NGO perspective on Unaccompanied Children in the region of the Baltic Sea States

Ms Annika Åhnberg, Chair person of Save the Children Sweden, opened the second day of the meeting on Unaccompanied Children in the region of the Baltic Sea States with a presentation followed by a lively discussion.

In referring to the situation of these children Ms Åhnberg stated:

 

"The situation of  these children is not acceptable. There has to be action taken by all countries in our region. To be able to do that we need a strong co-operation between countries and between different actors in society.

 

Greater freedom of movement within Europe has resulted in many children leaving their homeland in search of a better life . Many of them with good results but some fall  into underpaid work and child trafficking. Many children are coming "en route" via some place else,  to Sweden. And the situation is the same in other countries.

Afghan and Somali children tell us that they have lived in Moscow or Tallinn for several months waiting to be transported further.

 

The explosive growth of Internet has given children in Eastern Europe a once-unthinkable opportunity to interact with others internationally. However the Internet is also a catalyst for the once-unthinkable spread of child pornography.

Examples from other regions show that these children are moving back and forth. A report made by International Social Service analysed a sample of 256 Albanian children repatriated between 1998 and 2000 from neighbouring countries.  At the beginning of 2001, 98 of these children remained in Albania, while 155 of them had emigrated abroad again. Some children migrate several times."