Pictured: H.E. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, H.E. Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki of Finland, H.E. U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.
On 1-3 June, in Helsinki, the US, Canadian and Swedish Embassies to Finland, the Finnish Government and the Council of the Baltic Sea States gathered some 150 delegates to share and improve practices, programmes and policies aimed at stopping trafficking in children.
The Conference “Stop Child Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery” enjoyed the presence of several dignitairies like H.E. President Tarja Halonen of Finland (presentation), H.E. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, H.E. Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki of Finland (presentation), H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Winberg of Sweden (presentation), Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (presentation), H.E. Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson of Sweden, and H.E. Ambassador Adele Dion of Canada. “The Children’s Senator” Chris Smith of the United States gave videotaped remarks. Her Highness, Queen Silvia of Sweden sent her videotaped greeting to the conference.
H.E. Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter was the driving force behind the conference.
This instructive and forceful conference gave clear political support from the entire Baltic Sea region as well as from the United States and Canada that the fight against trafficking in children is as important and neccessary as ever.
More information may be found in an issue of Baltinfo and also on the website of the Foreign Ministry of Finland.
Additional presentations at the conference included:
Russian NGO “Road of Light” on the work assisting girls affected by violence, abuse and exploitation, by director Galina Vulkova.
Centre Against Abuse “Dardedze” in Riga on their model for rehabilitating children exposed to severe abuse and exploitation, by Agnese Strauta.
Child Support Centre in Tarttu to the theme “Demand Reduction“, by Dr Ruth Soonets.
IOM office in Vilnius on Lithuanian activities in relation to prevention of child trafficking, by Ms Audra Sipaviciene.
ECPAT Sweden on their work implementing a code of conduct for travel operators, by Helena Karlén.
Lars Lööf, Senior Advisor to the Children’s Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States made an introductory presentation to the theme: Victim Assistance.