Archive for February 20th, 2013

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Human trafficking and pilot projects in the EaP

February 20, 2013

OK – following on from yesterday’s post and remaining with the human trafficking theme, the fight against which I remain a devout crusader, I did state we would return to the human trafficking issue despite it not being a stated EU human rights priority as per the European Council of Minister’s press release.

Naturally in yesterday’s post I did mention my disappointment that human trafficking was not a priority – more so in light of it being a Ukrainian priority whilst sitting as the 2013 OSCE Chair.  I did write however, that the EU had made a statement relating to human trafficking that same day and a cursory look at it would happen today.

Well here it is.

Yes indeed, human trafficking draws some of the most strongly worded statements you will find coming from the European Commission:

Stephan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourghood Policy –  “We are determined to do all we can to work across borders and nations to bring an end to this evil activity of trafficking people wherever it takes place. By strengthening laws, sharing information and increasing levels of awareness of the problem across the region, we hope to lay the foundations for further action in this area and send a clear message to traffickers that this barbaric and deplorable form of exploitation cannot continue.”

Andres Piebalgs, Development Commissioner – “I find it absolutely shocking that in the 21st century, human trafficking continues. Organised crime is a virus that knows no borders, so the remedy must also strike across borders not only to protect the victims, but also EU citizens. That’s why projects like this are so vital – it is only by countries working together that we are likely to see an end to this terrible scourge on modern society.”

Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Home Affairs – “Trafficking in human beings cannot be tolerated in any form, be it in Europe or anywhere else in the world. We need to work with partner countries and organisations to provide a strong and unequivocal response to this fundamental violation of human rights.”

“Evil activity”, “absolutely shocking”, “cannot be tolerated in any form”, “provide a strong and unequivocal response” – Blimey!  A positively fire and brimstone message by way of European Commission standards.  And yet, as I said yesterday, an issue sadly missing from the European Council press release relating to EU human rights priorities – despite it being an issue that affects the nations of each and every European Council member without exception (not to mention each and every neighbouring nation as well – naturally including Ukraine).

Now those of you who bothered to click on the link to the 18th February human trafficking EU press release above will note that the relatively small sum of Euro 1.5 million has been allocated to a pilot project aimed at the nations of Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey in an effort to facilitate information and best practice sharing amongst those nations.  – Very good, and generally in line with the EU human trafficking  2012 – 2016 human trafficking strategy, but that is not what has my attention from this press release.

As regular readers will know, I have committed myself to give some time and effort to an Odessa NGO called “Вера, Надежда, Любовь” that deals with prostitution, domestic violence and human trafficking in and through Odessa.

Amongst my first suggestions was to fine tune and formalise to a greater degree, the communication with and exchange of information, best practice and effective policy implementation with NGOs of a similar nature throughout the EU, FSU, and MENA relating to both prevention and victim support – very much like the pilot project mentioned above.  Herein my knowledge of English, Russian, somewhat rusty German and almost forgotten French languages, is somewhat useful – not withstanding 8 years of dealing with domestic violence, prostitution and rape via multi-agency platforms and the experience that provided from 1990 – 1998 in the UK.

The obvious gap in between prevention and victim support – law enforcement – is not a matter for NGOs but those who enforce the law and is thus better left to Interpol, Europol and national enforcement structures – albeit a rude poke in the ribs may be required by a NGO to give matters some local importance occasionally.

It was this paragraph that has my attention – “By mid-2014 a second phase is expected to consolidate its results and broaden the scope by addressing not only law enforcement, but also assistance and protection of victims. More countries are also expected to join the project in the second phase.”

Oh yes – the victims!  After the serious business of organised crime and the economic impact of human trafficking is ruminated over ad infinitum, let us not forget the victims, who are quite often left severely damaged long after any offenders are jailed and illegal proceeds from this abhorrent crime confiscated – which is seldom.

Needless to say, I will be paying extra attention the EU Commission website relating to human trafficking for any indication of just how and who will be encouraged to pick up the pieces for the victims across the EU and its neighbouring nations, and the regional strategy or model put forward.  Not least, what implications it will have for Ukraine and those to whom I have just started to donate some time and effort to.

With that dear readers, I will move onto subjects new tomorrow – after all you don’t read this blog for information on human trafficking alone do you – energy and the environment beckons as the next entry!

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