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 PREVENTION OF TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

!Alarming Increase in Trafficking in Women

 

Trafficking in persons is a phenomenon with deep social and economic implications, especially in transitional countries. This phenomenon spreads with alarming speed, encouraged by globalisation and modern technology. Political instability and economic poverty of the countries affected by organised crime (smuggling of weapons, narcotics and people) contributes to having minor girls and women being recruited for the purpose of sexual exploitation.


Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, resulting in political and economic changes, there is an alarming increase in trafficking in women from Central and Eastern Europe and new independent countries. Due to difficult economic and social perspectives in the region, young people want to leave their countries of origin and work abroad. Without being aware of the risks related to employment situation abroad, young women fall prey to traffickers.

After being sold, they are forced to work in sex industry and other jobs, without receiving decent compensation. In this way, rights of thousands of women from Central and Eastern Europe gets violated each year. Trafficking in women is often invisible.

Victims are hidden from the world by their traffickers. Those who managed to return home are silent due to fear and shame. They often have nowhere to go. Due to their social and financial situation, they have no alternative but to go back to prostitution.

Governmental and non-governmental structure established to provide assistance in Eastern and Western Europe reaches only a few of these victims.

1The Information and Lobby Campaign

The goal of the Information and Lobby Campaign is to present the problem of trafficking in women as a serious crime against human rights. Moreover it aims to stimulate governments to put the issue high on their political agenda and to take action. La Strada monitors both the international and national situation on trafficking, including the existing laws against trafficking in women

The Information and Lobby Campaign
  • Permanent media campaigning, establishing media contacts, giving interviews, publishing articles
  • Education and raising awareness among professional groups, people who are making decisions and general public
  • Addressing Parliament members and government institutions
  • Organising seminars, conferences and workshops for NGOs and GOs
  • Collecting information regarding national legislation on prostitution and trafficking and monitoring the process of international standards implementation
  • Developing of the national action plan against trafficking in women

 

2The Prevention and Education Campaign

The goal of the Prevention and Education Campaign is to empower women to make independent decisions focused on protecting their rights. In addition to targeting risk groups directly, the campaign focuses on the environment of groups at risk, by educating professionals (police and border police officers, teachers, school psychologists, school advisors, peer educators, street workers, etc.) on how to prevent potential victims falling prey to trafficking. 

Activities of the prevention and education campaign
  • Producing and distributing of the educational and informative material envisaged for different target groups – young women at schools, universities and orphanages, unemployed women, women with low income, sex workers, etc.
  • Visiting schools, universities and other institutions and holding lectures on preventing of trafficking
  • Holding seminars for employment agencies, NGOs, street workers, embassies, police officers, teachers and others involved in the prevention
  • Distributing phone number of the La Strada hotline among potential trafficking victims in order to inform young women on jobs, risks and possible alternatives abroad

3Social Assistance Campaign

The aim of the Social Assistance Campaign is to provide social and emotional support to survivors of trafficking. Within the La Strada Program, national and international networks are created for a safe return and support to survivors. La Strada develops the policies and strategies for meeting the needs of the survivors of trafficking. It combines direct victim support with lobbying at different levels in connection with specific cases.

Activities of the social assistance campaign
  • Developing complete care programme for trafficking victims including emotional and social support, accommodation, medical and legal services
  • Operating local line for assistance and anonymous counselling on practical, medical, legal and social issues of the victims and their relatives
  • Assistance in meeting special needs and interests of the women who survived trafficking and their referral to social institutions for support
  • Developing international network of NGOs and other institutions to secure safe return of women to their countries of origin
  • Establishing local and national network of relevant agencies and institutions to support trafficking victims

 
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