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Letter to the editor: Romania is winning fight against trafficking

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Letter from Romanian authorities: Fight against trafficking is working
  • They say the number of Romanian citizens trafficked has declined
  • Letter: Romania has launched campaigns to warn people about the threat

(CNN) -- The following is a letter from the Romania Ministry Of Administration And Interior, General Inspectorate Of Romanian Police.

To the Editor:

The General Inspectorate of Romanian Police and the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons believe that the central premise of the CNN.com Opinion piece "Romania a global center for human trafficking" is subjective and false.

The view that "Romania has become a major transit for the sale of people into the European Union. Victims as young as 12 years old are trafficked into Romania from destinations as far-reaching as Honduras, Afghanistan, the Congo, and China" is not supported by our research.

The information in the article does not appear to be based on recent and objective statistical data, either from a qualitative or quantitative perspective.

Recent and detailed studies by Romania's National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons clearly indicate that Romania is an origin country for trafficking in persons.

At the same time, our official statistics show that in the last few years, the number of victims with Romanian citizenship, identified and trafficked from Romania, significantly decreased. This contradicts the statements referring to Romania as being a center of the human trafficking phenomenon. In 2008, there were 1240 identified victims, in 2009 the number decreased to 780 victims, and in the first nine months of 2010, we identified approximately 500 victims.

Romania represents a model of best practices in Europe in the areas of prevention and combating trafficking in persons. We have developed and implemented modern legislation, which incorporates EU Directives on human trafficking. Our legislation produces concrete results in identifying, protecting and assisting victims.

In terms of prevention in 2010 alone, the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons launched three national campaigns and several others at regional level to help raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking in persons.

Using both old and new media, these campaigns focused on raising awareness and proposing practical solutions to adults, teenagers and children. For example, the Agency held seminars in high schools and public places where the message could effectively reach the target groups. Some of the campaign slogans were: "Free in the light of the Sun. Get informed. Trafficking in persons is unmerciful"; "Use the internet carefully. Human trafficking has hidden faces"; and "The labour right is yours. Don't sell it to the traffickers."

Romania is recognized as a regional leader in the fight against trafficking in persons in Eastern Europe, because our country contributed to the significant decrease of this organized crime. Romania can provide expertise and is a trustworthy partner in the European fight against trafficking in persons.

We would also like to mention that Romania's National Agency against Trafficking in Persons, which is a public institution with expertise in the area of human trafficking, was not approached for any data or information in the preparation of this article.

We take this opportunity to express our availability in providing information to reflect the real dimension of the human trafficking phenomenon in Romania and the institutional efforts to prevent and combat this phenomenon.