Sets of qualitative variables

Various typologies of respondents were identified to gain information on the following intertwined set of variables:

  1. The capacity of the guardianship system in each country to include the population composed by separated children, with a particular focus on factors that define the inclusion/exclusion end-points.
  2. The appropriateness and the relevance of each country’s guardianship system in responding to the needs and rights of separated children.
  3. The compliance of each country’s guardianship system with the principles and the provisions derived from a Child Rights and human rights perspectives/approach.
  4. The effectiveness with which a protection and guardianship system, both in its specific elements and on the whole, demonstrates to protect children against exploitation and trafficking.

By adopting a perspective mainly oriented on prevention, the key assumption of the study was that an adequate and appropriate response to the basic needs and rights of the child, as stated in the international legislation, will play a crucial protective function from trafficking and exploitation phenomena.
In order to guarantee consistency with international legislation's principles and provisions as well as to maintain children and their situation as a core dimension of the observation, a second set of variables clustered needs and rights of children along the 4 dimensions of survival, development, protection and participation.


These dimensions have functioned as a "map" to connect needs and rights and to investigate the different problems concerning each dimension. They have also functioned as a tool to maintain a solid and holistic approach in the analysis as well as in the identification of responses and recommended standards.

Under each dimension we explored a number of key factors to assess the level of risk and protection of children from trafficking and exploitation.

On Survival
• Health care (including care for specific needs)
• Housing conditions
• Nutritional conditions
• Awareness on Sexuality

On Development
• Access to education
• Relation with peers and adults
• Vocational training
• Relation with family in country of origin
• Personal projects and perspectives

On Protection
• Stable connection with the hosting context
• Awareness of risks
• Level of connection with previous situation involving exploitation
• Elaboration and assessment of previous experiences

On Participation and Citizenship
• Stability of the residence permit
• Access to information
• Possibility of expression
• Participation in the definition of the living context

The third set of variables under observation focused on the capacity of the system to respond to the needs and rights of the children from their point of view. In order to proceed with this observation a set of 16 specific needs/rights (see specifications above) have been graphically reproduced in a deck of cards which helped to directly verify with children, through a narrative game (GATE game), the quality of the situation and the responses to each specific need. In particular, through a game session using the deck cards, children were solicited to express their point of view in relation to their life experience.

More specifically, as a general orientation for the interviewer, the aim of the session was  to collect for each need/right data and information on a set of variables:
1. the degree of primary need/right  satisfaction
2. the appreciation of the response to the primary need/right
3. the level of appropriateness of the primary need/right satisfaction
4. the stability/temporal continuity of the primary need/right satisfaction

A series of tools to interview various categories of stakeholders in each country were developed. Based on a series of methodological indications, each research partner proceeded with the interviews with stakeholders and the sessions with children.  With respect to the latter, it has to be noted that during the development of the research, it became important to include children outside the welfare and protection systems as a sample population, despite the practical difficulties that this decision might have caused. The inclusion of this sample population was in fact considered necessary to appreciate the level of inclusion and exclusions of the various systems as well as to better understand children’s perspectives.



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