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Raising awareness among children and adolescents about trafficking in human beings

The Ministry of the Interior began implementing workshops to raise awareness among children and adolescents about human trafficking. This year, the workshops are focusing on ninth-graders in primary schools in the Central Slovenian, Gorenjska, Goriška and Zasavje regions and second-year secondary school students in the Podravje, Pomurje, Koroška and Savinjska regions.

Damijan Janežič from the Service for Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings during the lecture

Damijan Janežič from the Service for Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings during the lecture | Author Ministrstvo za notranje zadeve

The main purpose of these workshops is to present to children and adolescents the problems and hazards of trafficking in human beings and recruitment methods, and to train them to recognise the risks, take appropriate action and behave in a self-protective manner. Human trafficking does not only occur in less developed countries at the other end of the world but is also present in the environment in which we live. Today, we can be in contact with human trafficking indirectly and we are frequently not even aware of this when we buy and use the goods that may have been produced by its victims.

Human trafficking can happen to everyone, but children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable and exposed to it. Due to the modern way of life, they spend a lot of time on the Internet, which is also used by the perpetrators to recruit and exploit victims, as it enables them to be invisible and anonymous. We thus inform the adolescents about the threats that lurk on the Internet and teach them how to avoid such dangers.

The pupils and students are also instructed about the fundamental reasons that enable human trafficking, its various forms and self-protective measures. One of the key reasons for a person to become a victim of trafficking in human beings is their vulnerability, which can arise from their personal circumstances, such as poverty, domestic violence, loss of their loved ones, addiction and other issues, or social circumstances, such as economic instability, natural disasters, war and other causes.

In the workshops, pupils are most interested in the actual stories about cases of human trafficking that happened in Slovenia, in connection with which we also inform them about the forms of victims’ assistance and provide the contact information of the organisations which they can turn to for help in the event of danger or distress.