Any person or institution in contact with children should use child-friendly communication and evidence-based protocols when interviewing victims of child trafficking. These tools respect the best interests of the child, help avoid secondary trauma during the administrative and judicial process, and support the child’s recovery and rehabilitation.
Good communication as protection for the victims of child trafficking is the basic principle of the new practice-oriented guideline “Hearing Victims of Childhood Exploitation and Trafficking and Children at Risk: Instructions for child-friendly communication and questioning in order to obtain accurate and reliable statements from children“, Developed within the framework of the joint action of the European Union and the Council of Europe” Preventing and combating human trafficking in Serbia “.
On September 20, 2021, an online round table on available tools and best practices in child-sensitive communication in Serbia took place, attended by more than 50 participants from social centers and nursing homes as well as practitioners from civil society organizations. The event was organized in cooperation with the Center for the Protection of Human Trafficking Victims and the Serbian Social Welfare Chamber.
Daja Wenke, co-author of the guide, pointed out that research confirms: “Children are usually able to remember events and make reliable and accurate statements at a young age and during trauma. For this, however, children need support, which is why a child-friendly environment, trained professionals and the use of evidence-based interview protocols are necessary. “
Representatives from the Center for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking presented cases where evidence-based interview tools (such as forensic interviews) are used in formal interviews with children involved in administrative or judicial proceedings as victims or witnesses. The center emphasized that these evidence-based tools can be used beyond the forensic context and by all service providers who communicate with children. In addition, the participants discussed specific examples of interviews with traumatized children and common mistakes when using evidence-based interview tools.
The participants recognized the guidelines and the round table as very useful and supported them in learning and overcoming challenges in real life situations and in assessing cases with children.
The action “Preventing and combating human trafficking in Serbia” is part of the joint EU / Council of Europe program “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022”.
Hearing Victims of Childhood Exploitation and Trafficking and Children at Risk: Instructions for child-friendly communication and questioning in order to obtain accurate and reliable statements from children