Counter-Trafficking in Human Beings
Trafficking in human beings is the second most lucrative and also fastest growing illegal business in the world. For traffickers, it is a business just like any other. The only difference is that people are the traded goods. Traffickers abuse and exploit their victims, and subject them to different forms of inhumane treatment in order to make money from them. Methods used by traffickers are more and more sophisticated and the modes of acquiring new victims are becoming more malicious every day.
Anyone may fall into the trap and become a victim of trafficking. It is estimated that in Europe alone, there are 250 thousand people trafficked every year.
After 1989, Slovakia became a country of origin, from which victims of trafficking in human beings originate, and country of transit, through which the victims are transferred. People from Slovakia are heading mainly to Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Poland or Sweden. Recently, some information has emerged that also Slovakia has become a country of destination where both Slovaks and migrants fall victims to human trafficking.
Forms of trafficking in human beings include forced labour or forced begging, sexual exploitation, forced criminality or trading with human organs. One of the latest forms is forced marriage.
What is the reason for human trafficking? The traffickers react to the demand for cheap labour force and sexual services. The number of victims is increasing also due to the shortage of job vacancies, poor social background, bad economic situation, insufficient level of education and also the lack of information about the risks connected with work migration, etc.
IOM Slovakia, in cooperation with government institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, has been working in the area of counter-trafficking issue since 2003. As part of its work, IOM Slovakia carries out different preventive, educational and informative activities and since 2006 it has been providing victims of trafficking with complex assistance concerning their return (until 2014 also their reintegration). IOM helps approximately 20 people a year this way.
The main IOM activities in this area include:
Helping the trafficked persons with their return home
IOM helps the trafficked persons prior to and during their safe return to the country of origin.
IOM educates and strengthens the capacity of government experts and helping organizations in prevention, identifying victims and providing comprehensive care to the victims of trafficking.
IOM activities in the field of counter-trafficking are financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, which acts as a coordinating body of comprehensive care provided to the victims of trafficking.
IOM educational activities for field social workers in 2014 and 2015 in the field of human trafficking prevention were funded by the British Embassy in Bratislava, which also financially supported following IOM activities: printing and distribution of a brochure How Not to Get Lost in the World and updating the website www.bezpecnecestovanie.iom.sk.