La Strada International Raises Awareness on Compensation for Trafficked Persons
In order to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in their activities to fight human trafficking, UN.GIFT established a Small Grants Facility which was launched on 1 March 2010. A Call for Proposals was issued inviting eligible CSOs to submit their project ideas to UN.GIFT. From over 440 received proposals, 12 projects were chosen for funding. One of the awardees is La Strada International (LSI) for their COMP.ACT project.
La Strada International (LSI) is a European NGO network comprising nine member organisations in Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia and the Netherlands. The overall aim of LSI is to prevent trafficking in human beings and to defend rights of trafficked persons, in particular women in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. La Strada member organisations implement ongoing campaigns focusing on prevention & education, information & lobby, and direct social assistance for trafficked persons.
COMP.ACT - Compensation for Trafficked Persons
The COMP.ACT project is an initiative in 14 European countries and combines practical work with international advocacy and campaigning for access to justice and right to redress for trafficked people. At the national level, the project aims at establishing compensation as an integral part of assistance to trafficked people in Europe. Test cases will be identified and supported throughout the legal procedures to obtain valuable insight into the current mechanisms. This knowledge will help to create a system that helps trafficked people gain access to compensation and support them throughout the process.
On the international level the project will create awareness of the issue of compensation in order to put it high on the international anti-trafficking agenda. Interaction and networking within this European Coalition strengthens the dissemination of experience and knowledge.
Project implementation - Progress in the fight for compensation for trafficking victims
Much has been achieved in the first year of the project. Working towards raising awareness about the importance of compensation in the recovery and reintegration process of survivors, co-operation with international organizations such as the Council of Europe, OSCE, UNODC and international law firms has been established. The national networks have been strengthened and the issue of compensation successfully introduced to them. Also innovative partnerships on a national level with lawyers, law departments in university, victim protection organisations were developed.
In a number of partner countries, research on compensation measures has been conducted and offers practical experience and lessons learned. In Austria, for example, a comprehensive study was carried out and a report developed and presented to relevant stakeholders. One conclusion that can already be drawn from the research and the practical work of amongst others Lefö in Austria and MRCI in Ireland, is that if there is no legal and financial support for a trafficked person when claiming compensation, there is very little chance for success.
Currently, project implementation focuses on supporting a number of test cases and continues to raise awareness about the need to ensure survivors can access justice.