human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

#DEVENIR: helping trafficked children to become whole again

After the great success of the 2016 #INVISIBLES toolkit, composed of a video and pedagogical booklet that cast the spotlight on the hidden tragic situations that many children are going through in Europe, Secours Catholique-Caritas France and the collective “Together against trafficking in human beings” have launched a new toolkit called #DEVENIR (to become).

The videos and the educational bookletincluded in #DEVENIR focus on how it looks like for trafficked children to become whole again once freed from their exploiters. Rebuilding a child’s life is not a matter to take lightly. Being abandoned by or freed from their exploiters is not synonymous with immediate resolution of the children’s social and psychologic situation. They require the coordinated and patient work of multiple actors to move on with their life.

Children that escape trafficking one way or another have many needs. They need shelter, nurture, protection, affection, counseling and accompaniment towards stability and autonomy. They need to have a legal status, be protected by the law and have access to education and trainings to gain their life as anybody else. Most of all, they need to trust the adults that are trying to help them.

To achieve all of that, it is essential to understand the impact that trafficking has on children. And to prevent and stop it, it is also vital to be able to recognise the behavior that are typical of children victims of trafficking.

Helping children that have been trafficked
#DEVENIR provides a description of the role of each stakeholder. Everyone can find ways to help children to regain confidence in themselves and to start trusting other people again. It is however important to be aware of the difficulties that might rise during this work. If children feel disappointed by how things are evolving, they can transfer the feeling of failure to the social worker who follows them, leaving him/her with a great sense of guilt. Professionals must therefore learn to manage these situations and avoid any risk of burnout.

The participation of the children is the other face of trust. Children need to be regularly informed about and involved in the process. This is fundamental to enable the children to take control of their future.

In this reconstruction, artistic and cultural activities have a great power to tame and overcome the traumatism these children have suffered. These activities enable the children to leave the institutional framework for a while and free their creativity. In some cases, it is also a way for these children to share their experience and to educate a wider public and professionals about their reality of trafficking in human beings.

Everyone must know!
Trafficking in children is a crime against humanity that is too often seen in Europe as a distant tragedy that barely concerns us. It is time that the discussions about trafficking come out of the closed circuit of specialists and experts and that a wide public is sensitised. While the situation of thousands of unaccompanied children in Europe is increasingly worrying, promoting safe entries to Europe for migrants means also fighting trafficking efficiently, especially trafficking of children!

Don’t’ hesitate to read, translate, share and disseminate as broadly as possible #DEVENIR (videosbooklet) and #INVISIBLES (videobooklet) !!

Learn more about the work achieved this far with #INVISIBLES and #DEVENIR

Alternative Text


Alain Rodriguez

Communications Officer
Caritas Europa

more information

Geneviève Colas
Counter-trafficking expert
Focal point for Caritas Europa
Mob: +33 (0)671 00 69 90