STOP is recognized
Celhia de Lavarène and STOP, were honored on January 23, 2023 under the golden lambris of the quai d'Orsay.
This honor was presented to her by Ambassador Bernard Miyet, in the presence of four other French ambassadors (François Delattre, Bernard Bajolet, Alain Dejammet et Jean-Maurice Ripert) and two generals, (Roger Duburg et Jean-Pierre Meyer) in recognition of her long fight against human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Ambassador Miyet praised "the deep impulse that drives you to fight exclusion, injustice and inequality".
It is in the Balkans that Celhia faced for the first time the scourge of human trafficking. "You designed and led a program that was known by its acronym: STOP for "Special Trafficking Operations Program". You had 205 police officers and Special forces who, under your authority, carried out more than 850 raids, closed 142 nightclubs and "brothels" and freed 265 young women and minors who have been bought, sold and forced into prostitution", said Bernard Miyet in his speech.
Jacques-Paul Klein, the Special Representative of Kofi Annan in Bosnia & Herzegovina at the time, "discovered that human trafficking in Bosnia was a much bigger problem than we imagined." "We had no executive mandate, no power of arrest. Yet we had to try to fight it, because decency demanded it. To do this, I needed a partner with real courage and willingness to take on a thankless task because it was the only thing to do. I called Celhia who created and ran the program and who quickly refuted the idea that traffickers could not be apprehended and that the international community lacked the political will to act. In both Bosnia and Liberia, it rose to the challenge. Any inaction would have been unacceptable. Celhia made sure that we did the right thing."