18 October: EU Anti-trafficking day

Publié: 20 octobre 2014

Red Cross National Societies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Poland and Serbia are calling on stakeholders for action.

In 2007 on 18 October, the European Commission launched the EU Anti-Trafficking Day to raise awareness about this gross violation of human rights. Red Cross National Societies in South-East Europe have been active for years in raising awareness among the general public and respective governmental decision makers of the risks of human trafficking, and also to the need to protect the victims. 

Since 2011, Red Cross National Societies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro have jointly organised the 'Red Bell campaign' to draw attention to this serious issue in the region. According to the UN data, South-east European countries continue to be the most common source of victims of cross-border trafficking in Western and Central Europe as 30 per cent of victims of cross-border trafficking were still nationals from that area in 2012. This cooperation has been successful in raising awareness throughout the countries involved by mobilising local networks and volunteers, and by engaging local and national stakeholders in the process and discussion about the scope of human trafficking in the region.

In 2014, Bulgarian Red Cross and Polish Red Cross also joined the regional campaign with their anti-trafficking activities. In each of the countries, Red Cross National Societies are organising events, activities and actions to reach out to different audiences and cooperate with the most important key stakeholders, including ministries, the European Union, international organisations and corporate sector. Throughout these countries Red Cross volunteers are active, circulating campaign materials and raising public awareness of the potential victims and front-line responders. The Red Bell logo is calling on stakeholders to break the silence on issues relating to trafficking in Human beings and to speak out to free victims.

Between September and December 2014, six National Societies are again engaging in dialogue with their respective governments to influence policy making in a way that it effectively respects and protects the rights of victims of trafficking.

Bosnian Red Cross organizes lectures for students in schools and colleges throughout October. Round table and panel discussions with relevant key stakeholders will happen alongside street performances with the help of RC volunteers. The Bosnian campaign targets the general population of Bosnia as well as government representatives and the representatives of OSCE and UNODC.

Bulgarian Red Cross’ district of Plovdiv organizes information campaigns in 15 public schools in the region, from September to December. On 18 October, Bulgarian Red Cross organizes an education campaign and also implements an open seminar with representatives of the police, courts, prosecutors, NGOs and social services. The aim is to initiate the set-up of a coordination mechanism between relevant authorities and key stakeholders in order to prevent and combat human trafficking.

Croatian Red Cross organizes various public performances to raise awareness of human trafficking in partnership with Governmental and non governmental organizations. Throughout October, the CRC has been organizing different educational activities at local level; such as seminars, workshops and public forums for students and school children as well as for asylum seekers and refugees in asylum reception centres. Round table with key stakeholders takes place on 17 October, with aim to discuss new trends in human trafficking and reinforce efforts to protect victims. 

Red Cross of Montenegro organizes a conference on 18 October with the participation of respective government organisations and ministries in order to draw special attention to the EU Anti Trafficking Day, and to highlight the National Societies’ role in the fight against human trafficking. Throughout October, the Red Cross of Montenegro is also organising educative workshops and presentations in schools, as well as public performances.

The Polish Red Cross organizes a two-day seminar in November 2014 with key representatives of Polish ministries and representatives of state police, emergency service, border guard, other NGOs in order to improve the awareness of participants to the scope of human trafficking on the Polish-Ukrainian border, and to strengthen the position of the Polish Red Cross as a key partner in the fight against trafficking in human beings in the region. The seminar will be coupled with public events at five different locations carried out by RC volunteers in November.

Red Cross of Serbia primarily aims at raising awareness of Health Care community in the country, including respective decision-makers, to the new National Strategy combatting trafficking in human beings and its relevance to Health Care policies and regulations. Red Cross of Serbia organizes information sessions, round table and panel discussions with health professionals with the aim of reaching a minimum of 1,000 relevant stakeholders, informing on their role in the implementation of the Serbian Strategy for combatting human trafficking.

To make real progress in preventing and combating human trafficking in the region, the signatories would like to call on policy makers and respective decision making stakeholders to address the issue and cooperate effectively between each other and the Red Cross National Societies in the region.