Sharing efforts, working in the frontline to end trafficking in persons

Thursday 30 July 2020

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Every year, thousands of children, women and men become victims of trafficking (VoTs) falling into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad.

As stated in Article 3 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons

 «trafficking in persons” shall mean 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».

Trafficking in persons is a grave violation of human rights and a crime that spares no country in the world whether as origin, transit or destination of the victims of trafficking.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Women victims of trafficking have been one of the most affected groups by the Covid-19 pandemic due to their situation of social marginalisation and vulnerability. As a matter of fact, the pandemic created overlapping marginalising conditions that led to a worsening of victims’ living standards, increasing the risk of social exclusion and (re) victimisation.

In the aftermath of the post peak period of the pandemic, we managed to get in contact with vulnerable migrant women willing to enhance their skills and find a regular job. Within the TOLERANT project framework, we launched a free and gender specific support service intended to provide individual support to VoTs and assist them with job search, creating personalised integration plans tailored to their needs. The project aims at facilitating trafficked women’s integration into the local market, allowing them to achieve economic independence and avoid re-victimisation. To this end,

During our individual counselling sessions, women were explained how to create a CV, look for a vacancy online and undergo a job interview. Therefore, we helped them to acquire basic digital and informatic competences useful for job search. By acquiring new competences, trafficked women can widen their range of skills and prepare themselves to enter the labour market.

In the upcoming months we will work more closely on the HEAL project recovery and integration of women victims of trafficking through the ethno-psychological approach together with art therapy as core for the assistance and recovery of the victims. Recently, we published the Report on Needs of women victims of trafficking presenting the national situations of the profiles and perceived needs of third-country national women victims of trafficking, support service providers and employers, as well as the rights, available services women can benefit from and employability services in Italy, Greece, Romania and Spain. The report is an outcome of the research conducted by HEAL project partners in aforementioned countries and includes relevant information gathered through desk research and qualitative and quantitative research with TCN women VoT, support service providers and employers.

Finally, we invite you to read first responders stories on UN Office on Drugs and Crime website, describing their practical work in assisting victims and intending to spotlight their contribution during COVID-19 pandemic. It is necessary to make every effort to recognize the importance the importance of the work done by first responders, as well as seeking support, raising awareness and a more repressive courts on this issue can make the difference and tackle

Get involved and celebrate World Day against Trafficking in Persons by joining the conversation and using the hashtags #EndHumanTrafficking and #HumanTrafficking on all digital platforms.

For further information about TOLERANT:


For further information about HEAL:

  • Read more about the project here .
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