficking and sales of children, but also on child pornography within the legislation was highlighted. Civil society organizations also underlined the importance of systemic engagement with the Government agencies and sharing good international practices.