ASTRA is running a continuous daily campaign against trafficking in humans through its presence in media, interviews, lobbying, etc. In the course of 2002/2003, media campaign was conducted under the title “Open Your Eyes”.
WHY THIS CAMPAIGN?
Trafficking in women in the territory of former Yugoslavia is a problem which is not recognized by the society, in spite of having been present for a long time. A research carried out in the preparatory stage of the campaign among high school pupils and students showed broad ignorance and indicated a clear need for preventive and educational measures to be taken. By signing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo in 2000, FR Yugoslavia gave a strong political dimension to the human trafficking issue and officially recognized it, and, thus, the need for activities aimed at its combating became even more pronounced.
– to make trafficking in women visible
– to raise the awareness of state institutions and larger society with respect to trafficking in women
– to establish cooperation between non-governmental organizations focused on combating trafficking in women and relevant state institutions and the police.
Girls between 14 and 25 years of age (high school girls, students, unemployed young women, etc.) are most often victims of trafficking. In the campaign, through media, printed materials and workshops held in high schools, their attention was drawn to suspicious job advertisements and employment agencies. They learned that trafficking in women did not happen “somewhere far away” and “to some other women”.
Institutions necessary for efficient fight against trafficking in women (social welfare centers, the police, relevant ministries, etc.) were covered by the campaign in terms of development of cooperation with the NGO sector, exchange of information and experience and learning something new about the problem at workshops, trainings and roundtables.
The title of the campaign “Open Your Eyes” is a message not only to women, but also to a wider society, suggesting that the problem of trafficking in women is present in our society, and the acceptance of that truth is the first step towards its visibility.
Lobbying is aimed at improving the treatment of trafficking victims, at changing relevant legislation and at awareness raising of media and state institutions regarding this and all other types of violence against women in our society. Lobbying is carried out through:
– Seminars, trainings, roundtable discussions, etc.
– Surveys on trafficking in women in Serbia
– Cooperation with institutions (the police, the judiciary, social welfare centers, etc.)
– Establishing a strong network of women’s groups and NGOs
– Regional cooperation
Having realized that public opinion in our country lacked information on the problem of trafficking in human beings, at the beginning of 2002, ASTRA decided to appear in public with a media campaign, which was scheduled to last for another year, since this was the easiest and fastest way to reach out to people. The campaign was aimed at awareness raising of this issue and calling for state institutions to respond appropriately to it. With its slogan “Open Your Eyes”, the campaign in a symbolic way drew general attention to the fact that the problem of sex trafficking existed in our country. The recognition of this fact is the first step towards its solution. The message of the campaign “Be Aware, Be Careful – Open Your Eyes” was intended not only for women, but for general public, as well. The campaign went on simultaneously on national and local TV and radio stations which agreed to broadcast three TV spots and three radio jingles in prime time free of charge (RTV Studio B, RTV Pink, TV BK, RTV B92 and the entire ANEM Network). It also included articles and features in newspapers and magazines, press releases, posters and leaflets which were distributed in many towns in Serbia and Montenegro, coasters, cups, etc. We published a number of multilingual leaflets (in Serbian, Albanian, Hungarian and Romany). ASTRA Network gave considerable contribution to the campaign, playing a significant role at a local level.
It happens very often that even today, i.e. many months after the broadcasting of these TV spots stopped, people remember them. This is proof of their quality and power.