2022 was a challenging year. The war in Ukraine not only heavily impacted the situation and the populiation in Ukraine and led to large groups fleeing the country; it also has had strong impact on the countries hosting all these refugees, including civil society actors, trying to contribute to assisting them.
Much work of the LSI secretariat and members was devoted last year to the war In Ukraine and the support for our member organisation in Ukraine, next to support by LSI members for refugees from this country. Our members published materials and information, supported refugees and reached out to them via social media. LSI hotlines numbers were shared broadly via numerous channels and campaigns.
At LSI, we daily monitored the situation through regular consutations and LSI also joined two UN task forces on Ukraine in relation to the prevention of human trafficking and gender based violence. We spoke with over 70 journalists and provided numerous consultations, especially also after conducting a rapid risk assessment for the Freedom Fund, sounding alarm about trafficking risks among these refugees. Another consultancy for HEUNI on the situation in Ukraine and Poland is still ongoing.
But the situation in Ukraine, was not the only issue that occupied us in 2022, as core work of LSI and its members continued. Next to monitoring the situation of Ukrainians in Europe and the implementation of the temporary protection directive and EU’s action plan on Ukraine, we monitored new EU legislation and contributed to consultations including for the revisions of the EU Directives on Human Trafficking, Victim Rights, the EC’s proposal for a Directive on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, as well as the EC proposal for a Directive for Corporate Social Responsibility and the proposal for a forced labour ban, often with larger consortia and via joint campaigns.
LSI also observed the CEDAW and GRETA elections in 2022 and observed the development of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Trafficking for Labour Exploitation, next to the UN TOC Review Process by States. Just before the year ended, La Strada International appealed with (legal) support of Prakken D’Olivera and Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), after the Dutch Public Prosecution dismissed an earlier complaint against two Dutch shipbuilding firms for making use of exploitative labour of North Korean workers at Polish shipyards.
La Strada International was furhter engaged in the implementation of several international counter trafficking (research) projects, including on posted workers in Europe (Postcare); on preventing labour and sexual exploitation and harrassment among female workers (Hidden at Work) and on protecting Asian trafficking Victims in Europe. For this project LSI published research and a related policy paper.
Next to these projects La Strada International coordinated different networks and consortia and contributed to ERA trainings on demand and compensation. Staff of our secretariat spoke at 44 international events, while we attended a total of 81 international events, still mostly online. The secretariat organised 13 public events and exchanges including with ILO, the Council of Europe and UNODC, including four webinars on the situation in Ukraine.
Next to organising study visits and (NGO) exchange events in Poland and Belgium and LSI’s annual members meeting in Finland, a study visit was organised to Italy, to learn more about the situation there, including about Dublin returns of trafficked persons and assistance to these persons. At the end of the year, LSI also hosted a visit by a Macedonian delegation in the Netherlands, who visited Dutch organisations to learn more about available shelter support.