AFESIP fights for the rights of female victims of trafficking in Lao PDR
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 AFESIP.
Since 2006, in Lao PDR, AFESIP (Acting For Women In Distressing Situations) aims to combat trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation. Moreover the organisation provides holistic care and recovery for those rescued from trafficking.
Project Article 25
In Laos, the problem extends beyond the lack of access to rights for victims to a lack of access to information for authorities. Relevant laws, such as Article 25 and the National Plan of Action (NPA) against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children exist in Laos to protect the rights of children and women victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Unfortunately these laws are not sufficiently enforced, hence the rights of victims are not sufficiently realised or understood. The project aims to ensure that Article 25 is put into action.
Firstly, ARTICLE 25 has the intention to empower authorities by ensuring they are well informed to maximise their understanding of the application of Lao laws and NPA; as they can play the central role in dramatically improving the situation.
By better informing authorities, they are be able to impose and monitor trafficking law on perpetrators including beer-bar owners, effectively increasing victims' access to justice and support. The AFESIP outreach team has given information to thousands of service women and held legal information sessions for bar owners.
Secondly, the project will advocate for the right to information for trafficked and exploited children and women: a right to be informed about their legal status and the services available, and every decision or process that will affect them. To achieve this right to information, the project supports its beneficiaries by information classes on their rights, legal assistance and produced appropriate IEC materials to be distributed.
Already 54 cases have been supported by AFESIP in their path to justice and 23 women and girls have been rescued from sexual exploitation. Besides at risks communities from 30 villages have been identified and will be given information and awareness raising materials on human trafficking laws, risks and women, children and victims' rights.
In addition AFESIP has established partnerships with all the governmental bodies participating in the legal trainings, workshops and meetings as well as with the key international organizations working on the issue in Laos.
For more information visit the website of AFESIP.