Romanian politicians met Civil Society in the work against Human Trafficking

The Conference "Politicians and Civil Society against Human Trafficking" in the Romanian Parliament brought together many politicians and NGO’s in order to discuss how they can help each other in the fight against human trafficking. Many important speakers from the political side and from the civil society side had the opportunity to share their message and interact. They revealed what their hopes and plans are for the future as well as the difficulties they encounter in the work they do and how these could be solved.

Angel Tîlvăr, Romanian Government Minister for Romanians abroad and coordinator of the Romanian Parliamentary Group on combating trafficking of human beings chaired the morning session. Together with other high level speakers, he emphasized the importance of combating human trafficking in the development of international relations and illustrated this with important data. Some of the main speakers were: Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania (1996-2000); Daniel Ioniță, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Codrin Scutaru and Ioana Cazacu, both State Secretaries for Labor, Family and Social Protection; Paul Nicolae Petrovan, the Prefect of Bucharest, Branislav Škripek MEP; Spiru Bărbuceanu, Direction for the Countering of Organized Criminality, Mariana Petersel, President "Young Generation" Association; Irene Hirzel, ACT212, and others. (For a full list of speakers please visit our Events page.)

Over 100 representatives of different NGO’s connected with the European Freedom Network from more than 30 countries and about 100 Romanian representatives of NGOs, politicians and law enforcement attended the session. Several international speakers from Belgium, Netherlands Norway and United Kingdom as well as representatives of six embassies were present.

The presence of many NGO’s and message was very much appreciated. Daniel Ioniţă articulated his gratitude for the work of the NGO’s in combating human trafficking and offering the victims the help they need whether medical, psychological, educational, juridical, and professional or other types.

Emil Constantinescu, pointed to the political consequences of human trafficking: “human trafficking has political consequences. Corruption in police, and customs were reasons for the growth in human trafficking. Women are terrorized and for many women we do not know where they are in what situation: tortured, murdered, on the tolerance of magistrates. The economic recession, lack of education, illegal work. There are many problems.”

Representatives of NGO’s such as Mariana Petersel did not turn aside from naming some of the problems they face in their work: “The main problems are the official documents. Victims return to Romania but who is taking care of them even on getting the legal acts arranged?"

Branislav Skripek, MEP and member of the ECPM, has reiterated the effectiveness of criminalizing the purchase of sex, in combating human trafficking. So called the “Nordic model”, this regulation has bought about visible results in diminishing prostitution and with it the human trafficking, in the countries where it was applied. Several NGO representatives have backed Skripek’s message, including Maria Ahlin from Norway, who presented data from statistics that show a 40 – 55% decrease in prostitution in Oslo in the first 5 years since the implementation of the Nordic model.

Leo van Doesburg, ECPM Director for European Affairs and Policy Advising highlighted the consequences of liberal prostitution policies on the increase of human trafficking, and new forms of trafficking like maternity trafficking which regrettably is it going to be discussed in the juridical committee of the Romanian Parliament.

During the afternoon session the group was divided into two parts, an international group and a Romanian group in order to discuss the steps for collaboration at the national level and at the international level.The Romanian Group was chaired by ECPM members and Deputies Petru Andea, Florica Chereches together with van Doesburg. The international group was chaired by ECPM member, Deputy Mircea Lubanovici together with Julia Doxat-Purser from the European Evangelical Alliance and EFN.

This event is the second in a series of actions organized by the Group on Combating Human Trafficking in Human Beings of the Romanian Parliament together with ECPM. This year, the event was made possible in collaboration with European Freedom Network which organized a one week Bridge conference that brings together many international NGO’s involved in combating human trafficking.

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