Children are passed through system until they can be turned from victim into the accused

The national law enforcement system fails to identify the offenses of trafficking in persons, to investigate and hold accountable the persons responsible for the commission of such illegalities. The way in which these cases are investigated and managed does not abide by the principle of a restorative justice for children. The minors who are injured parries in criminal cases concerning trafficking in children get to penitentiary for sexual exploitation acts against other minors, the International Center “La Strada” said in connection with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons that is annually marked on July 31, IPN reports.

The Center’s experts noted that namely because the minors were trafficked for a long period of time, they ultimately perceive the provision of sexual services as a norm and, for their part, engage other children in exploitation or do this at the request of their trafficker.  During the past two years alone, the Republic of Moldova classed at least five minor girls as suspects in child trafficking cases, some of them being now under arrest. Even if “La Strada” for multiple times requested the responsible bodies to provide data about the criminal cases related to child trafficking in which the suspected or accused person is a minor, it received no answer for the reason that there are no such statistics.

The experts said that no minor victim of trafficking who has been helped by “La Strada” during the past five years benefitted from a social rehabilitation and social reintegration program so as to be able to overcome the trauma, to develop resilience skills and to return to a normal life. All these minors, without exception, returned to the street, continuing to provide sexual services so as to earn their living. Most of them were shortly accused of offenses in which they were earlier victims. No matter how vocal authorities’ statements before the foreign partners are, in the Republic of Moldova there are no social rehabilitator programs for minor victims of human trafficking.

“We returned to the 2000s. The anti-trafficking efforts are now built on dropped cases involving minors whom we could not or didn’t want to save and integrate into society when it was possible. On the contrary, these minors were passed through the system and called, as often as needed, to the investigation body to give testimony as witnesses or victims of offenses until it became easier and convenient to accuse them of the same offenses,” said “La Strada” Moldova executive director Ana Revenco, who is quoted in a press release.

The press release also says that the defective practice of punishing the victims of trafficking for offenses committed because of their exploitation situation is a serious violation of their legal right quarantined by the international standards and national legislation. It is defiance of the “non-punishment principle” that is transposed to the international reference provisions concerning human rights.

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