“Life is too short for anger and rage. I dedicate my whole life to you” – Sarah, 15 years old.
This drawing represents my warm home, my reason to move on with my life. Every morning I get up and I am grateful that I have a warm bed, food and a roof over my head, that I do not have to sleep on the streets wandering in the cold and heat, looking for a hidden corner in an alley where I can spend another day outside… alone. The flowers represent my growth. As the flower needs water to grow, I learned here that a warm hug and kind words can fill my heart with warmth and love. That is why I often tell the employees that I am their flower that they keep and nurture. The birds I see every day through the window of my home remind me of the people who have left my life and with their departure remind me that I should forget the bad people and the bad memories of my past. Here I was taught that I can achieve everything if I am diligent and learn. I often know before going to sleep to fantasize about my house in which I will live, I will have my family, love and happy moments and I will achieve that because there are people who love me, believe in me and give me the strength to believe that I will have this pink house.
This is just one of the many sincere feelings and wishes of the protégés of the Center for Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence which is part of the social protection system and provides temporary accommodation and psycho-social assistance and support, in order to rehabilitate and overcome trauma and reintegration of the victim into the environment. The program for direct assistance and support in the shelter consists of counseling work, individual and group therapy, educational and leisure activities and meeting basic needs. The beneficiaries are also provided with legal aid, psychological counseling, education and training, medical and humanitarian assistance, with the envisaged program of the NGO Open Gate. The provision of specialized psychological assistance is one of the basic services that are essential for the victims in order to help them recognize their strengths and find resources to deal with everyday problems and traumas. Within the program as a key challenge is the involvement of victims in the regular process of education but also attending vocational training according to the assessment of the interest and capacities of the victims.
Over the years we have had various cases, there have been victims who have successfully reintegrated and achieved positive results for which we as an organization strive. Many of them continued the educational process in order to economically empower in the future for easier inclusion in the labor market which is essential for them. However, there are victims who are unfortunately re-entering the human trafficking chain. A key element after leaving the shelter is the long-term planning of the reintegration process. The absence of long-term sustainable programs that provide access to victims of trafficking to the existing rights of the protection system, the insufficient number of accommodation facilities in institutions, the long duration of lawsuits that subject them to further revictimization, non-payment of compensation and lack of available services and financial resources that would help them in their reintegration process are just some of the problems that protégés have, which increases the possibility of re-entering the circle of human trafficking.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
We must support, trust and empower victims of trafficking.
- To expand the accommodation capacities of the existing shelter for victims of THB, as well as to provide a special shelter for juvenile and adult victims.
- Establish alternative centers for assistance and protection at the local level, such as day care centers, counseling centers if the victim does not want to be accommodated in a shelter.
- Inclusion of child victims of trafficking in regular education as soon as possible to be a priority for the responsible institutions, especially for the guardians of these children in the whole process of protection and reintegration.
- Adoption of the draft-law on monetary payment to victims of crime, which would enable the establishment of a compensation fund for victims of trafficking.
- Greater involvement of the local government in the implementation of the Program for assistance and support in reintegration of victims of human trafficking through the provision of services, as well as through human and financial resources.
- Enabling continuity of services for victims of trafficking through the allocation of financial resources to NGOs by the state.