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Raising awareness of human trafficking for purposes of forced labour and labour exploitation

18 October – EU Anti-Trafficking Day – is intended to raise awareness of human trafficking and to encourage everyone involved to work harder in the fight against this phenomenon. “In Slovenia we are working for the fourth year in a row to increase awareness of forced labour and labour exploitation, which is a too-little recognised form of this serious crime”, said State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior and National Anti-trafficking coordinator Sandi Čurin.
Sad woman sitting with hair over face.

EU Anti-Trafficking Day – is intended to raise awareness of human trafficking and to encourage everyone involved to work harder in the fight against this phenomenon. | Author GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

In 2007 the European Commission proclaimed 18 October as EU Anti-Trafficking Day, which is an opportunity to raise awareness about the human trafficking and to prevent this phenomenon.

Human trafficking is a complex crime based on exploitation that occurs in various different forms. One form of human trafficking is forced labour, which is present in all modern societies and is even a structural element of certain branches of industry. According to data from the European Commission, trafficking in human beings for this purpose is increasing, and accounts for 26 percent of all registered victims of trafficking in EU Member States. However, the true scope of the problem usually remains hidden, as human traffickers are constantly changing their operating methods, using less physical force and more psychological and emotional violence. The people affected usually do not recognise themselves as victims, and often excuse, accept or even deny the actions of the perpetrators. Foreign workers caught in mechanisms of exploitation and dependence due to debt are particularly susceptible to forced labour and labour exploitation.

Both inspection authorities and the police try to detect such cases. The police have processed a large number of crimes in the past year involving infringements of the fundamental rights of workers and labour exploitation, but have not established human trafficking in any of those cases.

Since identifying, detecting and proving the existence of these forms of trafficking is extremely difficult, preventive behaviour and raising awareness of the phenomenon are all the more important. We focus on raising awareness among both the general public and vulnerable groups, as well as raising awareness of the responsibility of users of services under which various forms of forced labour are provided by victims of human trafficking. Two preventive projects have been planned for this year:

The “Po-Moč” project focuses on providing information, advice and advocacy for victims of labour exploitation and forced labour, and identifying victims of human trafficking. It is carried out by the Workers Advocacy association, which has been informing the public about specific violations for several years, and seeking solutions at the systemic and legislative levels.

The second project is being carried out by the DrogArt association through its social enterprise Iz principa, which once again opened the “Escape Room” in Ljubljana on 17 October 2019, in which visitors are able to have a first-hand experience of the trap of exploitative labour. If they want to escape from the room, they have to resolve various situations that simulate exploitative labour conditions.

In addition, this year Slovenia will mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day by participating in a preventive campaign as part of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN), which began on 17 October 2019.

The projects will be co-funded by the National Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which has been active in this area since 2003. As part of its mandate the working group tries to detect and identify all forms of human trafficking, prosecute perpetrators effectively and provide victims with effective protection and assistance. In Slovenia the most prevalent form of exploitation is sexual abuse, and last year for the first time we also encountered human trafficking for purposes of committing crimes, carried out by an international crime syndicate. The first conviction has already been handed down in this particular case , indicating a significant advance in detecting and identifying other forms of human trafficking in Slovenia. In total in 2018 we identified 101 victims of trafficking, of whom 67 victims of sexual exploitation, 32 victims of forced criminal activities and 2 victims of forced begging.

More on the fight against human trafficking

National Working Group for the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Contact: Sandi Čurin, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior and national coordinator for the fight against human trafficking, tel.: +386 (0)1 428 58 49