Fantasies and Realities of Child Exploitation in Western Europe

Fantasies and Realities of Child Exploitation in Western Europe

By Peyroux Olivier, 19 Nov 2014

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Drawing on a rich experience in the field working with exploited children, Olivier Peyroux sets out to expose and de-construct from a child protection perspective some of the complex sociological mechanisms driving contemporary trafficking modi operandi in Europe. Widely held mythical misconceptions linked to clichés of poverty, immigration or ethnic stereotyping continue to fuel this rapidly expanding criminal phenomenon often leading Member States to fail to correctly identify and protect the victims of some of the worst forms of contemporary slavery. In spite of a growing arsenal of child-protection focused EU antitrafficking legislation, children continue to be perceived and treated by the authorities as delinquents for the criminal activities they are forced to commit under duress or because of the manipulative ascendancy of the traffickers.

Who exploits these children? Parents? Mafia type family networks? Are we dealing with organized crime? Needy families trying to extricate themselves from poverty? Why are the Police, the child protection agencies or NGOs so powerless to intervene?

By approaching the problem from the innovative perspective of the child victims themselves and their legitimate human aspirations for attaining a personal image of self-worth and social recognition in the eyes of their peers, the author demonstrates how difficult it is for them to escape their exploitation. In doing so, he also brings to light the underlying reasons for current failing policies. Through his welcome re-framing of counter-productive mindsets and the highlighting of positive initiatives in some Member States, Peyroux proposes a creative approach to the complex realities of child trafficking which will undoubtedly interest relevant stakeholders and concerned citizens alike. 

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