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The days of fighting an issue of a global proportions from a silo perspective can’t be effective with limited resources. We need to find ways to work together, work smarter with ways that are proven. Trafficking is a $32 billion industry and even if we rescue all the girls today—tomorrow a new crop will be in place. Therefore the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, the Working Group on Girls, PPSEAWA and the League of Women Voters of the United States co-sponsored a panel discussion on "Best Practices: Preventing Child Exploitation at Major Events." Speakers provided insight on how the different actors-- businesses, governments, UN agencies and NGOs can work together to achieve the stated goal.
Peace A. opened the discussion by reading an original poem which reminded all attendees and panel members why this is such an important issue on a personal level.
Joost Kooijmans, Special Assistant of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children discussed the work that they have done with Member States in protecting children around the world. The work includes helping Member States develop legislation dealing with children’s rights and safety. Further, they work with the Member States to develop and implement plans to achieve child safety as well as measuring the effectiveness of those plans.
Abby Kuzma, Director and Chief Counsel of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office talked about their work for Super Bowl 2012. They coordinated with NGOs to identify trafficking crimes. Police, medical personnel and the judiciary were then brought in to make arrests, protect criminal evidence and prosecute those arrested in participating in the crime (the “johns” and/or traffickers) and to provide aid to the victims. An added benefit was that many traffickers decided that it wasn’t worth the risk and therefore, didn’t show up to the SuperBowl at all. Success was measured by the number of training sessions, number of people the ads reached and the percentage of those convicted vs. arrested.
David Arkless, President of Corporate and Government Affairs, of Manpower Inc., a world leader in workforce solutions, discussed his work with businesses and heads of state in eliminating trafficking, whether from the supply chain or from tolerating violations committed by employees. He discussed the importance of rather than intervening on a case by case basis, working to achieve sustainability in eliminating the crime and its demand. This approach includes governments passing laws that criminalizing anyone involved in buying or enabling exploitation, providing aid to the victims and deterring demand by laws that “name and shame”. David talked about the need to teach and educate those involved about the impact of exploitation but also most importantly, confronting heads of business and state when exploitation occurs. Civil society doesn’t allow or tolerate violations of exploitation; corporations as well as nations need to be “reminded” publically when those violations aren’t addressed.
The last speaker, Adrianna Telles, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations spoke about the efforts that Brazil is already undertaking to prevent child exploitation at the World Cup 2014. A lot of the efforts build upon Brazil’s existing legislation and experiences that they have had in hosting other major events, including the annual carnival. Many states have put into place awareness campaigns and victim services.
This panel discussion provided a framework on how different actors can aid in solving the problem of child exploitation. We look forward to a reduction and elimination in child exploitation as more actors embrace this comprehensive approach.
The International Day of the Girl Child 2013 will be celebrated Friday, October 11, 2013.