Working Group on Human Trafficking and Smuggling


The Romanian Independent Working Group against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling (Romanian THB-WG) is an independent forum for discussion, research and advocacy that aims to contribute to the prevention of trafficking in human beings and smuggling in Romania, as well as to monitor the implementation of national policies in order to combat this phenomenon more effectively.

The Romanian THB-WG was established in 2015 at the ECLER’s initiative which provides the secretariat, and it meets four times a year. Group members have met informally since 2013 and have been invited to involve in their individual capacity to create an interdisciplinary group of experts. The meetings take place on the first or last Thursday of March, June, September and December, based on the agenda set by its members.





1. Silvia TĂBUȘCĂ – THB-WG Coordonator

President of European Center for Legal Education and Research

Dr. Silvia Maria Tăbușcă is a Law Lecturer at the Romanian-American University, School of Law (Director of the Center for Human Rights and Migration), and the Coordinator of the Human Security Program at the European Center for Legal Education and Research. She has been working in the field of international human rights protection for over ten years, with a specific focus on non-discrimination and, more recently, on human security. Silvia is recognized as a leading consultant, trainer & coach, working with the United Nations (UNHCHR, UNHCR, UNDP, UNODC, ILO, IOM), Council of Europe, EU institutions and MS embassies in Romania, with international leading law firms (Latta & Co) and companies providing high quality legal and policy services (Milieu Law & Policy Consulting, Ramboll Management Consulting). Silvia is known as an independent expert, being involved in many national and international projects. She is, also, an External Expert of the European Commission in the evaluation of scientific research proposals for COST Actions, Horizon 2020, AMIF-Integration, EACEA, an Independent Evaluator for Romanian scientific research proposals (UEFISCDI/BrainMap) and the National Consultant for the evaluation of the Swiss Thematic Fund – Security projects’ implementation in Romania.

Silvia holds a Post-Doctorate from the Romanian Academy (of Sciences), a Doctorate in Law (with honors) and a M.S. in Public International Law from the University of Bucharest, Romania, as well as a LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights (cum laude) from St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida. Author of numerous academic papers, she is also a member of well-established international professional networks where she delivered scientific talks and papers: Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS), Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (United Nations),  International Refugee Rights Initiative’s Rights in Exile Programme (Oxford University), Council for European Studies – Immigration Research Network (Columbia University), Global Alliance for Justice Education, Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (Harvard University) etc. Silvia has received the Fall 2017 WSOS Professional Fellowship on Democracy & Human Rights (Undocumented Migrants & Human Trafficking/Smuggling) from the U.S. Department of State and she has been nominated for the international award – 2015 “Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery“.


2. Iana MATEI

President of Reaching Out

Iana Matei’s NGO Reaching Out has been operating since 1998 and has provided direct assistance to victims of human trafficking. Reaching Out offers a one-year recovery and assistance program that provides victims with shelter, health care, legal aid, and the opportunity to complete their education and to learn new skills that enable them to enter the workforce. Upon completion of the program, Reaching Out acts as a mediator for victims while they seek employment, with the aim of reducing the victim’s chances of re-entering the trafficking cycle. Reaching Out also carries out information-awareness campaigns targeting potential victims in several cities in the country. Iana has managed to maintain an active dialogue with local officials, earning their respect and cooperation. Today, police routinely refer victims to her shelter. She has done a tremendous job of helping the victims of trafficking and educating officials on the importance of helping these vulnerable people. Reaching Out continues to provide support for as long as they can and keep in touch with the survivors while they attempt to re-integrate into the world. Many of the girls that Iana works with are Romanian girls who have been trafficked abroad, often to places such as Italy or Spain.

In 2006, Iana was named as a Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery in the Trafficking in Persons Report for the work she had completed.


3. Monica BOSSEF

President of Open Door

Monica Boseff has worked in the non-profit sector for some time, working for both medical facilities and for the Church of the Nazarene in Romania. Her husband is the pastor of the Blessings Church of the Nazarene in Bucharest. She began working for the Open Door Foundation, which originally was called the Open Door Medical Foundation, in 2003, a year after its inception by two medical doctors. Monica has medical training, as a nurse, and had worked for other medical non-profit organizations prior to joining the Open Door Foundation. In 2011, the Foundation began to get involved with anti-human trafficking work, by engaging in an awareness campaign in partnership with an organization called Men Against the Trafficking of Others (MATTO). After surveying a variety of key people in the community, Monica realized that there was one need which was more pressing than any other: a need for an emergency shelter for victims of trafficking.

In response to that need, the Open Door Foundation decided to purchase a house. They did so in December 2012. They now run an 18-month program, some of which is residential, for women survivors of modern-day slavery. Their focus is sex trafficking, and they provide counseling services, medical assistance and consultations, comprehensive legal assistance, job training, and other various services. They have formed a partnership with the Starbucks Corporation to provide jobs for some of the survivors who are in their program. Most of the staff of the shelter currently come from her husband’s church and devote their time to helping the women who are in their program in any way they can. They only started helping survivors in 2013 but have already helped 55 survivors find hope after their tragic and unjust enslavement. Their house offers sixteen beds, and Monica works tirelessly to make sure each of those beds is filled with a survivor who is being empowered and cared for. She was given the Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award in 2014, recognizing her incredible work with survivors.



President of Syene Center for Education

Radu Nicolae is a the president of Syene and former program director at the Legal Resources Center, and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political Science of SNSPA (National School of Political and Administrative Studies), where he teaches the course “Corruption and Anti-Corruption Policies”. With a Bachelor of Political Sciences 2003), Radu has completed a Master’s program in Public Policy (2005) and a Doctoral Program in Political Science (2010). Radu has published several articles in scientific volumes from the country and abroad, and Polirom publishes in 2010 , volume “Corruption and Anti-Corruption Policies.”

Radu has been working for almost 10 years in democratic involvement projects. He is a consultant and expert for various projects in Romania and abroad.


5. Cristina GUSETH

Director of Freedom House Romania Foundation

Cristina initiated and coordinated training programs for journalists and press managers, including THB related topics, initiated and coordinated the BBC School Program in Romania. She organized the first debates on integration in the European Union, in partnership with the Center for European Political Studies, the Ministry of Public Affairs and the European Commission Delegation in Bucharest. Since 1998, he has been the director of Freedom House Romania. The organization is known worldwide for reports on the status of democracy in countries around the world. In Romania, the foundation has gained its reputation especially through media projects.

Cristina specializes in media relations, crisis management and PR marketing. Between 2005 and 2007 he was the project manager for media relations for the European Commission delegation in Bucharest.


6. Mihai CAZACU

Researcher, European Center for Legal Education and Research

Mihai Cazacu has a law enforcement background, holding a degree in Law Sciences. His career started within the Ministry of Interior Intelligence Unit working mainly on illegal migration topics. Since 2003, he worked for the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and during this period, he investigated a large number of cases of trafficking in human beings and illegal migration networks targeting Western European countries. For two years (2007 – 2009), Mihai was seconded by the New Scotland Yard, working in London within the first European Joint Investigation Team, together with specialists from the Metropolitan Police Service, Intelligence Unit of Europol and prosecutors from CPS & Eurojust.

Since 2012, he joined the private sector working as a corporate security senior expert for OMV Petrom SA. Mihai is also involved in the civic activities participating in various events and projects aimed to prevent trafficking in human beings.  He is a member within several global think tanks as the Aspen Institute & the German Marshall Fund of United States. 

Currently he is pursuing the doctoral studies at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies with the thesis “Organized Crime & Corruption in the Economy: the impact of Foreign Direct Investment”.


7. Katalin KIBEDI

Expert, European Center for Legal Education and Research

For her activity as prosecutor, the President of Romania conferred to her a praiseworthy diploma in 2002 (Meritul Judiciar, clasa a 2-a). In 2006, as State Secretary she succeed in to convince the Parliament of Romania to adopt the law on mediation and the organization of the mediation profession. After that, she worked for promoting mediation and the profession in Romania, so she participated in more projects, such as „Enhancing the judicial cooperation in the field of parental responsibility” under the Civil Justice Programme, project financed by European Union, Ministry of Justice of Romania and Hungaria, in November 2010, Bucharest, ”Modern trends in juvenile delinquency – Resilience of the delinquent child” organized by the Department of social work and the Center of Research Based on Parent-Child Interaction, Faculty of Sociology and Psychology, West University of Timișoara, in may 2011, or ”PRACTICAL SCHOOL: Innovation in Higher Education and Success on the Labor Market”, coordinated by the Romanian-American University of Bucharest, between 2014-2015.



Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting representative in Romania

Gina Sturdza, is the representative of the international Organization Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), organization which advocates meeting ethical standards for transplantation and has been chartered as a contribution to mankind to protect ethical medical practices that further human dignity. DAFOH aims to provide the medical community and society with objective findings of unethical and illegal organ harvesting. Forced organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor, without obtaining prior free and voluntary consent, is considered a crime against humanity, as well as a threat to medical science in general.

As well, Gina is a Director of Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights (SIRDO), in the field of trafficking of human beings as well as human organ trafficking as part of the phenomenon of corruption and organized crime worldwide. SIRDO, has special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and Associated 1st Degree with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

Gina is a Romanian-Canadian with more than 20 years of experience in various leading positions in the Canadian financial industry, and the translator in Romanian language of the books Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China and “State Organs – Transplant Abuse in China”.



Silvia works in the social, cross-cultural and communication fields.

A Romanian native, living in Italy since 2003, Ms. Dumitrache is the founder and president of the Romanian Women’s Association in Italy – ADRI, voluntarily coordinates a transnational project in support of migrant families, is constantly involved in social solidarity, networking, facilitation and advocacy activities for assuming responsibility to safeguard the rights of children, women and the migratory family. Ms. Dumitrache is a member of the Romanian Women’s Lobby and a founder member of the Association Città Mondo in Milan. Silvia collaborated with the Presidential Administration and the Ministry for Romanians Abroad contributing to the formation of the first inter-institutional working group on the Romanian Children Left Behind in order to harmonize statistics on this issue, for drafting political policies and law amendments to help these children and their families abroad. Ms. Dumitrache is an IMmezcla blogger and she also worked with the Romanian National Television and the Italian RAI.

For her contribution in support of the children left behind and the transnational families, Silvia was nominated and awarded in 2012 as one of the 10 Exceptional Women of Romania.


10. Daniela DRĂGHICI

Daniela Draghici, BA, is an international advocacy professional, earned her advocacy training certificate from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Program and has a degree in simultaneous interpretation/consecutive translation from the University of Bucharest.

For the past 20 years, Daniela has been forging coalitions and partnerships, advocating with policymakers and training key civil society leaders in advocacy in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Africa. She conducts media advocacy training for young lawyers in Central and Eastern Europe & Central Asia on behalf of the Women’s Human Rights Training Institute to be able to defend cases of infringement of women’s human rights.

In her position as Advocacy Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates-funded Global Libraries Program in Romania, Daniela trained librarian as advocates and implemented a novel approach to raising awareness of adolescents’ and women’s health and rights via public libraries, as they developed into community hubs. At policy level, she successfully advocated for the inclusion of libraries in the national reproductive health strategy, so as to be able to include sexuality education, breast cancer prevention, gender-based violence, and trafficking issues in their activities. 

As a volunteer at European level, Daniela is an Advisory board member for ASTRA Network, a Regional Executive Committee member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF-EN), and a EuroNGOs Steering Committee member. At national level, she is a member of the Society for Feminist Analyses AnA, in charge of advocacy, serves as advisory board member for the Society for Education in Contraception and Sexuality, an IPPF-EN member association, and vice chair for the Romanian Women’s Lobby, the Romanian chapter of the European Women’s Lobby. In this capacity, she is a member of the Breaking the Silence about Sexual Violence network, the Network for preventing and combating violence against women and the Coalition for Gender Equality.

Daniela has been associated with the European Center for Legal Education and Research since 2015 and took part in all working meetings on the topic of human trafficking and related issues.


11. Cristina Elena DEMETERCĂ

Co-Founder of Christiana Association

From 2013, we laid the foundations of the Christiana Economic Social Cultural Cultural Association, in which we developed projects dedicated to all categories of beneficiaries, involving us in educational projects for children, cultural projects, and starting with 2016, we started the activity in the social field, after what we have obtained accreditation as a social service provider.

Starting with 2015, we initiated the S.A.F.E. campaign whose purpose is to set up a prevention and training center in the anti-trafficking of persons activity, with the role of organizing information campaigns regarding the defense of human rights in relation to the provisions of law 678/2001, as subsequently amended and supplemented, regarding the prevention and combating of human trafficking and facilitating access to social services for victims of human trafficking. Project objectives: increased awareness among the community (children, young people, families, elderly) about the risks associated with human trafficking; training of personnel in the educational, medical, legal system who could come in contact with victims of human trafficking. During this campaign I attended the postgraduate courses of the Western University of Timisoara and obtained the diploma of expert facilitating access to social services for victims of human trafficking (2016) and the course of “equal opportunities technician” organized by ANES (2015), for to ensure the training part of the team of the association and for the elaboration of the materials used in the campaign.


12. Ștefan LEONESCU

Senior Legal Advisor and Advocacy Expert, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Romania

He has been working in the field of migration and asylum for over 20 years, being involved in advocacy and project coordination activities. He is currently a contributing expert on borders, asylum and migration at the European Agency for Fundamental Rights. JRS Romania provides direct assistance to migrants, including victims of human or migrant trafficking, and has a night shelter that can accommodate up to 50 people. Based on the documentation of assisted cases, advocacy activities, information campaigns, training and instruction for the actors involved, research and publications are carried out. He has contributed to several publications with migration practitioners on asylum and return. He has been involved in the analysis of migrant trafficking and human trafficking from the perspective of national regulations and related judicial practices.


13. Marian PĂDUREȚ

Founder and President of PlusValoare NGO

Marian Pădureț is also senior pastor of Trinity Church Bacău. He earned a BA degree in theology and a Master degree in Ecumenical Theology, both from the University of Bucharest. He is passionate about working with people, advocate for vulnerable groups and help those in need. Marian is married and has four children, the family currently living in Bacău. In his spare time he loves fishing and enjoys nature.







1. Gulnara SHAHINIAN

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and a member of the Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).

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2. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez SORONDO

Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican. Member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, named by Pope Benedict XVI. Recipient of several awards, including: Knight of the Grand Cross, President of the Italian Republic; Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, French Republic (2002); Grão Mestre da Ordem de Rio Branco, Brazil (2004); Official of the Republic of Austria (2004); Bernardo O’Higgins Grand Officer, Chile (2005).

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Director  of  Cambridge  Centre  for  Applied  Research  in Human Trafficking,UNITAR Fellow, UK

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4. Silke ALBERT

Crime Prevention Expert, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

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1st Vice-President of Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Council of Europe, Strasbourg

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6. Anthony STEEN

Chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation, Former Member of the British Parliament, UK

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7. Frederike AMBAGTSHEER

Scientific researcher at the Kidney Transplant Unit of Erasmus MC,  Rotterdam,  and  Co-chair of the ELPAT Working Group on Organ Tourism and Paid Donation, The Netherlands

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8. Per-Anders SUNESSON

Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons, Sweden

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Former Prosecutor, Coordinator of Trafficking in Persons and Victims’ Rights, Former Senior Deputy to District Attorney of Tel Aviv, Israel





10. Bernie GRAVETT

Director, Specialist Policing Consultancy Ltd, UK

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  1. Cristina JANTEA
  2. Ramona OMET
  3. Adina GANȚOLEA