BULGARIAN-SWISS JOINT EFFORTS FOR PROVIDING IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL PROTECTION OF TRAFFICKED PERSONS AND PREVENTING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
(1 January 2015 – 31 December 2017)
The project is supported with a grant under Thematic Fund “Security”, Switzerland. It is a component from an integrated 3-year programme “Swiss-Bulgarian Programme of Cooperation for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings and the Identification, Protection, Support, Return & Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking ”, implemented and coordinated by the National Commussion for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings /NCCTHB/, International Organization for Migration /IOM/, and Animus Association Foundation.
ANIMUS project component is directed at the prevention of trafficking in human beings and at protecting the rights of trafficked persons as first priority of all anti-trafficking measures.
The present project is a collaborative effort between Animus/La Strada Bulgaria and the Bulgarian National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB), a Swiss leading anti-trafficking NGO FIZ and International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD.
Concretely the project aims to ensure respect of the rights of trafficked persons for immediate and unconditional access to services upon identification in Switzerland as country of destination and in Bulgaria as country of origin. The project will contribute to the sustainable implementation of the protective measures for victims of trafficking as envisaged in the Swiss and in the Bulgarian legislations.
Activities are organized around four main objectives:
1. Improved bilateral Swiss-Bulgarian collaboration on THB and rights of VoT – Enhancing the cooperation between Switzerland, as a country of destination, and Bulgaria, as a country of origin, by creation of Swiss-Bulgarian bilateral guidelines identification, protection and referral of victims that will ensure the effective protection and respect of the rights of the victims in both countries. ANIMUS will also partner with NCCTHB for this objective, where the NCCTHB and the KSMM in Switzerland will have a key role.
The guidelines will be developed by a working bilateral multi-institutional group of 8 persons (law enforcement, social protection, policy making, etc from both countries) with the facilitating role of Animus and FIZ. The group will meet each year in Bulgaria or Switzerland. Between meetings, members of the group will work on local/national level and will meet and consult with other actors in their countries. As a final stage the guidelines will be piloted and the launched by both countries.
It is expected that the number of the Bulgarian victims assisted in both countries will increase because of improved risk assessment identification and referral
2. Improved monitoring of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and VoT post-shelter – ANIMUS with partner with ICMPD to conduct an assessment of the activities of all main NRM actors and their local branches and a review of standard operating procedures. This will be the first systematic evaluation of the implementation of the NRM after it has been officially adopted in 2010. The evaluation will show to what extent its implementation respects the rights of the victims and how efficient are the protective measures in Bulgaria.
A guiding document for the evaluation will be the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
The monitoring and evaluation process will give information as to whether: the measures and services offered to trafficked persons comply with the criteria and standards stipulated in the NRM; measures and services correspond to the standard operating procedures designated in the NRM; the main principles contained in the NRM are respected in the process of work with trafficking victims; victims’ rights and interests are respected by the institutions involved in the protection of survivors; are any amendments to the NRM or national legislation necessary so as to ensure more effective support for the survivors;
Indicators will be developed to evaluate the implementation of the NRM and questionnaires will be distributed to the main actors involved in the NRM. Workshop and Interviews in Bulgaria with relevant stakeholders will be conducted. Case studies and interviews with trafficked persons who were supported through services outlined in the NRM will add valuable information to the evaluation. Evaluation report and recommendations on the implementation of the NRM will be prepared.
3. Increased prevention of THB – Implementation of a prevention campaign in Bulgaria relevant to the contemporary forms of trafficking, to empower potential (labor) migrants to make independent and informed decisions about the opportunities to find a better life in another country.
The prevention campaign will be developed on 2 levels:
I – By increasing general awareness on the issue of trafficking as related to migration and labor migration and by debating on the push and pull factors in countries of destination and origin; at this level, the campaign will target the general public by out-door materials and the media;
II – By lowering the risk of trafficking and exploitation among specific vulnerable groups – young people, children and at-risk youngsters; unemployed women, women working illegally abroad, women and girls from the Roma community, etc.– these groups will be targeted by tailor-made messages and in-door prevention materials; a 24-hour hot-line will also be available.
4. Improved immediate support to VoT – ANIMUS will build the capacity of Animus Rehabilitation Centre to function as a Transit Centre in Sofia as a first referral point for trafficked persons. The Transit Centre will provide immediate and unconditional (regardless of the cooperation of victims with the authorities) help for trafficked persons after their identification and return to Bulgaria. Concrete measures will be proposed, through which existing anti-trafficking policies and protective measures for trafficked persons can be implemented effectively during the first phase of their reintegration and according to the human-rights principles. Special focus will be given to the implementation of the measures included in National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking – crisis intervention, risk assessment, needs assessment, reflection period, informing the victims on their rights, safe referral, etc.