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Social Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking in the Focus of the Joint EU-UNDP-UNICEF Project

During the press conference which took place on October 19 at the Public Press Center of the House of Press, representatives of the national media learned about the social assistance to victims of trafficking provided in the framework of the joint project of the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “Preventing, Fighting and Addressing the Social Consequences of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Belarus”. 

The event was held of the occasion of the third annual EU Anti–Trafficking Day which is marked on 18 October every year with the purpose of raising awareness about the problem of human trafficking and its social consequences.

The participants of the press conference were: Janis Aizsalnieks, Attaché of the Delegation of the European Commission to Belarus, Valentina Stalyho, Programme Manager of the UNDP Country Office in the Republic of Belarus, Sergey Koltun, National Coordinator of the Project, Deputy Head of the Department on Drugs and Trafficking in Human Beings of the Criminal Police of the Ministry of Interior of Belarus, and Galina Tyurina, Secretary General of the NGO "Belarusian Young Women Christian Association".

Janis Aizsalnieks pointed out that the EU Anti–Trafficking Day is dedicated this year to the efforts of the European Union in the area of combating human trafficking focused on cooperation with the third countries. “The problem of trafficking in human beings is in the focus of many important political documents, and projects financed by the European Union” he said. He underscored that the EU legislation in the area of counter–trafficking is centered on the approach of the primary importance of human rights, protection and full assistance to the victims. This legislative basis is the foundation for the new projects in the area of combating human trafficking which are supported by the European Union all over the world, using the comprehensive approach, including prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of criminals. In Belarus, the European Union in partnership with UNDP supports the project which is aimed at preventing and addressing the social consequences of human trafficking’, stated the representative of the European Commission.

Valentina Stalyho noted that supporting the national efforts in improving the mechanisms of protection and rehabilitation of the victims of trafficking is one of the priorities of the joint EU–UNDP–UNICEF project. “Upon their return home, the victims need protection, counseling, medical and legal assistance, support and understanding from those around them. Available competent and timely rehabilitation and reintegration assistance is an important factor for their return to the normal life in the society”, said Valentina Stalyho.

The National Coordinator of the project Sergey Koltun in his turn also pointed out the importance of the social assistance to the victims of trafficking provided in the framework of the project. “The project activities correspond in many ways with the recommendations on improving the mechanism of rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking, which were elaborated by order of the President of Belarus”, he said.

Galina Tyurina told about the social assistance to victims of trafficking provided in the framework of the project by La StradaProgramrun by the NGO "Belarusian Young Women Christian Association". With the financial and technical support of the project La Stradaprovides to the victims comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration services, including accommodation at the rehabilitation shelter, psychological and social counselling, medical and legal help, assistance in professional training and employment. All services are provided free of charge on the basis of the principle of confidentiality and voluntary choice, and are tailored to the individual needs of the victim.

The rehabilitation shelter, which recently resumed operation with the support of the project, is located in a private flat in one of the districts of Minsk, its location is kept in secret to ensure safety of the victims. The shelter can accommodate up to four women at the same time, including pregnant women and women with children. A social worker is present in the shelter 24 hours to provide constant support to the victims.

Galina Tyurina emphasized the importance of the comprehensive approach in the assistance to the victims. “Our main goal is not merely to provide medical, social or other types of help, but to ensure provision of a set of services which will help the person to come out of the difficult situation, to recover and to integrate himself back into the society, and to be able to make sound choices in the future”, she said.  

The project “Preventing, Fighting and Addressing the Social Consequences of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republicof Belarus” aims to enhance the national capacities in fighting human trafficking through preventive measures and better protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. The funding for the project of 1,334,550 Euro has been provided by the European Union, UNDP and UNICEF. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Interior of the Republicof Belarusin partnership with other government agencies, NGOs and international organizations.

For more information and, please contact Alexander Novikov, PR Specialist of the project, tel. (+375 17) 286 30 43, mobile: (+375 29) 671 88 91, e–mail: .

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