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Russia steps up fight against child abuse

Published time: February 17, 2010 22:24
Edited time: February 17, 2010 22:24

As part of the week to support victims of crime across the country, a center for missing and exploited children is to be established in Russia.

The goal of the new center will be to focus on preventing specific crimes against minors, such as pedophilia, child pornography, slavery, and trafficking.

The issue has become especially pressing lately with the Prosecutor’s office reports showing an unusually high number of committed crimes against children. According to these data, about 12,000 youngsters are reported missing every year in Russia.

Negotiations on the structure of the future institution are currently taking place in Moscow with a delegation from the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a guest.

Maura Harty, director of the center, outlined that only a purely Russian solution will really work.

“We do not come pretending to tell you what will work for you, but simply to share with you what has worked for us. If it is useful to you, we will continue to share that information,” Maura Harty said.

Currently, there is no structure in Russia to deal specifically with crimes against minors.

One of the responsibilities of the new organization will be to train officers how to work with youngsters as witnesses and how exactly to investigate these particular crimes. So far, officials say there is still a long way to go.

“Unfortunately our law enforcement is currently unable to pursue the investigation of crimes against children in a systematic way. The nature of the crimes is very specific, and officers need to be specially trained in order to succeed,” Olga Kostina, Director of human rights organization “Soprotivlenie”, told RT.

As it was decided to make the center semi-governmental and semi-public, a lot of emphasis has been put on cooperation between the private sector and the governmental sector. It is also important to understand how the governmental structures will be supporting the center and will promote legislation in order to protect minors and their rights.

The Duma signaled that any legislation to do so will be supported. “All initiatives on how the law can help the center will be supported by the Duma. We are ready for cooperation,” said Vladimir Vasiliev, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Security.

Unfortunately, in spite of the philanthropic intentions, a lot of questions remain unresolved, including such problems as where funding for the center will come from and what the legal status of the organization will be.

Still, it seems the ball is rolling and soon Russian children will feel a lot safer.