In 2013, IOM in Slovakia assisted 50 migrants with their return back home and provided post-return reintegration assistance to 31 migrants. IOM identified 29 human trafficking victims and trained  158 employees of organizations and institutions on identifying victims and prevention of human trafficking. IOM Migration Information Centre in Bratislava and Košice counselled 1,913 clients from more than 60 countries.

In the following lines you can find a  summary of the key activities and achievements of IOM Bratislava, which we were able to carry out in the past year in the field of integration of migrants, assisted voluntary returns and reintegration, counter trafficking, coordination of activities of the European Migration Network and humanitarian transfers of refugees.

Migrant Integration

IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC)

MIC was established by IOM Bratislava in 2006. The centre provides third-country nationals with free legal, social and labour counselling in order to contribute to their integration into the society as well as to facilitate their access to the labour market. In 2013, MIC in Bratislava and Košice counselled 1,913 individual clients from more than 60 countries, most of them being from Ukraine, Russian Federation and the USA. MIC provided the clients with 3,480 consultations in person, via e-mail or phone at low cost helpline number 0850 211 478. MIC web site, that was visited 183,603 times, provides a unique source of information and advices on various areas of life and residence for foreigners in Slovakia. In the previous year, MIC prepared new editions of the booklets State citizenship of the Slovak Republic and Residence of Foreigners in Slovakia. The booklets contain up-to-date information on residence of third-country nationals in Slovakia and an overview of information related to acquiring Slovak citizenship in Slovak, English, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic language.

Specialized consultation One-Stop Shop days were also organised by MIC in 2013. Such model of integrated counselling enables foreigners to get informed and advised at one place by the employees of various institutions. MIC organised five One-Stop Shops in Bratislava and Košice which met with a positive response. 60 migrants from more than 12 countries availed themselves of the complex counselling provided.

MIC offers support for migrants in gaining education, increasing of qualification or re-qualification and provides free of charge open courses of the Slovak language, as well as courses of socio-cultural orientation informing about various aspects of life in Slovakia. These activities are aimed at facilitating the integration of migrants into society. In 2013, the Slovak language courses in Bratislava and Košice were attended by 564 migrants, 124 migrants attended the courses of socio-cultural orientation. The contributions for the educational/retraining courses were granted to 44 clients.

In the previous year, the centre cooperated with 20 cultural mediators – representatives of migrant communities in Slovakia. With the support of MIC, mediators organise information meetings which introduce the culture of their home country to public, support their community life, assist their countrymen, and give space for mutual familiarization of communities and majority population. Cultural mediators, with financial support by MIC, organised 17 multicultural and communal information meetings for 1,700 visitors.

A new web page Atlas komunít migrantov (Atlas of Migrant Communities) was launched by MIC in 2013. This web page offers an overview of migrant communities in Slovakia, presents their culture, gastronomy and contains various invitations to many interesting events.

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Migration Information Centre to Support Integration of Migrants in Slovakia (phase VI) – Individual project. The project is co-funded by the European Union from the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows.

Causes, Forms and Consequences of Violence against Third-Country Nationals in the Slovak Republic

From January 2012 to March 2013, IOM carried out research on migrants’ experiences with violence and exploitation in public space, with domestic violence and violence at workplace. Based on 690 collected questionnaires and dozens of in-depth interviews with third-country nationals living in Slovakia, IOM produced an analysis of violence against non-EU migrants as a basis for the introduction of effective legislative, political and practical measures to prevent and identify violence and cope with its consequences.

Research findings have been published in the publication Migrants’ Experiences with Violence in Slovakia (in the Slovak language with an English executive summary). The information is supplemented by a review and characteristics of the largest migrant groups in Slovakia; evaluation of existing legislation, politics and practice in the field of violence; comparison and best practices from abroad; and recommendations for institutions, practice and policies.

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Co-funded by the European Union through the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows.

Enhancing Intercultural Competencies and Regional Cooperation of Professionals Working with Migrants in the Slovak Republic

In 2013 IOM trained 138 public administration representatives from all over Slovakia working with third-country nationals.

IOM organized four two-day trainings and six regional workshops for officers from thealien police departments and employees of labour offices, district offices, representatives of municipalities and self-governing regions, health insurance company, Centre of Legal Aid and labour inspectorates.

The trainings, as the first part of the training programme, and the follow-up workshops focus on gaining skills in intercultural communication, knowledge in the field of migration and migrant integration in Slovakia, as well as cooperation among the key institutions. From 2010 until the end of 2013, altogether 341 experts from all over Slovakia took part in these events.

Part of the workshops is a socalled Counselling Day for Migrants. The migrants could receive answers to their questions while consulting at one place with representatives of several public institutions and IOM Migration Information Centre. In 2013, 43 migrants from non-EU countries or their representatives made use of this free counselling in Trnava, Nitra, Žilina and Prešov.

More information.

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Enhancing Intercultural Competencies and Regional Cooperation of Professionals working with Migrants in the Slovak Republic IV (individual project). The project is co-financed by the European Union from the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals. Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows.

We Are at Home Here!

In March 2013 within the project We Are at Home Here!, IOM Bratislava published a set of educational materials: a documentary film, didactic material and an information poster. All materials are designed for the public, and specifically for teachers and lecturers, and they can be used as wide-range presentation tools to introduce topics on migration in public life, multicultural education at schools and trainings in intercultural skills for professionals working with migrants.

The documentary film We Are at Home Here highlights the attitudes of the Slovak public towards migrants and through both personal stories of migrants from different countries, and the evidence-based data it presents the life of migrants and the reality of migration in Slovakia. IOM presented the film to the public on 27 March 2013 in Bratislava, and also introduced the methods of its usage in education and raising public awareness about migration. The didactic material We Are at Home Here provides teachers and lecturers with information, activities, options and links to other sources, enabling them to prepare and incorporate topic of migration into education in an easy and attractive way.

In April 2013, the film We Are at Home Here was premiered for the general public in the Lumière Cinema as part of the 8th [Fjúžn] Festival. Furthermore, the film was publicly screened in October at the Development Day 2013 in Bratislava's Old Market Hall and in November in both the Lumière Cinema and the Film Europe Cinema during the international One World Film Festival 2013, where nearly 400 young people from primary and secondary schools watched the film. After each of the four projections the audience and IOM staff had a discussion about the film, migration and migrants in Slovakia.

Sets of educational materials were widely distributed to participants of the public events, teachers, methodological centres, ministries, civil society organizations working on migration and human rights, media and others willing to learn more about migration issues.

The educational materials are available free of charge on the IOM website.

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Implemented with the financial support of the Government Office of the Slovak Republic within the framework of the Grant Programme Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms. Only International Organization for Migration is responsible for the content of this document.
Production of the film was financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.

How to Live Together, Not Just Next to Each Other – A Documentary Film: Next Door Family

On Sunday 18 November 2012, 32 Slovak and migrant families living in Slovakia shared their Sunday lunch. The meetings took place at 9 various locations in Slovakia and were attended by migrant families from 11 countries. The meetings in Slovakia were organised by IOM Bratislava within the international project Next Door Family. Apart from Slovakia, on the same day the meetings of local and migrant families were simultaneously held in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Finally, 280 meetings of local and migrant families took place in different parts of Europe.

One family meeting and public surveys on the attitudes towards migrants and migration were filmed in each country participating in the project. The documentary film Next Door Family was made of this footage in 2013 to present the coexistence of locals and migrants in Europe.

The film is available free of charge on the YouTube web site of IOM Bratislava.

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The family meetings and filming were carried out within the project Next Door Family EU – Inclusive Neigbourhoods that was co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (EIF) and by the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia. Media partners of family meetings in Slovakia were: Radio and television of Slovakia and SME daily.

Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations (AVRR)

In 2013, IOM Bratislava assisted 50 migrants with their return back home. While still in Slovakia, they were assisted with accommodation, arranging of travel documents, medical check-up, and were provided with airport assistance and assistance at the border crossing with Ukraine. Upon the arrival to their country of origin, an onward transportation to their place of residence had been arranged for them. Most migrants returned to Vietnam, Ukraine, China, Moldova and India. From 2004 until 2013 IOM Bratislava assisted 1,109 migrants who returned to 54 countries all over the world.

As for the help upon  return, IOM provided reintegration assistance to 31 migrants in the amount of 44,737.39 EUR. This money was mostly used for small business start-ups, for covering their basic needs and providing dignified living conditions. For the first time, migrants were provided with medical assistance. So far, IOM Bratislava has assisted individuals and families in 21 countries in the world this way.

In 2013, IOM produced another short video from the series Stories of Migrants after their Return Home. Vitalie from Moldova speaks about his arrival to Slovakia, about his situation at the time when he approached IOM for assistance, his return home as well as the assistance he received from the Slovak Republic following his return home. Further stories of migrants returning from Slovakia under the assistance of IOM can be found on AVRR website: www.avr.iom.sk.

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Voluntary return and reintegration in the country of origin (Individual project). The project is co-funded by the European Union from the European Return Fund. Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows.

Counter-Trafficking in Human Beings

In 2013, IOM Bratislava identified 29 human trafficking victims – 18 women and 11 men. Two victims were foreigners, other victims were Slovak citizens. 23 victims entered the Programme of Return and Reintegration of Trafficked Persons, 17 of them were assisted by IOM upon their return to Slovakia. According to IOM records, more than 50 per cent of the victims with Slovak citizenship were trafficked to Great Britain, which shows a slight increase compared to last year.

Last year, based on the victims identified by IOM, the most common reason for trafficking in human beings was a forced labour. Compared to 2012, the share of forced labour in trafficking increased from 11 to 31 per cent. Sexual exploitation was present in 28 per cent and forced begging in 7 per cent of all identified victims. Again, the share of forced marriages raised and several cases of forced housework were detected. A combination of more than one form of trafficking was present in many cases.

Through the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818 IOM staff provided 1,715 consultations and successfully identified five victims of trafficking in human beings.

From April to September 2013, IOM implemented 7 trainings on identifying victims and prevention of human trafficking. In total, these trainings were attended by 158 employees of leisure centres, Slovak Catholic Charity, representatives of Roman Catholic Church and pastoral centres, communities, local authorities and city police, health service and field social workers. A training provided by IOM was also a part of a pre-departure consular preparation of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, focussed on a collaboration of the Slovak authorities in helping human trafficking victims.

In October 2013, IOM employees gave a speech about trafficking in human beings at the Prague workshop entitled Uncertain Position of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings, organised by the Masaryk University´s Faculty of Law in cooperation with La Strada organisation as well as at the Trafficking in Human Beings, Prevention, Research, Practice conference organised in Nitra by STORM association,  Regional Cultural Centre in Nitra and Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Care of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra.

More information.

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IOM Bratislava implements the Programme of Return and Reintegration for Trafficked Persons as a part of the national Programme of Support and Protection for victims of Human Trafficking, which is financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Operation of the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818 is financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. Technical operation of the helpline is provided by Slovak Telekom, a. s.

European Migration Network (EMN) Activities

In 2013, IOM as the coordinator of the National Contact Point (NCP) of EMN in the Slovak Republic published six studies and responded to 78 ad-hoc queries. It organised 19 meetings for NCP EMN members in the Slovak Republic – EMN conference on Migration of Qualified Workers from Third Countries – Policies and Practice, EMN educational seminar Opportunities and Challenges of Labour Migration along with the discussion evening Tree Workers Case on labour exploitation and human trafficking as well as 17 other working and presentation meetings and expert seminars.

European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Point in the Slovak Republic:

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Humanitarian Transfer of Refugees

In 2013 the Emergency Transit Centre (ETC) in Humenné received 138 new refugees who were forced to flee their country. Resettlement to a new country through ETC is for many of them the only chance of a new life in a safe environment.

More than a half of this number were Afghan women and children from Iran, the rest of refugees were Somali families from Eritrea. The Slovak Republic provided them with a temporary shelter for a period of 6 months, during which the refugees were accommodated in ETC established in an asylum facility of the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia. While in the Centre, the refugees go through interviews and medical examinations and take part in cultural orientation course. After these preparations they are permanently resettled to a third country.

In 2013 IOM Bratislava, in cooperation with its partners, resettled 185 refugees who had arrived to the Centre in 2012 and 2013. Most of the resettled found their new home in the United States of America, some of them in Norway. Two thirds of all resettled refugees were of Somali nationality, almost a third of them were Afghans and the remaining refugees resettled through the Centre were Sudanese, Eritrean and Ethiopian. Majority of the overall number of resettled refugees were women, or families with children.

The refugees are resettled based on the trilateral treaty about humanitarian transfer between the Government of Slovakia, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM. In this program IOM is responsible for the transportation of refugees from refugee camps to Slovakia and from Slovakia to the country of resettlement, as well as for the organization of security interviews, medical examinations and cultural orientation courses.

IOM has been cooperating with the Government of Slovakia and UNHCR in resettlement of refugees already since August 2009. At that time a group of 98 Palestinian refugees from an Iraqi refugee camp were resettled through the asylum facility in Humenné. In May 2011 the Emergency Transit Centre was opened for other groups of refugees and since then 391 of them were resettled through the Centre.

More information.

Activities of IOM in the project of Humanitarian Transfer of Refugees are financed by the by the US Government through its USRAP Program – United States Refugee Admissions Program, or by similar programs of other resettlement countries.