H.M. Drottningens tal vid seminarium om människohandel av barn samt utdelning av Child10-priset, 18 oktober 2021

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Dear Participants,
Honoured Child10 Awarded Members,

At this very moment, children are being exploited and abused, in all countries of Europe, and all around the world.

Children, alone and invisible, are being viciously robbed of their childhood.

Children with no one to trust or to turn to, in desperate need of protection, are instead being fuelled with guilt and shame.

It is for these children that we have gathered today, from all parts of Europe, here in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal palace in Stockholm. Welcome – and thank you for joining us today.

I have dedicated a big part of my life to fight child abuse. I have heard many promises for action. And I have indeed seen how great work has been accomplished on global, regional, national and local levels.

And yet, despite all this, there is an increasing number of statements from children telling us about things no one ever should even be able to imagine.

During the last year the covid-19 pandemic has severely increased the risks of exploitation of the most vulnerable children. I am especially horrified by the serious increase in child sexual exploitation both offline and online. The covid-19 response has clearly shown the importance of a holistic child protection system and of trusted caring adults around our children, in all situations.

Statistics show that in Europe, sexual exploitation is the most widespread form of human trafficking and every third victim of trafficking is a child.

No country, no community is free from exploitation of children. And it never will be, unless we really work together; law-makers, governments, civil society and corporates. In order to prevent trafficking and provide protection and assistance to the victims, we need to support each other and learn from each other.

Finally, I would like to send my congratulations to the selected organisations announced here today for becoming a Child10 Awarded Member. Thank you for your exceptional work to combat trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children. Organizations such as yours, working directly with these children, either in person or online, are essential in order to ensure a safe environment for children to seek help.

I am proud that my foundation has been given the opportunity to support your work and Child10 in our joint vision, through commitment and collaboration, to eradicate all forms of sexual exploitation of children. I look forward to closely following your work.

Thank you, and the best of luck.