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INTRODUCTION

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre is the independent research arm of the United Nations agency dedicated to the protection of children and the promotion of child rights. The Centre has a specific global mandate to fill knowledge gaps in current issues, address sensitive or controversial issues, and flag new and emerging issues.

The Innocenti Research Centre has been working on child trafficking for a number of years in close collaboration with UNICEF Regional and Country Offices and other partners in order to identify effective policy solutions. Research began in 1998 in Western Africa in collaboration with the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office. The results of this research, “Child Trafficking in West Africa: Policy Responses”, were presented at the UN Special Session on Children in May 2002.

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre is a key research partner in the development of a European Union—African Plan of Action on Trafficking. One of its primary contributions is the new 2003-2004 research publication “Trafficking in Human Beings, especially Women and Children, in Africa”, which covers 53 countries in Africa and is a collaborative project with the Governments of Italy and Sweden.

Given the impact of this study’s results and the importance of the issue of trafficking in children, UNICEF has mobilized resources to follow up the research. The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre is currently engaged in research activities on trafficking of children in Europe. This research investigates the complexity of the problem from its origin (Central and Eastern Europe and Baltic States) to its destination (EU and Western Europe).
 
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