Stockholm, January 2014
Case assessment and best interest determination: Special considerations and procedures in transnational cases of children exposed to exploitation, trafficking and children at risk.
In 2014 and 2015, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat is organising five expert meetings in cooperation with partners in Europe and beyond. The aim of the meetings is to identify child rights standards and key agencies responsible for protecting children exposed to exploitation and trafficking in cross-border situations.
The outcomes will include a report and an online tool outlining relevant laws, policies and procedures as well as responses to issues faced by child welfare and migration authorities in relation to the return of child victims of exploitation and trafficking.
The first Expert Meeting was convened at the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm, Sweden, on 28-29 January 2014. It focused on the theme ‘Case assessment and best interest determination: Special considerations and procedures in transnational cases of children exposed to exploitation, trafficking, and children at risk’. The participants, a group of over forty experts, represented local and national authorities, UN Agencies, national and international NGOs, service providers and practitioners from the Nordic and Baltic States, representatives from Member States of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The summary summarises, in synergy, the key outcomes and conclusions that resulted from the meeting. A more detailed full conference report is also available below.
Session I: Introduction
Key note speech: The best interests of the child
Johanna Schiratzki, Professor of Welfare Law – Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden
Session II: The best interests of the child in practice: Experience and perspectives from different sectors
The social services approach to best interests assessment
Charlotta Thorelius, Development Manager against Prostitution and Human Trafficking – County Administrative Board of Stockholm, Sweden
The perspective on return and best interests assessment
Claes Lyckner, Coordinator: Return of victims of trafficking – County Administrative Board of Stockholm, Sweden
Examples of multi-disciplinary/cross-sectoral/inter-agency approaches to best interests assessment
Mariana Petersel, President – Association Generatie Tanara, Romania
Bragi Guðbrandsson, General Director – The Government Agency for Child Protection, Iceland
Evija Ivdra, Senior Inspector – The State Inspectorate for protection of children’s rights, Latvia.
Session III: International perspectives
The contribution of international actors to best interests assessments in transnational child protection cases
Andy Elvin, CEO – Children and Families Across Borders, UK
Monika Sandvik-Nylund, Senior Adviser on Child Protection, UNHCR
Jyothi Kanics, Advocacy & Policy Specialist – Child Rights Advocacy and Education UnitUNICEF, Geneva
Dorothea Czarnecki, Senior Adviser – ECPAT, Germany
Experience with handling dilemmas in best interests assessment in transnational child protection cases
Daniela Reale, Exploited Children Adviser – Save the Children, UK
Pierre Cazenave, Regional Child Rights Officer – Terre Des Hommes, Hungary
Session IV: The Child’s perspective
The child’s perspective and best interest determination in the formal system
Elin Wernqvist-Roberts, Manager – Children’s Rights Bureau, Sweden
Elinoar Lindroth, Social Worker – Social Services Administration, Sweden
Relevant links provided by the participants:
Terre des Hommes: Protecting Migrant Children in a Freedom of Movement Area
The second expert meeting on Returns and Transfers: International and European standards, procedures and safeguards for children in transnational cases of children exposed to exploitation, trafficking and children at risk was held in Riga in May.