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Project: Novel Strategies to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Crimes and Protect their Victims – HEROES

Completed : 26 May, 2022

Novel Strategies to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Crimes and Protect their Victims – HEROES (December 2021 – November 2024) is a research aimed project mainly funded by European Commission (EC), Brussels and managed by UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID, Spain. Centre for Women and Children Studies (CWCS) is one of the 27 consortium members, who are implementing the different components of the HEROES project, especially:

It is an ambitious, multi-disciplinary and international project with a victim-centered approach, whose main objective is to reinforce and enhance the coordinated response of Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs) and other stakeholders regarding prevention, investigation and victim assistance of Trafficking of Human Beings (THB) and Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSA/CSE) crimes.

The project contains 11 work packages (WPs) led by consortium partners. CWCS is working under the work package (WP) 5 as a lead of Task 5.6 within this WP. Given below the detail activities of CWCS in HEROES project:

Task 5.6: Child rights promotion and protection: awareness-raising, education and information

The most effective way for promoting and protection of child rights is by raising awareness, educating and engaging civil society, teachers, parents, children and youth groups, social workers, local leaders, police officials and media groups.

In this context, awareness-raising campaigns on the protection of children will be launched on different media and online channels: (i) Print and other media (e.g. newsletter, participation in seminars, expert meetings, conferences, events and interaction with civil society, academia) (ii) Online, including social media (e.g. the most used web pages and networks by children – YouTube, Facebook, etc.), Heroes Twitter account (using #Heroes4Children as one of the key hashtags to maximise the visibility of the project).

Young people will not be involved as human research participants. The NGOs with the support of the consortium members will engage the relevant stakeholders identified in T10.1 for the dissemination of the relevant information. In addition, based on the results, this task will include the formulation of a set of recommendations based on lessons learned to be included in future education and training initiatives, to promote social responsibility and to enhance international cooperation.

At the initial stage of the project, CWCS research team participated at a two-day virtual kick-off meeting organized by UCM on 15-16 December 2021. There were short presentations from all the 27 participating organizations by introducing the organizations, and their role and activities in the HEROES project. Following the kick-off meeting, some lead organizations namely UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID (UCM), Spain; Kentro Meleton Asfaleias (KEMEA), Greece; Trilateral Research Limited (TRI), Ireland; International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Austria; International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Switzerland had zoom meetings with their supporting organizations to explain more explicitly about their tasks and how other partners can collaborate and contribute in their work packages.

CWCS has responded to some of the work packages and have sent their required research reports pertaining to Bangladesh namely desk review of status quo assessment and best practices to combat THB and CSE/CSA; use cases on online child abuse and exploitation and online based human trafficking to formulate identifying fake job offers App, anti-grooming mobile app and artificial intelligence (AI) based tools kit.

To ensure the safety and security of the project data and human participants to be involved in different activities CWCS has drafted a Data Protection Policy (DPO) and deployed a Data Protection Officer (DPO) according to the requirement of the project.