Prevention of trafficking in human beings
18 October – EU Anti-Trafficking Day
The European Commission has proclaimed 18 October as EU Anti-Trafficking Day in order to increase awareness of a phenomenon in which human rights are grossly violated.
Raising awareness of the general public
In 2019, the Escape Room – Labour Exploitation project took place; this raised awareness of trafficking in human beings for purposes of forced labour and labour exploitation. The project was co-financed by the Government Communication Office and carried out by DrogArt – the Slovenian Association for the Reduction of the Harmful Consequences of Drugs, the social undertaking Iz Principa. The project included an escape room (run for 9 days), in which visitors could experience first-hand the problems of exploited workers.
The EU Anti-Trafficking Day was marked by:
- a round table on labour exploitation, organised by DrogArt at the opening of an escape room. The event included Darja Šlibar, Higher State Prosecutor from the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office, Suzana Mašat from the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia, Tea Jarc from the Youth Plus trade union (Mladi plus), Goran Lukić from the Counselling Office for Workers, and Tanja Rudolf Čenčič from the social undertaking Iz Principa;
- participating in a preventive campaign within the European Crime Prevention Network;
- an event on the occasion of the publication of the book Vidim jutra (I see mornings) by Katjuša Popović and a free concert in Kino Šiška, both organised by the Ključ Society;
- displaying preventive content on 170 city buses and 45 digital screens provided by Caritas Slovenia.
Awareness raising among risk groups
Raising the awareness of adolescents
In 2019, the Ključ Society carried out two prevention projects aimed at raising the awareness of adolescents about the dangers of trafficking in human beings, the methods of recruitment, the dangers to which they are exposed online, and forced and arranged marriages and training them to identify risks, take appropriate action and self-protective behaviour. The projects were co-financed by the Government Communication Office, the Government Office for National Minorities, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
The "Vijolica – How to avoid the traps of trafficking in human beings" project was intended to raise awareness among primary school pupils of the last three-year cycle. It included 58 interactive workshops attended by over 1100 pupils. About a third of the workshops took place in environments where members of the Roma community also live. In addition, the Ključ Society held four workshops in multi-purpose Roma centres (attended by 36 Roma children) and organised a non-violence training ground, two visits to the swimming pool and a reading gathering.
The "Telesnica – How to recognise and avoid trafficking in human beings" project was intended to raise awareness among secondary school students and adolescents in residential special schools, youth homes and residential communities. Project results: 63 workshops (attended by 1444 adolescents), a summer gathering by the pool, a round table entitled "Prodano življenje – trgovina z ljudmi" (A life sold – trafficking in human beings), a contribution to the Roma newspaper, and participants receiving cards containing basic information about trafficking in human beings and important contact information and bracelets of the society with the slogan "against human trafficking". About a third of the workshops took place in environments where members of the Roma community also live.
Within the contract on co-financing the "Providing assistance to victims of human trafficking – Crisis accommodation" project, Caritas Slovenia held 28 preventive workshops in schools, which were attended by 649 children and adolescents. In addition, 15,000 copies of preventive materials were handed out.
The Ključ Society carried out the "KLJUčna šola za fante" (Key school for boys) project, which was co-financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The project was exclusively intended for boys attending secondary and vocational schools and addressed two areas: the excessive use of pornography among young people and the solicitation of prostitution services from women. Within the project, 48 preventive workshops were held, attended by 806 boys.
Raising awareness among potential victims of labour exploitation or forced labour
In 2019, the Counselling Office for Workers carried out the "Po-moč" (Help) project, which was aimed at raising the awareness of potential victims of labour exploitation and forced labour about the dangers of trafficking in human beings, the possible intertwining of labour exploitation and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced labour, their rights, and empowerment to reduce risk, identify potential victims in need of assistance and protection, and raise awareness among employers in the industries where exploitation is most common. The project was co-financed by the Government Communication Office.
Project results: information was provided 535 times, in-depth counselling and a comprehensive active support, such as advocacy, for tackling labour exploitation and exercising rights were provided 546 times, and there was intensive informing of the media and social partners.
Within the projects co-financed by the Ministry of Health, the Foundation for the Financing of Disability and Humanitarian Organisations in the Republic of Slovenia, and the City of Ljubljana, the Ključ Society held ten workshops for women involved in prostitution, which were attended by 50 people, and 12 workshops for workers in high-risk jobs, which were attended by 472 people.
Preventive action in terms of awareness-raising and the prevention of trafficking in human beings in the Roma community
The measures addressing the issue of early and forced marriages or escape of minors into harmful environments are included in the National Programme of Measures for Roma of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for the 2017–2021 period (the authorities responsible are the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Government Office for National Minorities) and in the Action Plan for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the 2019–2020 period (the authorities responsible are the Government Communication Office and the Government Office for National Minorities). Below are presented some of the most important and visible activities that are carried out on the basis of these documents.
In their training activities for judges and other judicial employees, the Judicial Training Centre included lectures on the challenges in working with the Roma community, which are given by the General Police Directorate (Police Academy, Research and Social Skills Centre). Five lectures under the title "Challenges of Working with the Roma Community and its Specific Features" were delivered in 2018 and seven in 2019.
The Social Chamber of Slovenia organised and held a seminar for professionals in social work centres in 2019. Four lectures were held at the seminar: two on escaping to harmful environments, one presentation of activities of the Office for National Minorities regarding minors escaping to harmful environments (i.e. premature marriages of Roma children) and forced marriages of Roma girls, and another presentation of practical cases and inter-institutional cooperation. Fifty-seven professionals attended the seminar.
Workshops dealing with the issue of children and young people escaping to harmful environments and forced marriages are held in multi-purpose Roma centres. The main aim of these workshops in multi-purpose Roma centres is to raise awareness among Roma men and women that such practices are illegal and harmful.
Under the SIFOROMA project ("Reinforcing the National Consultation Process in Slovenia by Establishing a National Platform for Roma"), the Office for National Minorities also organises events at which it addresses and discusses this issue in a multi-disciplinary and inclusive way together with the interested expert public and other key stakeholders (non-governmental organisations, the Roma community). In November 2018, the national consultation titled "We are more successful together: minors' running away to harmful environments (early marriages) and forced marriages of Roma children" took place. The objectives of the consultation were: (a) to speak openly about the occurrence of so-called early and forced marriages of Roma girls and boys and listen to the views and experience of all institutions and communities which are in any way involved in the discussion of these phenomena, (b) to define levers for progress, effective interventions, and systemic and preventive operations with multi-disciplinary approach. In 2019, two regional consultations took place: the first consultation at Otočec dealt with the issue of minors escaping to harmful environments and premature marriages, while the second in Maribor was on the issue of forced marriages of Roma children.
The Office for National Minorities is also responsible for the ad-hoc working group for the preparation of a protocol of action in the proceedings for dealing with cases of cohabitation with minors — dealing with cases of minors escaping to harmful environments (early marriages) and forced marriages in the Roma community. In its meetings, the representatives of competent ministries and other institutions review the situation in the field and the activities carried out, as well as agree on further steps and necessary measures.
Raising awareness among refugees and migrants
The "Combating trafficking in human beings – the dissemination of information is a weapon against exploitation" project was carried out in 2018 by Slovene Philanthropy, Association for Promotion of Voluntary Work. It was aimed at raising the awareness among the most vulnerable groups of applicants, persons granted international protection and persons whose application for international protection was refused (hereinafter: refugees and migrants), and employees and volunteers working with the target population.
The main focus was on informing refugees and migrants individually, and seven information workshops were organised for them. Five workshops were held for professionals carrying out programmes for refugees and migrants or in contact with them and volunteers.
Informative posters and leaflets on trafficking in human beings were also printed. Leaflets (printed in Arabic, Farsi, English and Slovenian) were available at asylum centres and non-governmental organisations.
Raising awareness among consumers and users of services provided by victims of trafficking in human beings
The "Escape room – labour exploitation" project, carried out by DrogArt – the Slovenian Association for the Reduction of the Harmful Consequences of Drugs, the social undertaking Iz Principa, is described under the section "Raising awareness among the general public".
Raising awareness among and training of the professional community
In 2019, the National Working Group for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings provided for the carrying out of regular trainings for professionals dealing with the issue of trafficking in human beings (law enforcement authorities) and awareness-raising among experts who may encounter this phenomenon in their work (social and educational staff and others).
The Criminal Police Directorate at the General Police Directorate organised the following regular training courses for both criminal investigators and local police officers:
- Training of criminal investigators from regional criminal police divisions who investigate crimes of human trafficking. The topic of the training course was the identification and implementation of procedures with victims of human trafficking. The training was attended by 72 criminal investigators, prosecutors from the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Slovenia, judges from Ljubljana District Court, representatives of non-governmental organisations, and four representatives of the security authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, 95 participants took part in the training;
- Basic training on trafficking in human beings for candidates for the position of border police officer, including on how to recognise indicators of various forms of trafficking in human beings. This training programme was attended by 24 candidates for the position of national border police officer;
- Three courses on basic training for police officers from regional police divisions of all police directorates (in partnership with the Ključ Society). In total, 90 police officers took part in the training;
- A training course for those employees of the Ministry of the Interior (the Internal Administrative Affairs, Migration and Naturalisation Directorate, International Protection Procedures Division) who are decision-makers in procedures for granting international protection. The employees were acquainted with the issue of trafficking in human beings, indicators, procedures with identified victims and methods for information exchange. Eighteen employees took part in the training.
A training course on the manifestations of trafficking in human beings was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within preparations for the implementation of consular services at diplomatic or consular representations and training of diplomats prior to leaving for service abroad. The course was attended by 20 participants.
The Social Chamber of Slovenia conducted two training programmes for professional workers and professional assistants of social work centres entitled "Work with migrants who are victims of trafficking in human beings" within the Programme for Exercising the Public Authority of the Social Chamber of Slovenia, which is financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The seminar was attended by 57 professionals from social work centres. At the seminar, a lecture was given on the reasons why minors run away from home, their vulnerabilities, and various traps and forms of exploitation they are vulnerable to, especially in connection with forced marriages as one of the forms of trafficking in human beings. The Office for National Minorities presented the activities regarding minors escaping to harmful environments and forced marriages of Roma girls. A representative of a social work centre and a representative of the Office of the State Prosecutor General of the Republic of Slovenia presented cases of good inter-institutional cooperation.
The Faculty of Social Work of the University of Ljubljana held an additional training course for statutory representatives of unaccompanied minors. During the lecture, followed by a discussion, the issues of trafficking in human beings in Slovenia and identification of victims of trafficking in human beings were presented to the participants.
The state prosecutors at the Specialised State Prosecutor’s Office attended training programmes on trafficking in human beings abroad and training organised by the police and the Financial Administration. They actively participated with their own presentations and experiences. At the training days for prosecutors, a lecture was given by local state prosecutor Matej Mavrič entitled "Za spuščenimi žaluzijami – študija primera trgovine z ljudmi" (Behind the blinds – A case study of human trafficking).
The Health Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia held a professional training course and additional training for public employees where the national co-ordinator and the state prosecutor presented to the participants the issue of trafficking in human beings in the context of hidden forced labour and labour exploitation. The training session was attended by 104 employees.
The Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia held, for 50 employees of mobile units, a professional training programme on combating trafficking in human beings. The Manual for Identifying, Assisting and Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking and the Slovenian Government’s central website regarding combating trafficking in human beings were presented to the participants, and the presentation was followed by a discussion about experiences from this field.
Caritas Slovenia organised professional training, with an emphasis on the work with victims, intended for the "Providing assistance to victims of human trafficking - A crisis accommodation" working group, professionals from the Caritas network, and representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The lecture "Trafficking in human beings and the necessary (self-)protective measures when working with victims" was given by a representative of the Criminal Police, while the lecture "Trauma and the basics approaches to working with traumatised persons" was given by a doctor of medicine.
In 2019, the Ključ Society held 12 training courses for various groups of experts (health professionals, the police, the Prosecutor’s Office, education, judges, social workers and others), attended in total by 505 people. They also held 11 workshops at faculties, which were attended by 324 participants, and three training courses for future professionals (volunteers), where 19 people acquainted themselves with the issue of trafficking in human beings.
Within the projects financed by the Ministry of Health, Caritas Slovenia and the Ključ Society also raised awareness among professionals in healthcare.