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Caritas launched a large-scale project on combating human trafficking in Precarpathian region

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24.03.15, Ivano-Frankivsk region
Recent art-installation “Unseen” in center of Ivano-Frankivsk evoked a lively interest among local citizens and tourists and showed that they know little about human trafficking problem. This initiative tells real stories about real people who live near each of us, but once went for work abroad, being unaware of labor slavery. For many people “Unseen” displayed human trafficking as something allied and of great current interest.

Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk of the UGCC in cooperation with a Social Policy Department in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast State Administration has launched a large-scale project in Precarpathian region. It is aimed to raise awareness of society and workers of state structures regarding human trafficking and make assistance to victims of this crime more efficient. The project “Implementation of cooperation mechanism between persons who are involved in combating of human trafficking in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast” started in October 2014 and will operate till February 2016.

Since 2004 Caritas in Ivano-Frankivsk has targeted its activity at combating human trafficking and assistance to victims of this crime. For this period over 160 persons who became victims of slave trade received complex help of long duration. Up to 2009 female-beneficiaries who faced sexual exploitation prevailed over male. But starting from 2009 more and more male beneficiaries, victims of labor exploitation, addressed for reintegration assistance.

Problem of human trafficking is incredibly up-to-date in Ukraine. For the period of 2000-2014 years 10 945 Ukrainians who became victims of human trafficking addressed International Organization on Migration.

“In the majority of cases socially vulnerable persons become victims of human trafficking: they go to work abroad to improve their material status. Nowadays this problem in Precarpathian region is getting more complicated, because there are many IDPs who moved here. There are 3172 displaced from Crimea and Donbas officially registered, among them 448 persons addressed an employment center and only 96 got jobs. That’s why we can say that we have a potential category of persons who can become victims of slave trade in conditions of social vulnerability. Among IDPs in Precarpathian region there are 989 kids who may be involved in beggary,” Alisa Yurchenko, deputy director of Social Policy Department in Iva no-Frankivsk Oblast State Administration, is convinced.

Within a project there are multidisciplinary groups created to assist human trafficking victims in solving of all problems they faced due to a fault of slave-traders. These groups involve experts from various state and non-governmental bodies. For instance, if a person needs to find a job – representatives of an employment center are invited, if there is need to make a new passport – representatives of a migration service, for medical assistance – workers of a health care department. Employees of social services and psychologists are responsible for further rehabilitation of such persons. Legal follow-up is provided by lawyers, their services are paid by Caritas and representative office of International Organization on Migration in Ukraine

For many civil servants a problem of slave trade is new and they know little about it. That’s why the main stage of local Caritas project will be to teach workers who are responsible for status identification of such persons, their further rehabilitation and provision of complex assistance. Notably, in the project framework in 2015 there will be 7 trainings for 125 experts of multidisciplinary groups and also educational courses for trainers – the most active participants of previous trainings that will continue arrange events and initiatives for human trafficking prevention in Precarpathian regional centers.

Furthermore, a far-reaching informational campaign is foreseen within project of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk of the UGCC. It will focus on legal employment abroad, what documents are required for this, how to avoid slave traders and how to react if it happened. People will get to know about possibilities to help victims of this crime.

Project is being implemented is a close partnership with a Social Policy Department in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast State Administration under the auspices of a representative office of International Organization on Migration and is funded by European Union, Swiss Confederation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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