The Deputy Protector of Citizens for Children's Rights, Jelena Stojanović, stated today that the preventive action of competent authorities and the education of members of sensitive social groups are important in the process of protecting children from various forms of abuse and exploitation, especially from sexual exploitation.
"The Protector of Citizens believes that preventive action and education of members of sensitive social groups are the most important in the process of protecting children from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation. To this end, we issued a large number of recommendations, opinions and legal initiatives to the competent authorities", Stojanović said at the workshop entitled "Protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse".
At the meeting, organized by the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS), Stojanović stated that with the new Law on the Protector of Citizens, this independent state body received a new competence – the national rapporteur in the area of human trafficking, and that in that direction, special focus will be on the protection of children against exploitation and human trafficking.
"Child marriages, in addition to being very harmful to the psychophysical development of children, put children at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. That is why we requested that the amendments to the Family Law expressly prohibit the conclusion of marriages between persons who have not reached the age of 18, even with the permission of the court, and we are an active member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage", Stojanović said.
The Deputy Protector of Citizens also indicated that poor children and Roma children are at risk of human trafficking and various types of exploitation, as well as children who live and work on the street, which is why we asked the competent authorities to fully recognize them, in the amendments to the law on public order and peace, as victims, not as perpetrators of offences.