Advancing strategies to combat sexual exploitation and abuse: UN discussions with Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs

Under-Secretary-General Christian Saunders, who serves as the Special Coordinator on Improving the UN Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, along with UN Resident Coordinator, Simon Springett, and other UN representatives in Moldova held discussions today with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The focus was on strategies to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children.

The meeting highlighted the initiatives and agenda of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in addressing sexual abuse and exploitation, both online and offline, particularly concerning women and children. Key topics included discussions on the national mechanism for an integrated and coordinated response to online child abuse, as well as the establishment of the Family Justice Centre. This center offers immediate access to urgent and specialized services for victims of violence in one centralized location, serving as an innovative tool aligned with international practices.

Participants also addressed the migration agenda, emphasizing the inclusion of a humanitarian component to prevent instances of sexual abuse and exploitation in accordance with the principles of the Istanbul Convention. They discussed the integration of foreigners and the temporary protection mechanisms, stressing that inclusion of the security and humanitarian components plays a crucial role in reducing vulnerabilities. Additionally, the importance of the EU Security HUB was underscored, serving as a platform for analyzing measures and enhancing communication at regional, national and international levels regarding cases of exploitation and human trafficking.

Given the context of the war in Ukraine and the hybrid threats, participants emphasized the importance of integrating refugees into national crime response policies, ensuring they have access to the same protection and reporting mechanisms as citizens. In conclusion, officials reaffirmed their commitment to fighting violence and abuse, striving to create a safer and equitable society for all.