In 2021 La Strada International actively monitored and promoted the effective implementation of European Anti-Trafficking policies and the legislative and operational framework. This work is done to ensure better protection of trafficked person’s rights in Europe. The NGO Platform membership was extended and cooperation among members was strengthened via cooperation on advocacy, research, projects and referral of cases. Although the final figures of assisted persons are not known yet and COVID-19 restrictions have been ongoing – it is clear that several thousand persons have been assisted by LSI’s members in 2021, through helpline and social support services, including counselling, legal support and other assistance. Many more victims and vulnerable groups were reached through awareness and outreach programmes.
The secretariat and board ensured exchange and knowledge building between the members and external actors, through regular email updates and policy exchange; monthly online member exchange meetings, as well and webinars and joint (advocacy) actions, including related to new proposed legal and policy measures. On 15 September 2021, La Strada finished its 25th anniversary year social media campaign with a Public Debate in Amsterdam and the launch of a timeline video.
As for building evidence, La Strada International and members worked on data collection, monitoring and various research projects. Desk research has been conducted by the international secretariat on posted care workers in the Netherlands (Postcare Project); the (legal and practical) situation of Asian exploited migrants in Poland, Czech Republic and Romania in the framework of the Disrupt & Restore programme (Protecting Asian Trafficking Victims in Europe) and in the framework of Hidden at Work a desk research was conducted related to legal provisions for (undocumented) migrant women in hidden and exploitative situations.
For the second year, La Strada International also cooperated with Oxford (180) Development Consultancy to collect and analyse data of LSI’s members. The Platform also supported research projects of members, for example LEFO IBF’s work on promoting access to residence, as well as research of external partners.
Data collection and research
Data collection and research was aligned with ongoing advocacy work. For example LSI submitted contributions for the evaluation of the EU Victims’ Rights Directive and EU anti-Trafficking Directive, and the new initiative for a legislative framework on violence against women. LSI also contributed to the development of the planned new CoE Recommendation on trafficking for labour exploitation, to be adopted mid-2022 and provided input for the Global Action plan against trafficking in persons. It also promoted the new UN Review Mechanism among partners and encouraged for more cooperation with civil society.
Working together with GRETA
Together with the GRETA secretariat LSI organised a side event on June 4th for the members of the Committee of the Parties which focussed on the importance of improved access to residence for victims of trafficking and on 16th of June, La Strada International organised a side event during the 21st Alliance against Trafficking in Persons (OSCE) Conference, focusing on ‘criminalizing the knowingly use of services, which are the object of exploitation on trafficked persons and related vulnerable groups. La Strada International provided further input for the report of UN Special Rapporteurs on the issue on ‘The Role of Organised Criminal Groups with regard to Contemporary Forms of Slavery’ and on the ‘non-punishment provision’.
A total of 41 network meetings were conducted by La Strada International in 2021 and a total of around 50 online European events have been attended related with advocacy and promotion of trafficked persons’ rights.
See here some examples of LSI’s advocacy in 2021
- Joint statement on International Domestic Workers Day (16 June 2021)
- LSI Statement for new Global Action Plan (13 July 2021)
- LSI Statement for Global Day against Trafficking (30 July 2021)
- Joint statement demanding an end to the repression against human rights defenders in Belarus (26 July 2021)
- LSI’s submission for the evaluation roadmap on “Fighting human trafficking – review of EU rules”. (16 September 2021)
- LSI statement for 18 October, European day against Trafficking in Human Beings.