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To ensure continuity of the STOP programme, which expires at the end of 2000; to prevent and combat trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children, including child pornography.
Council Decision of 28 June 2001 establishing a second phase of the programme of incentives, exchanges, training and cooperation for persons responsible for combating trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children (STOP II) [Official Journal L 186, 07.07.2001].
The Decision sets out to establish a second phase of the STOP programme covering the period from 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2002.
The aims of the programme are:
- to develop, implement and evaluate a European policy in this field;
- to encourage networking, the dissemination of information and the improvement of scientific and technical research;
- to facilitate participation by countries that have applied to join the European Union in the projects that are developed;
- to encourage cooperation with non-Union countries and the relevant international organisations.
The Decision provides for the co-financing of projects submitted by any institution, association or public or private organisation in the Member States involved in helping victims or combating this illegal trade.
The programme is aimed at judges, public prosecutors, law enforcement authorities, public immigration and social service authorities, researchers and representatives of charitable organisations. To be eligible for co-financing, projects must involve at least three Member States (or two Member States and one applicant country).
The programme may finance specific projects of particular interest in terms of the programme's priorities, and complementary measures (seminars, meetings of experts, other measures to disseminate information).
The programme covers the following types of project:
- exchanges and work-experience placements;
- studies and research;
- meetings and seminars;
- dissemination of the results obtained under the programme.
The Commission is responsible for managing and implementing the programme, in cooperation with the Member States. It will prepare an annual work programme comprising specific objectives and a list of projects regarded as priorities.
The Commission is responsible for evaluating and selecting projects on the basis of a series of criteria including, among other things, their European dimension, the scope for participation by the applicant countries, complementarity with other cooperation projects, and quality in terms of project design and the presentation of expected results.
The Commission will be assisted by a "STOP II Committee", composed of representatives of the Member States. The Commission will chair the Committee and may invite representatives of the applicant countries to information meetings following Committee meetings.
The Commission will undertake an annual evaluation of the measures carried out and send a report on implementation of the programme to Parliament and the Council each year. The first report must be submitted by 31 July 2002.
The Decision will enter into force on the date of its publication in the Official Journal.