in Europe

"A new investigation on the trafficking of Romanian children in Spain this summer"


Cristiano Barale, 37, is taking the lead of Tdh operations in Romania, after 3 years in counter-child trafficking projects in Moldova.

With the integration of Romania into the European Union, did you see any visible changes in the policy related to child protection?
Cristiano Barale: Well, really not! I think first because Romania joined the European Union since few months. Generally speaking, I think that Romania has improved a lot its capacity to address problems related to child protection, but still, some problems remain unsolved.
I think that the most delicate situations to be solved are related to a lack of governance at local level and lack of human and financial resources in the system of child protection. There is a chronic under financing of the social sector that directly impacts the fulfilment of the rights of Romanian children. And I think this is one of the main challenges for the next years here in Romania.
Can you talk about the situation of the Romanian minors, but in Italy?
Cristiano Barale: Terre des hommes in November 2005, the International Federation of Terre des hommes in partnership with “Fundatia Romana pentru Copii, Communitate si Familie” and “Casa Dei Diritti Sociali”, one Romanian and one Italian NGO, conducted a three-month research project on unaccompanied minors in the city of Rome, the capital of Italy.
The findings of this research pointed to situations of vulnerability to exploitation and trafficking of children, and mainly Romanian children from the Southern regions of Romania. Dolj and Calaras counties being the main counties of origin of these unaccompanied minors.
This is the reason why Terre des hommes Romania decided to realise an assessment about the situation of the children in the region of Dolj with the aim to identify the most pertinent risk factors that could lead these children to leave their communities. From the observations in Rome, I can say that phenomenon of unaccompanied minors is increasing and the majority of these children is exploited either from Romania to Italy, or once they are in Italy. The forms of exploitation are mainly prostitution and begging in the streets.
You are planning to organise a specific investigation on the exploitation schemes of Romanian minors in Spain…
Cristiano Barale: Yes, Spain is with Italy one of the two main countries of destination of Romanian migrants in general, including children. Therefore, we have decided to run an investigation in the streets of Madrid and other tourist places this summer in Spain.
Tdh approach to fight against child trafficking or exploitation of children in migration is exactly the one of developing links between country of origin and country of destination in order to increase coordination between the stakeholders involved in the protection of these children in both countries. So the aim is exactly to understand more precisely routes, characteristic, magnitude of this problem in Spain today and to get in contact with the main Spanish stakeholders who are aware of the problem, who are trying to protect these children in Spain today.
Tdh Romania wishes to create a coalition of NGOs, Romanian NGOs, who are interested in increasing the effectiveness of the protection of the children here in Romania. First of all, we will try to get in contact and to create links between the Romanian NGOs and the Spanish ones. How? Through programs of exchange of experience of practitioners and peer educators between the two countries, and, while increasing mutual knowledge of the problem in both countries, and while increasing the knowledge about this problem in Spain and in Romania, then we will be able to address advocacy messages to both national authorities in Spain and in Romania.