Listening to Victims

Program to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM) for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe

Implementing Agencies: ICMPD and NEXUS Institute

Geographic Scope: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia

Years: 2006-2009

Project Summary: This project supported the establishment of comprehensive, effective and institutionalized transnational referral mechanisms (TRM) for victims of trafficking in South Eastern Europe (SEE). The program aimed to develop TRMs for victims of trafficking in order to create a proper case management system between countries of origin, transit and destination. To ensure that the real life assistance and protection needs of trafficking victims were at the center of the project, ICMPD engaged the NEXUS Institute to conduct an empirical study in five countries in SEE – Listening to victims: Experiences of Identification, Return and Assistance in SEE. This complex multi-country research, designed and implemented by NEXUS, was conducted in countries of both origin and destination (namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Romania and Serbia) to explore trafficking victims’ experiences of identification, return and assistance. The findings from Listening to Victims were shared at the regional seminar with all governments of SEE and served as the basis for the development and drafting of guidelines for transnational referrals mechanisms.

This project was generously funded by USAID.

Project Publications and Studies:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.01.30 PMListening to victims: Experiences of Identification, Return and Assistance in SEE (2007)

The voices of victims of trafficking and their stories are powerful. While a number of studies and documents have examined the identification, return and assistance process for trafficked persons, the focus has been primarily on the legal and administrative frameworks in which identification, return and assistance take place. The structure of these standard reports include principles and guidelines in the identification and assistance process, the legislative framework and studies of the assistance framework, including good practices. Far less common have been studies of how victims themselves have perceived and experienced their post-trafficking life and how they value and evaluate this intervention and assistance. This report maps — from the victim’s perspective — the full trajectory of intervention by anti-trafficking actors — from identification, through return and referral and during various phases of assistance and protection. While anti-trafficking interventions are clearly vital in the recovery of trafficked persons, victims reported both positive and negative experiences in these various stages of anti-trafficking interventions. This information from the individuals who are the intended beneficiaries of these interventions is vital for on-going efforts in transnational referral and assistance systems for trafficked persons. The study is based on interviews with 80 trafficked women and men, children and adults from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Romania and Serbia.

Based on the findings of the NEXUS-authored study Listening to Victims, ICMPD, in partnership with the Department for Equal Opportunities – Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy, drafted Guidelines for the Development of a Transnational Referral Mechanism for Trafficked Persons in Europe (TRM-EU), which are available here.