EU Anti Trafficking Project is focusing on the exchange of good practices and mutual learning on victims of human trafficking access to the justice system and specialized legal, social and health assistance. The organizations involved in this project are Pro Refugiu in Romania, CSD in Bulgaria, Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers in Sweden, Trabe in Spain and Caritas International in Belgium. They organize different seminars and workshops in their respective countries with the aim of increasing the number of specialized professionals from the legal, health and social field between January the 1st, 2017 and December the 31st 2018.
Trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
The project, which is coordinated by Association Pro Refugiu, started last March with a two days seminar in Uppsala arranged by Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers in cooperation with Uppsala University, UFOLD, where professionals from the juristic, health and social work from the countries involved were invited to get knowledge on how Sweden works to combat THB. On this occasion, the guest speakers were Professor Fred Nyberg, from the UFOLD department at Uppsala University, Ruth Nordström, Chief Lawyer at Scandinavian Human Right Lawyers, Silvia Berbec, President of Association Pro Refugiu, Josef Hörnqvist, police officer from Uppsala Police Authority, Elisabeth Samuelsson, Manager at Noomi, a shelter for victims of human trafficking in Sweden, Dr. Björn Ogéus, Physician/Trauma expert, Ninna Mörner, Coordinator Swedish Platform Civil Society Against Human Trafficking, and Pernilla Johansson, Hotel Manager, Clarion Hotel, Arlanda Airport.
Fred Nyberg and Silvia Berbec were in charge of opening the seminar by making an statement about the project, which was followed by Ruth Nordström, who shared about the strategies that Sweden carries out to combat Human Trafficking, describing the National Referral Mechanismo and the difficulties they find to show evidences to convict traffickers.
Josef Hörnqvist described how the police works against prostitution and trafficking in Sweden and the way they work to find hidden prostitution, while Elisabeth Samuelsson described how Noomi cooperates with the social services, the Competence Center and the Regional coordinators, as well as the way they support and assist women that have been victims of THB. Björn Ogéus’ taught how to cope with a traumatize person and when it is time to go into rehabilitation and trauma treatment. The first day seminar ended up with Fred Nyberg speaking about the correlation between drugs and human trafficking and the importance of drug rehabilitation for victims of THB.
Ruth Nordström opened the second day by sharing about the legal aid for victims of Human Trafficking in Sweden, to be followed by Ninna Mörner, who emphasized the importance of unifying ONGs to work together to be the voice of victims in society and how the cooperation is the key to combat human trafficking. Pernilla Johansson described how the staff at Clarion Hotel is trained to detect cases of prostitution and human trafficking in their hotel establishments. During the seminar, the participants had the opportunity to ask questions to the exponents as well as exchange knowledge on how their respective countries work in regard of the issues that were shared by the guest speakers.
Two weeks later the participants met again in Madrid, where another two days seminar was arranged by Association Trabe, counting with the participation of several experts in the juristic, social and health field, and the intervention of expert police inspectors in this area.
The participant associations will be arranging more seminars and workshops in Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Sweden and Spain, which are the countries involved to strengthen their cooperation in order to give a better assistance to the victims of human trafficking.
Patricia Feito, EU Projects Coordinator at Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers