Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden presented an award to Atina

Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden presented an award to Atina

Photo: Emil Nordin

Atina received an international Child10 Award for its work on the protection of children and youth victims of sexual exploitation

On the European Anti-Trafficking Day, the organization Atina received Child10 Award at the Royal Castle in Stockholm, Sweden. The award was presented to the director of Atina, Marijana Savić, by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden as an acknowledgement of impactful work against human trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth

On that occasion, Marijana Savić said that it is really a great honour for Atina to be recognized as an organisation that makes changes in the lives of women and children it serves, recognized for advocating women’s and girls' rights and its fight for a just world. This award, she added, came at the time when NGO Atina celebrates 20 years of existence. "The work of the organization Atina is guided by the needs of survivors of human trafficking, exploitation, and gender-based violence and is created together with them". Thanking Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, her Care About the Children Foundation, Child10, and all other partner organizations, she said that "the biggest thank you comes from all those children we supported, for the opportunity to be children again, as once one of our 14-year-old beneficiaries wished for; to live a life free of violence and to finally be loved, respected and satisfied within their communities".

Organisation Atina is among this year's awardees, selected from over 130 nominations across Europe. Other 2022 Child10 awardees are: ACPE France, APRAMP Spain, Center for Missing and Exploited Children Croatia, Child Focus Belgium, Gender Alternatives Foundation Bulgaria, Network Against Human Trafficking Germany, Protect Children Finland, Society Ključ Slovenia, and Storasyster Sweden. “The organisations recognised and receiving the Award today all work in extremely challenging environments in a field that is under-resourced and often hidden due to the nature of the crime. In the wake of the pandemic and with the climate crisis, wars and ongoing conflicts, children today are more vulnerable than ever. Collaboration and impactful solutions are, therefore, of the utmost importance to protect children and secure their rights. The role of civil society organisations in the protection of vulnerable children, both in Sweden and in Europe, is crucial," said Jacob Flärdh, Secretary General of Child10. 

Human trafficking represents a serious threat in Europe, but globally as well. According to the Council of Europe data on human trafficking, 66% of identified victims in the Western Balkan are children. In Serbia, the situation is similar when it comes to children and youth trafficking victims. They are the targets of human traffickers for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation, forced begging or forced criminality. Practice shows that victims of human trafficking are most commonly 11-17 years old girls, as well as young women under 30 years of age. Girls often suffer multiple exploitation - sexual, labour, and there are those who survived forced marriages, or who are exploited for pornographic purposes. Boys also suffer sexual exploitation, despite the deeply rooted prejudice that such situations do not occur. Human traffickers are adept at manipulating children and controlling them through a combination of deception, lies, false emotions, threats and violence, and because of this, some children are particularly vulnerable.

During its 20 years of work in the area of providing protection to victims of human trafficking, organisation Atina received the Global Catalyst award for its contribution to working with children victims of human trafficking awarded by the Global Fund for Children“With and For Girls Award” given by the UK STARS Foundation for its long-term dedication and contribution to improving the position of women and girls, victims of human trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence, WE Empower UN SDG award for efforts on advancing Sustainable Development Goals and improving the position of women and girls in our society and globally, as well as Hyatt Thrive Leadership award.