You can make a difference: help us to protect

You can make
a difference:
help us
to protect
children at risk!
You can make
a difference:
help us
to protect
children at risk!
What is VEGA Children?
Border Guards from airports in the European
Union are facing a big challenge when it comes
to identifying and protecting children who are
victims of human trafficking and smuggling.
Airport Border Guards truly need your assistance
and support, whatever your role is (passenger,
airline staff or airport staff, etc…), to witness and
report all kinds of behaviours which may reveal
that something is wrong with a child (or the
people accompanying the child).
Child protection is our
concern as human beings…
It is our duty as border guards:
WE NEED
YOUR HELP!
VEGA Children Handbook
An initiative by the European Union Agency
Frontex to collect and establish good practices to
identify and protect children on the move and at
risk at airports
The European Union
Agency Frontex has
launched an initiative
at airports, called “VEGA
Children”, aiming to collect
existing good practices
at the European level in
order to protect children
who are crossing borders
in the European Union.
Child protection is our
concern as human beings…
It is our duty as border guards:
WE NEED
YOUR HELP!
VEGA Children Handbook
An initiative by the European Union Agency
Frontex to collect and establish good practices to
identify and protect children on the move and at
risk at airports
When is
a child at risk?
What is the role
of Border Guards?
What can you do
to help?
The UN Child Rights Convention describes
a child as any person below the age of 18 years.
There are different stages at which Border
Guards can intervene:
▪▪ At the control booths, border guards should
notice if there is anything unusual and should
pay attention to unusual behaviour.
▪▪ Further control should be carried out by
a different officer (if available), who is
experienced and well informed on child
protection issues including smuggling and
human trafficking and its possible signs/
manifestations. The child and the person
accompanying the child shall receive written
information on the purpose of (and the
procedure for) such a check.
▪▪ Transit areas and gate checks: in busy
transit areas, travel documents can easily be
swapped or changed. Children that may have
arrived accompanied can easily be left alone.
Airport border guards need your assistance
and support, whatever your role is (passenger,
airline staff or airport staff, etc…), to observe
and report all kinds of behaviours or
indications which may reveal that a child is in
distress.
There are children on the move who can be
accompanied by an adult who is not their
caregiver by law or by custom, or even
unaccompanied (i.e. on their own) when
travelling and crossing borders.
When they lack adequate care and protection,
or their rights as children are in jeopardy, they
are defined as children “at risk”.
They may be victims of human trafficking
or smuggling and they need protection.
BORDER CHECKS ARE A CRUCIAL
OPPORTUNITY FOR BORDER GUARDS
TO PREVENT CROSS BORDER CRIME
AND TO IDENTIFY AND REFER VICTIMS
TO APPROPRIATE PROTECTION SERVICES
In every decision, border guards must ensure
that the best interests of the child is the
primary consideration: a general rule at
borders is that children should not be
separated from their parents (or from the
caregivers accompanying them), unless there
is a reasonable suspicion that the child is at
risk or that the person(s) accompanying the
child is/are not actually the child’s parents or
caregivers by law or by custom. Child
protection agencies will be better placed
to confirm any relationship and any risks and
protection needs in full and take over the case.
In order to support border guards, please
provide information which you think may be
relevant in relation to a specific child or
children:
▪▪ Observe: always keep an eye on children
when crossing borders
▪▪ Assess: evaluate the situation (does
anything seem wrong?)
▪▪ Report: contact the local police officer/
border guard or airport information staff
WE ALL HAVE
ONE PRIORITY:
TO PROTECT
CHILDREN!
At every stage of the journey, border guards
need assistance and relevant information
about situations involving children who may
be at risk in order to be able to assess the
situation and to react accordingly.
Your role is essential as you might see or
notice important details or behaviours which
could be useful for border guards.
If you happen to notice something unusual,
please report this straight away to the relevant
authorities: this information can be a “NOW
OR NEVER” matter and can CHANGE a child’s
destiny for the better.
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