The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime’s published a new report on commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the region, called ‘Exploited in plain sight – an Assessment of commercial sexual exploitation of children and child protection responses in the Western Balkans. LSI’s members representatives; Stojne Atanasovska Dimishkovska and Marija Todorovska of Open Gate in North Macedonia and Marija Andjelković of ASTRA in Serbia contributed to the report.
The report provides an overview of the different manifestations of CSEC, assessed the impact of COVID-19 on the phenomenon and analyzed the perpetrators’ role as well as the profile of children vulnerable to CSEC across the region. While the findings of this report show that the number of CSEC cases registered overall is low for the 6 countries, the authors expect a significant underestimate. Hence the report reveals that more information is needed, especially from official sources, and that identified others gaps, including the current weaknesses in the child protection infrastructure, limited institutional capacity, lack of specialization and engagement by civil society and the low awareness of the private sector, should be addressed, preferably with a joint reginal approach.
On May 18, within the 30th session of the Commission for the Prevention of Crime and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), ASTRA, the United Kingdom Mission to the UN and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) organized a side-event ‘Preventing vulnerability and strengthening policy responses for commercial sexual exploitation of children’, to launch the publication and its findings.