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Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children was opened in Athens

13 October 2010 / 13:10:07  GRReporter
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"Greece, because of its geographic location, is a country through which child victims of trafficking pass and enter Europe. All police officers should be informed and trained to cope with serious cases like the one that happened a few days ago, when a 10-year-old child of Gypsy origin was kidnapped. Subsequently, the child was found in a serious condition after being raped by many people," added Mr. Giannopoulos, saying that the purpose of the newly opened Centre is to find a way that no child could be abducted. "Everyone should know that when a child disappears, you must notify the competent authorities and The Smile of the Child,” he said.

"We, as a town hall, have decided to cooperate with The Smile of the Child because we believe that their fight is very important – the fight to provide better living conditions for the children," said the Mayor of Amarusios George Patoulis. "The data are striking - in 2008 28,000 children in Greece became victims of violence or sexual abuse each year. One of every four children that were hospitalized because they were battered is under the age of five; 8% remained disabled and 50% fail to recover mentally from the trauma.

We have a law that domestic violence is considered a criminal offense, but we have a long way to go from law to reality. Children sale, as data prove, unfortunately, is the third most profitable of the illegal activities in the world after the drug and weapon trade," said Mr. Patoulis. He added that the centre will fill a major gap and will primarily deal with prevention of kidnapping and illegal trafficking of children, finding the children and supporting them to overcome the trauma.

"Our view is that prevention is better than therapy," said the Deputy Secretary General of the organization Missing Children Europe Delphine Moralis. She announced the bad news that many children do not appear in the statistics because nobody is looking for them. Daniel Ezra, the head of the mission of the International Organisation for Migration in Greece, added to her words the data for Greece, saying that eight out of ten children who disappeared in Greece are children of immigrants. "The worst thing is that these children are not recorded anywhere and no one will look for them," said Mr. Ezra.

"Children are very important for us in Interpol and they are our priority from five years on," said the head of the special department for crimes against children at Interpol and inspector at the department of disappearances in the Belgian police Alain Remy. "We have defined four fields of interest:  

- Identification of child victims in child pornography. Each photo is evidence of a crime.

- Trafficking, sex tourism, prostitution

- Internet has made crimes against children easier

- Criminals involved in the offenses with children who we warn that the time will come when the police will knock on their door

The motto of Interpol is: think globally, act locally. The newly opened centre in Athens is a very good example of this," said Mr. Remy. Having serious experience, Mr. Remy said that there are three rules when the police take up cases of missing children:

- Each case is different and routine is the worst for the police officer

- Timing is crucial - the first 24 hours are the most important because you can not lose time. We can no longer tell a parent to wait, because the child will be home within 12 hours

- Never ignore anything! We are fighting against crimes against our children, because children victims of crimes are our children."

The Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children is coordinated by the organization The Smile of the Child which initiated its creation on the base of the respective International Centre (International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children).

Tags: NewsSocietyMissing childrenInternetExploitation
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