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VICTOR project Final Meeting – Achievements and Steps forward

2015-02-23

The final meeting of VICTOR took place in Ljubljana with the participation of 13 partner organizations from 8 countries of South Eastern Europe. During the meeting the partners had the opportunity to discuss the overall implementation and achievements of the project, as well as possible common future actions in order to further improve cooperation against child trafficking in Southeastern Europe.

As a pilot activity of the project, VICTOR Info-Desks were established in 4 countries of the region – namely Greece, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania- and are operational since May 2014. The main aim of the Info-Desks is to raise awareness on THB among the general public, children, vulnerable communities, and actors which may come in contact with victims or possible victims.

Through the operation of a specific helpline, VICTOR Info-Desks provide information to all interested parties on THB in general and child trafficking in particular as well as information on national and international legal instruments and mechanisms dealing with THB. At the same time they provide assistance and guidance on specific reports of possible THB cases.

VICTOR Info-Desks also organize lectures, seminars, and workshops targeting health and social workers, police officers, and judiciary professionals. Furthermore, they perform activities targeted to vulnerable communities in an effort to raise awareness on the phenomenon of child trafficking thus to improve the level of prevention.

During the meeting participants took stock of the results of the undertaken activities, shared their work and experiences from the pilot operation of the Info-Desks and discussed the methodological aspects of the external evaluation that is being implemented in the context of the project.

Based on the upcoming results and the recommendations of the evaluation, the partners of the project agreed to prepare a working paper on the operation of the Info-Desks in view of the continuation, sustainability and possible expansion of this activity and its promotion as a new tool for combating child trafficking.

The Info desks model builds upon already existing mechanisms and tools of assistance such as the 116 000 European Hotline for Missing children, national helplines for THB victims and is supported through the work of Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited children (SEEC).

An awareness-raising campaign was implemented during the time of the project implementation in Bulgaria, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, and Ukraine, which are either countries of origin, transit destination or a mixture of some of the three.

With country specific material and targeted preventive activities VICTOR partners raised awareness on the phenomenon among the general public, professionals, public authorities, NGO’s, school communities, relevant stakeholders and vulnerable communities and groups of children. Participants shared the results of their work in the respective countries and identified the need to engage more in on-site interventions and prevention activities in the local communities.

Throughout the implementation of the project, training seminars took place with success in Athens, Bucharest, Sofia and Ljubljana bringing together police officers, health care workers, the judiciary, and NGOs working in the field of THB These seminars reflected the idea that the situation in the field of identification of children (potential) victims can be improved through the provision of continuous training to national stakeholders and professionals likely to come in contact with vulnerable groups of children.

Focusing on the issue of identification of child trafficking and the related national policies, a Review on the National Referral Mechanisms (NRM) in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Slovenia was undertaken under the coordination of the Terre des Hommes Regional Office for Central and Southeastern Europe based in Budapest. The VICTOR partners are going to develop a policy paper in order to identify the issues at stake and present it to national stakeholders, to the Office of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, and to the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings.

The future of VICTOR beyond its final month in March 2015 was also discussed with willingness from the side of the partners to explore funding opportunities and the continuation of the activities in the near future. Final decisions and the steps forward will be made upon the completion of all deliverables and the finalisation of the project.

VICTOR was implemented by 15 partners from 8 countries under the coordination of “The Smile of the Child”.

For more information on the activities of the project visit our website on www.victorproject.eu or contact us on info@victorproject.eu

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