Victim Identification and Assistance in SEE

Improving Victim Identification and Assistance in South Eastern Europe

Implementing Agencies: NEXUS Institute and Fafo

Geographic Scope: Albania, Serbia and Moldova

Years: 2009-2011

Project Summary: This research series focused on issues and challenges in the identification, return and assistance of trafficking victims in the Western Balkans – namely, the strengths and weaknesses of current models of assistance in the region, how identification of trafficking victims can be improved, and challenges in the reintegration of trafficking victims. These are pressing issues in the development of anti-trafficking programs and projects and the research series aims to contribute to the knowledge base on these issues as a means of supporting and guiding program funders, policy makers and assistance providers. The studies are based on interviews with trafficked persons and key informants (e.g. service providers, law enforcement) in Albania, Serbia and Moldova, from 2006 and 2009. Data analysis was undertaken between 2009 and 2012.

This research project was carried out in cooperation between NEXUS Institute (Vienna/Washington) and Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies (Oslo) and was generously financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Project Publications and Studies: This project resulted in three research papers, which address a range of issues and challenges in the assistance framework in the Balkan and FSU region. The research series is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova.

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 6.03.52 PMA fuller picture. Addressing trafficking-related assistance needs and socio-economic vulnerabilities (2012)

Given the importance of assistance and protection in the lives of trafficked persons, it is critical that interventions are designed to meet their actual needs at various stages of their post-trafficking recovery. Understanding what these needs are, however, is not straightforward. A comprehensive picture necessitates engaging directly with trafficked persons in the design, implementation and evaluation of assistance interventions. That is, what do trafficking victims themselves see as important and useful assistance in order to be able to recover and move on from their often harrowing experiences? To what extent are these needs being met within the existing assistance system? How could interventions better respond to their different needs, at different stages of the recovery process? These questions are the main focus of this paper. A second area of examination for our report is the broader social and economic context of victims’ needs. This paper is one of three research papers which address a range of issues and challenges in the assistance framework in the Balkan and Former Soviet Union (FSU) region. It is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008.

 

Out of sightOut of sight? Factors and challenges in identifying trafficked persons (2012)

Identification of trafficking victims continues to be one of the greatest challenges in anti-trafficking work. There are many different ways that victims exit trafficking, are identified and come into contact with the anti-trafficking framework and their various assistance options. Nevertheless, many victims go unidentified and are consequently subject to continued exploitation or unable to access the rights afforded them under international conventions. The main goal in this study is to disentangle how the identification of trafficked persons takes place in South Eastern Europe as well as situations in which it does not occur and the reasons for this. The study discusses missed opportunities for identification of trafficking victims, including the very real and personal implications for these trafficked individuals, based on interviews with 43 victims of trafficking and 99 key informants in the anti-trafficking sector. This paper is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008 and is one of three research papers, which address a range of issues and challenges in the assistance framework in the Balkan and FSU region.

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 6.21.10 PMNo place like home? Challenges in family reintegration of trafficked women (2012)

When trafficking exploitation ends, victims face a new set of challenges as they return and integrate into their home environment. A critical aspect is the victim’s relationship and interaction with the family. Family provides not only emotional and social support, but also (often vital) economic backstopping. Considering and accommodating family dynamics and relationships in reintegration responses has the potential to contribute substantially to more efficient and appropriate assistance and protection. The focus of this report is on family reintegration, but with particular attention to the different relationships within families. Identifying common points of tension can be useful in providing more targeted assistance to victims of trafficking, thereby decreasing the risk of social vulnerability or even re-trafficking. Awareness of potential conflict points in family relationships may provide options for early intervention and also be built into reintegration processes and responses. Further, understanding that post-trafficking relationships may be tense and complicated (at least at some stage and in response to certain triggers) can reduce the stress and disappointment felt by many former trafficking victims after reuniting with their families, when support is not offered in the form they expected or hoped for. This report examines these points of tension and external factors that add extra strain to family relationships, and discusses the implications for assistance to individual victims as well as their family members. The report concludes with concrete and specific recommendations for future program and policy design, which can serve as a basis for further discussion on how to best support the reintegration of trafficked persons. This paper is based on fieldwork research conducted in Albania, Serbia and Moldova between 2006 and 2008.

Photograph by Vincent Desjardins. Some rights reserved.