Sofia Echo

Bulgaria

Human trafficking: an increasing problem requiring a joint effort

Author: Anelia Zaharieva Date: Mon, Mar 10 2008 2061 Views
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One of the main results of human trafficking is the volition of women's rights. Domestic abuse, lack of employment and lower wages are among some of the factors that push women into this situation. However, the traffickers are becoming more and more sophisticated and the general idea that victims are poorly educated, and of low social and financial standing, is already a myth. Many girls from well-off families, that have attended good schools, become involved in the trade. That your daughter has not become a victim of the traffickers does not necessarily mean she is not "at risk", maybe it is just that no one has tried to involve her yet.

Human trafficking is a common crime that needs a combined effort - in the form of international, cross-border, cross-organisational and multidisciplinary co-operation.

A three-year programme to set up a national scheme to provide support for the victims of human trafficking was announced on March 7. The initiative is a joint venture between Animus Association Foundation - a non-governmental not-for-profit organisation created to help victims of violence - and the International La Strada Association - a network of nine independent human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine. It is supported by the Bulgarian National Anti-Trafficking Commission (NAC) along with the Council of Ministers, the Interior Ministry, the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the Social Assistance Agency with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. Funding, of one million leva, will be provided from the Dutch government's MATRA programme.

The scheme will establish formal relations between the organisations working towards helping the victims on both a national and international level, government bodies and NGOs. It will facilitate the process and aims to make it more efficient.

"The scheme will set up expertise and analytical capacity to solve the problem," Willem van Ee, the Dutch ambassador to Bulgaria, said at the news conference.

"Trafficking people is not just about the sex industry, it concerns forced labour, illegal adoption and the illegal trade in human organs, as well," he said.
 
The problem touches upon three basic European values, van Ee said. They were: The rule of law. Human trafficking is crime and should be investigated and prosecuted; Basic human rights. Human trafficking is an abuse of personal rights and freedoms and it was high time that Europe stood up against it; Social inclusion. The victims of trafficking should get help in order to re-integrate into society.

Human trafficking was one of the most profitable and abominable crimes witnessed today, the ambassador said. In response, there were three main aspects to work on: prevention; to combat it when it happened and the provision of adequate care to victims - safe transition, secure accommodation, legal advice, help with re-gaining IDs and social and health insurance status, professional training, assistance in getting employment and most importantly emotional support.

There are a number of measures that have already been developed, including the law for financial compensation that is granted to victims, which was passed last year.

"And it is only the beginning, we have to implement every possible tool that the law provides to solve the problem,"  Antoaneta Vassileva, the secretary of NAC, said.

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