PAHT Seminar on Child Trafficking held in Madrid

The Parliamentarians Against Human Trafficking team has just returned from Madrid following a successful seminar themed on child trafficking, which took place in the Spanish Parliament on Friday 18 January 2013.

Hosted by the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Congreso de los Diputados (the lower Chamber of the Parliament), the seminar welcomed fifty attendees from eleven countries to the Ernest Lluch Hall to discuss the best ways of effectively tackling child trafficking.

The evening before the seminar, delegates were invited to a welcoming reception at the British Ambassador’s residence, hosted by HM Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman. The Ambassador reaffirmed the commitment of the UK Government to fighting human trafficking and commended the work of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group, notably its Chairs Peter Bone MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss.

The seminar opened with welcoming speeches by Juan Carlos Aparicio Perez MP, Chairman of the Spanish Home Affairs Commission, and Carmen Quintanilla MP, Chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.  Anthony Steen, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation, also welcomed participants to the meeting.

Lars Loof, Head of the Children’s Unit at the Council of Baltic Sea States, then provided the keynote speech on standards concerning prevention and combat of trafficking in children, especially in relation to the obligations of EU states. This was followed by a Q&A session chaired by Peter Bone MP, Chair of the UK All Party Group on Human Trafficking.

Following a short break, Colin Walker, Deputy Director of ECPAT UK, presented a case study on child trafficking, showing the impact that the experience of being trafficked has on a young person. Discussion then followed on guardianship, with a particularly helpful and illustrative intervention by Katlijn Declercq from ECPAT Belgium.

The afternoon session of the seminar began with contributions from senior representatives of the Spanish police, followed by Marta Gonzalez Vazquez’s outline of the situation in Spain and finally Kalle Laanet MP detailing the approach to child trafficking in Estonia.

The PAHT project is grateful to the Congreso de los Diputados for hosting the event, and especially to Marta Gonzalez Vazquez MP for her assistance with preparations. The project would also like to thank the British Embassy in Spain for their practical assistance before and during the seminar.