in Europe



The project Mario aims at improving the level of protection of C/SEE migrant children who are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and/or trafficking. The project seeks – through transnational outreach research, advocacy, trainings and direct support to professionals and empowerment of C/SEE at-risk migrant children – to find multilateral solutions to the problems that children face and that require coordinated and individual protection schemes. Though the situation of unaccompanied minors coming from third countries is widely known, the project Mario fills in an information and protection gap on an under researched European phenomenon that has not been addressed comprehensively by other international organisations so far. Activities at national and regional levels, coupling field work with a strong research component will foster inter-institutional and transnational collaboration while promoting evidence-based and European solutions.
Objective 1: By December 2014 the wellbeing of Central and South East European (C/SEE) migrant children victims of abuse, exploitation and/or trafficking, or at risk to be, has improved thanks to quality services that meet the protection needs they express.
In Bulgaria, Poland, Romania (as well Albania and Kosovo), activities include 2 trainings per year per country for statutory professionals working with C/SEE children at risk of trafficking and exploitation, improving their reslilience and awareness; moreover, child consultation boards, mainly composed of migrant children at risk of unsafe migration will be set up to regularly gather their views on what needs to be done to benefit from better protection. Advocacy messages will be developed for and with the participation of children and promoted nationally. In all countries as well as in Hungary, project partners will also analyse the ability of national child protection services to provide adequate protection to C/SEE migrant children. These analyses will also include the views of children gathered throughout the project. Partners will finally implement advocacy actions targeting national authorities at local and central levels.
Objective 2: By December 2014, C/SEE migrant children benefit from protective frameworks that are in line with their best interests along three migration corridors.
Activities: Research will be conducted in Greece, Italy and the Netherlands to specifically document the situation of Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian children in street situation in targeted cities within those countries. Researchers will work with social workers from the countries of origin and destination. After interviews with local stakeholders a 2-week street observation will take place, which will include interviewing children and their families. The purpose of the research is to identify the child migration patterns, and the vulnerability factors that affect C/SEE migrant children; detect cases of exploitation and trafficking and document this to offer sound policy making basis to authorities. The Greek, Italian and Dutch partners are then following up with the children identified, making sure they access services in their best interests and that durable solutions are found for them. They will also make sure that presumed cases of exploitation and trafficking are referred to the appropriate authorities – when in the best interests of the child. Partners in the countries of origin and destination will work with their state authorities to organise joint transnational meetings with the purpose of adopting standard operating procedures and clear guidelines for the protection and identification of durable solutions for vulnerable children from C/SEE.
Objective 3: By December 2014, C/SEE migrant children have an established network of advocates actively promoting their rights and their protection needs.
Activities: Groups of experts in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania will provide expertise to the project and to authorities in improving the level of prevention and protection fo C/SEE children at risk or victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking. Furthermore, a network of C/SEE NGOs will be created in the region and relevant partners will be identified in countries where the project does not operate. After a mapping, the identified NGOs will be invited to join the informal network, with yearly meetings, where the participating NGOs will agree on yearly advocacy action plans – as well as joint advocacy messages on the better protection of C/SEE migrant children. This initiative will be linked closely to other, existing ones, to find synergies and complementarities. The project coordinator, together with the European offices of ECPAT and TDHIF will implement the advocacy action plan vis a vis European and regional institutions.
Partner Organisations in the Project:
Nobody's Children Foundation – Poland
Defence for Children International Netherlands
Neglected Children Society – Bulgaria
ARSIS- Association for the Social Support of Youth – Greece
Associazione 21 Iuglio Onlas – Italy
Salvati Copii – Save the Children Romania
Save the Children in Albania
Open Gate La Strada Macedonia
The project is co-funded by the European Union's DAPHNE III. programme and Oak Foundation