Pilot project: “Early warning system for missing children”

Capacity building to protect children in North Macedonia

Duration: July 1st, 2021 – December 31st, 2022

Project management: ECPAT Austria

Project partner: JHR – Journalists for Human Rights

Funding agency: Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection

An increasing number of children are disappearing and they cannot be traced, which is a trend of modern society, and some are becoming victims of violence, exploitation and child trafficking. Мain causes of human trafficking intensify during the Covid-19 pandemic: poverty, unemployment and domestic violence, and marginalized groups, such as Roma, are particularly at risk of being trafficked. During pandemic, more children gained access to digital communication and electronic equipment for the first time.  Due to lack of knowledge in dealing with digital media and other risk factors, the risk of being abused or recruited for child trafficking is significantly higher for children from marginalized groups such as Roma.

Following the experiences of other countries that have alert systems for missing children, Journalists for Human rights in collaboration and under project management of ECPAT Austria, will implement the “Pilot Project for Early Warning System for Missing Children” in North Macedonia. Numerous activities will take place until December 2022, introducing a good practice through involving different stakeholders in the process of eliminating trafficking of children for labor/sexual exploitation.

The “Pilot Project for Early Warning System for Missing Children” in North Macedonia includes involving relevant stakeholders, training experts from different contexts, exchange of “good practices”, preparation of regulations, improvement of networks and online security through innovative technologies, development of a tool for online security and piloting of an early warning system for missing children.

The project partners will work together to protect children from disappearing and to prevent from harm those affected. An important aspect of the project is engaging different stakeholders (public and private sectors, civil society organizations) in the implementation of an early warning system for missing children.

The main goal is to improve the existing approaches and to find new methods for the prevention, investigation and mitigation of trafficking of human beings and children, as well as to protect or strengthen the rights of those affected by exchanging experiences and acquiring new knowledge. JHR relies on the Austrian experience, as such an early warning system already exists in Austria: www.oesterreichfindeteuch.at

Inquiries and contact: Aleksandra Radevska, aleksandra@jhrmk.org