UNICEF provides portable cameras to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova to prevent child trafficking from Ukraine
Chisinau, January 26, 2023. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Moldova provided 240 portable cameras and equipment, worth 300 thousand dollars, to the subdivisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to help prevent trafficking of children and women in Ukraine.
These cameras will contribute to the efficiency of surveillance and control measures and will be worn by security personnel, who operate on the territory of the country and at five border points of Moldova, including Palanca, Tudora and Leușeni. This equipment will allow them to collect audio-video recordings of refugees arriving and departing from the main border crossing points, as well as those who decide to stay in the country, becoming a particularly valuable tool when large flows of travelers are recorded . , when children and women may face more risks.
Furthermore, law enforcement officials will be able to ensure better identification and immediate verification, registration and referral of at-risk, unaccompanied and separated children fleeing war. The equipment will also enable the recording of audio-video evidence in the prosecution of criminals such as traffickers or abusers.
Children at risk, especially those separated or unaccompanied by parents or caregivers, are particularly vulnerable to many types of violence, trafficking or exploitation. Last year, UNICEF organized a training program for border police officers, specialists in combating human trafficking, as well as representatives of organizations involved in preventing and combating this phenomenon.
“This will not only speed up equipment and interventions in the case of identifying refugees at risk or those who are traveling unaccompanied or separated from their families. In the long term, these chambers will also ensure the accountability of the employees within the MAI, so that both citizens and system collaborators feel safe, and the transparency of interactions is ensured”, said Ana Revenco, Minister of Internal Affairs.
Since the beginning of the conflict, UNICEF has been providing support to children and families arriving in Moldova and calling on governments in the region to take measures to provide children with safety. This includes strengthening checks and referral mechanisms for child protection at border crossing points.
“Many Ukrainian children cross the border accompanied by neighbors, distant relatives or alone, and these children are at high risk of abuse and exploitation. These rooms will strengthen the range of child protection services that UNICEF has already offered to frontline service providers since the beginning of the conflict,” said Maha Damaj, UNICEF representative in Moldova.
To date, over 600 thousand refugees from Ukraine have entered the territory of the Republic of Moldova for safety and protection, including over 100 thousand children. Of these, almost 800 were separated from their parents, carers or were unaccompanied. With the support of UNICEF and partners, refugee families accessed placement, legal, informational and psychological services during their stay in Moldova.
Wearable cameras are lightweight, can be used 24/7 and accurately record the wearer’s point of view. Thus, this donation will complement the child protection system that UNICEF and research partners will strengthen to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of children and women fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.