Under the EU funded Strengthening Serbia-EU Civil Society Dialogue Project, ASTRA has started the implementation of its new project – STOP! Stop Trafficking Of People!
STOP! is one of the 32 projects in Serbia which within the “Strengthening Serbia-EU Civil Society Dialogue” Project received grant from the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia. The objective of this project is to contribute to the democratization, respect for human rights and Serbia’s EU accession process through building sustainable Serbia-EU dialogue, and more specifically to strengthen civil society in Serbia to directly assist traumatized and sexually abused child victims of human trafficking through application of European best practices and practical approaches on this issue and the ability to influence development of state policies aligned with EU standards.
Together with its partners on this project – NGO Ključ (Slovenian society for countering trafficking in people) and BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) – ASTRA has implemented trainings for work with traumatized and sexually abused children during January 2011.
The first training took place in Belgrade form 11 – 14 January 2011, with the topic Work with traumatized child – victim of trafficking. Some of the aims of this training were to explore how child trafficking manifests in the UK and to understand the legislative context in the UK for working with trafficked children. The participants also got a review of the theoretical knowledge base of attachment and explored the impact of trauma and loss on victims of child trafficking. Objectives were to enable the participants to analyse the needs of traumatised children victims of trafficking, to explore ways of assisting recovery from trauma and promoting resilience in traumatised children and to consider how best to create a healing environment for traumatised/trafficked children. The participants also became familiar with a range of tools and techniques for communicating with trafficked children.
At the second training, held from 25 – 28 January 2011, Work with sexually abused children – victims of human trafficking the participants were enabled to understand the impact of child sexual abuse, how a child deals with stress, what are steps to recovery, and similar. The participants at the training also gained knowledge regarding the characteristics of an effective protector and principles of working with a traumatized child.
The participants at both trainings were representatives of Centre for residential care of children and youth, NGOs ASTRA, KLJUC, Atina, Center for Youth Integration and Incest Trauma Center and representative of the governmental organization “Center for Accommodation of Youth and Children within Foster Families”
As one of the results of STOP project, ASTRA, in close cooperation with partners and international child rights advisor, has developed and submitted for accreditation specialized programmes for social workers in Serbia. The first programme relates to work of social carers in regard to reintegration of human trafficking survivors, and in assisting children – human trafficking survivors, while the second programme relates to the work with families fostering children victims of trafficking. This programme was developed also in cooperation with expert consultants from governmental institution “Center for Accommodation of Youth and Children within Foster Families”.
Within the STOP project ASTRA has produced an Analysis of work of ASTRA SOS Hotline and Direct Victim Assistance programme. This analysis covers the period of the last nine years. Analysis is to inform and to reveal insights into the structure and trends of trafficking in Serbia, but also in the region. Through the categories such as number of received calls, structure of clients by demographic profile, structure of traffickers and types of provided assistance and data deriving from the analysis of SOS Hotline we will contribute to better understanding of trends in human trafficking and use it as a ground for formulation of concrete actions and steps for successful fight against this social problem. It will also help better understanding of needs of trafficking victims.
Also, our partner on the project, Society KLJUC from Slovenia, has conducted an Analysis of the accreditation of social programmes in Slovenia, as well as of the situation in regard with human trafficking in this country. Although a lot has been done in combating human trafficking, in regard to accreditation of social programmes on the issue of trafficking, there were very few actions. All the education of professionals dealing with the trafficking survivors rests informal. However, in September 2007, the Ministry of Education introduced the theme of human trafficking into the standard Slovenian primary school curriculum.
Within STOP project ASTRA has launched 6th media campaign, which focuses this time on combating child trafficking. During the past few years we are witnessing a trend of increasing number of Serbian nationals identified as victims of human trafficking, as well as the fact that almost half of all identified victims are children. Average age of children for whom ASTRA provided assistance is 14.7 years. The children, as well as the adults are most frequently victims of sexual exploitation, forced begging and forced marriages but also labor exploitation. Almost all those children are Serbian nationals. The aim of this campaign is to raise the awareness regarding this problemme of general public and of professionals who most frequently get in contact with (children) victims of human trafficking.