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Society’s "Shelter "Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia

A support project for prevention of human trafficking, implemented for two and a half years, comes to an end

16.12.2015. The project “Support Programme of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” Operation for Prevention of Human Trafficking in Latviaˮ, which was implemented since July 2013, comes to an end in December. The purpose of this project was to increase the role of the society in implementation of human trafficking prevention activities on the national level, by increasing the institutional capacity of the society and ensuring support activities for its operation. As the target group the project involved non-governmental organizations, representatives of public administration and local authorities who are dealing with human trafficking issues, members, workers and volunteers of “Shelter “Safe House””, as well as inhabitants of Latvia.

Within the framework of the project, in 2013, there has been established and started its operation the first Latvian 24/7 Helpline (+371) 28612120 for prevention of human trafficking. From August 2013 to December 2015, the Helpline has been used by inhabitants in total 471 times. Most often inhabitants have been interested about sham marriages and safe employment abroad. In order to ensure the basis for quality service and promote recognition of the Helpline, in 2014, the society “Shelter “Safe House”” has organized training of the Helpline specialists, and in cooperation with a socially responsible company www.irdarbs.lv has developed visual materials – informative banners and posters, which were distributed in 28 branches of the State Employment Agency and sent to more than 600 schools in Latvia, 46 youth and children education centres, as well as published on the society homepage http://www.draugiem.lv/www.patverums-dm.lv/ and homepages of cooperation partners. In 2015, a cooperation agreement with the Latvian Hostel Association was concluded, and the information about human trafficking and the Helpline was distributed in hostels in Riga and across the whole Latvia.

In order to ensure quality service provided by the Helpline operators, in-depth training was organized, where the necessary knowledge was acquired and improved by workers of the society and volunteers of the society, who participate in ensuring of activities. Within the project specialists and leading workers of the society also had an opportunity to attend monthly supervisions and receive advisory support concerning issues related to their professional operation. Also two workshops on qualitative involvement in decision- and policy-making processes, as well as development of the public image of organization have taken place. By using the society homepage, involving the organization brivpratigais.lv, using eLPA News page, and by publishing activities of the society in mass media, involvement of volunteers in the organization was promoted.

Aimed to develop interinstitutional cooperation for prevention of human trafficking, providing the risk groups more frequently subjected to human trafficking with preventive measures, and putting special emphasis on regions, in the NGO coalition platform for prevention of human trafficking, which was established in December 2013, 12 organizations joint together: ”Shelter ”Safe House””, ”Latvian Association of SOS Children`s Villages”, “Structural unit of ”Social Service Agency” Family Crisis Centre ”Mīlgrāvis”, “Samaritan Association of Latvia” Crisis Centre for Children and Women ”Māras centrs”, ”Crisis Centre of Talsi Region”, ”Baltic Regional Fund”, “For Vidzeme Free of Human Trafficking”, “National Council of Irish Latvians”, ”Crisis Centre for Families and Children ”Paspārne””, foundation ”Centre Valdardze” , Family Support Centre-Shelter of Daugavpils City Council and ”Salvation Army”.

Also an active work has been done within the project for education of youth on human trafficking – a lesson plan for the informal education method “Forumteātrisˮ (“Forum Theatreˮ) has been developed in 2014, which has been used in 2015 for education of students on the issue of human trafficking. In total 15 such lessons have been organized, informing 655 young people all around Latvia about human trafficking.

The team of “Shelter “Safe Houseˮˮ professionals indicates that the work on prevention of human trafficking doesn`t stop and is continued in such projects as “Improved Anti-Human Trafficking Solutions: Baltic-Russian Cooperation Networkˮ and “Preventing Human Trafficking and Sham Marriages: A Multidisciplinary Solutionˮ (HESTIA).

The project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

More information: Rasa Salina, NGO "Shelter "Safe House"", PR Specialist, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

New Volunteers Welcome!

25.09.2015. Hey! If you wish to protect people around you and work towards erradicating trafficking in human beings – this is the time to join „Patvērums „Drošā māja”” („Shelter „Safe House””) volunteers!

What will we do?

- Learn about human trafficking

- Try out theatre of the oppressed methods

- Take part in seminars in schools

- Lead seminars ourselves

How will you benefit?

- Improve language skills

- Develop presentation skills

- Learn to moderate a creative process

- Gain knowledge on safety abroad

- Find new friends

+ a chance to share your ideas and implement them.

 How to apply?

E-mail Reinis Grāvītis, the volunteers organizer to drosa.maja@gmail.com stating “Volunteering” in the subject box. 

The activities are implemented in the project"Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia". The project is funded by the EEA financial instrument and the Latvian state.

 

Topical Issues in the Field of Prevention of Human Trafficking Have Been Announced Within the Framework of Event

28.08.2015. On 7 August of this year, ”Shelter ”Safe House”” organised an informative event attended by employees, friends and cooperation partners of the society, as well as partner organisations of the NGO coalition platform for prevention of human trafficking. This event was aimed to inform about achievements of the society in the field of prevention of human trafficking, introduce participants with impressions of the lawyer of ”Shelter ”Safe House”” and the operator of 24/7 Helpline for prevention of human trafficking Gita Miruškina, after receiving the Hero Prize 2015 in USA, and to inform about new members joining the coalition.

It was announced to the participants of the event that starting from year 2007 the team of professionals of the society has implemented the following activities: ensured assistance for 113 victims of human trafficking; organised extensive public awareness campaigns (from 2009 such activities have been implemented each year – 8 in total); in 2013, has created and has maintained up to this moment the first 24/7 Helpline 28612120 in Latvia for prevention of human trafficking. Over a two-year period, operators of the helpline have provided consultations 409 times – most frequently on cases of marriages of convenience. During the seven months of this year, 116 people have requested assistance with mediation of the Helpline.

In the framework of the event the head of the society ”Shelter ”Safe House”” Sandra Zalcmane welcomed the new members of the NGO coalition for prevention of human trafficking – ”Crisis Centre for Families and Children ”Paspārne”” (Ventspils), foundation ”Centre Valdardze” (Valmiera), Family Support Centre-Shelter of Daugavpils City Council (Daugavpils) and ”Salvation Army” (Riga).

”For identification of human trafficking as a social problem and providing assistance to victims of human trafficking special knowledge is required, regular acquisition of which ensures accessibility of qualitative service. Therefore, it is significant that today four new organizations join the coalition, thereby extending the number of those organizations – already 12 – which will continue acquiring knowledge on the issue of human trafficking in order to ensure professional assistance to victims of this offence all around Latvia,” indicated S. Zalcmane.

In December 2013, 6 organizations joined together forming the NGO coalition platform for prevention of human trafficking, aimed to develop inter-institutional cooperation for prevention of human trafficking through ensuring preventive measures for risk groups more frequently exposed to human trafficking, paying special attention to regions. ”Shelter ”Safe House””, ”Latvian Association of SOS Children`s Villages”, structural unit of ”Social Service Agency” Family Crisis Centre ”Mīlgrāvis”, ”Samaritan Association of Latvia”, Crisis Centre for Children and Women ”Māras centrs”, ”Crisis Centre of Talsi Region”, ”Baltic Regional Fund”. In August 2014, these organisations were joined by the society ”For Vidzeme Free of Human Trafficking” registered in Madona region, and in October – by the society ”National Council of Irish Latvians”.

The project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

More information: Rasa Salina, NGO "Shelter "Safe House"", PR Specialist, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

On August 7 "Shelter "Safe House"" welcomes to an info-event!

31.07.2015. On August 7, 2015 at 3 pm, the „Shelter „Safe House”” welcomes their employees, friends and partners to an informative event at the bureau premises – Lacplesa (Lāčplēša) Street 75-1, Riga.

Topics of the event:

- It is the 8th anniversary of the founding of the Society – what are the accomplishements this far and the successes in diminishing human trafficking?

- Reception of the Hero’s Award 2015 in USA – impressions of the lawyer Gita Miruskina (Gita Miruškina) of her 12 day visit in Washington;

- 4 new organisations have joined the NGO coalition platform for diminishing humant trafficing – “Crisis centre for families with children “Paspārne”, foundation “Centrs Valdardze”, Daugavpils City Council Family support centre-shelter, and the Salvation Army in Latvia.

The project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

More information: Rasa Salina, NGO "Shelter "Safe House"", PR Specialist, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

Secretary Kerry to Host 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony and Honor Latvian Lawyer and an operator of a Helpline for prevention of human trafficking Gita Miruškina as a Hero

10.07.2015. Secretary of State John F. Kerry will release the 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at 10:00 a.m. on July 27, 2015, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.  Secretary Kerry will also honor this year’s TIP Report Heroes, which include Latvia’s Gita Miruškina, a lawyer at NGO Shelter Safe House.

Ms. Miruškina is one of just eight men and women chosen worldwide for the award, which recognizes the tireless efforts they have made in the global fight against modern slavery.   Ms. Miruškina has dedicated her life to assisting victims of human trafficking and enhancing the legal understanding of trafficking in persons in Latvia and the European Union.  She is the first Latvian to be named a TIP Report Hero by the U.S. Secretary of State.

Ms. Miruškina also has been instrumental in alerting the EU to the issue of “sham marriages” – brokered marriages between EU passport-holders and third-country nationals. These marriages are arranged so that the latter can become eligible for immigration benefits – a practice that often leads to sex and labor trafficking, especially of women from Eastern Europe.

In the past six years, Ms. Miruškina has assisted more than 150 trafficking victims and acted as their legal representative in nearly 30 trials, including Latvia’s first labor trafficking trial, a landmark case that is still ongoing. She is also one of the operators of the 24/7 Helpline for Prevention of Human Trafficking (+371) 28612120*. Gita provides consultations daily regarding issues connected with trafficking in human beings. In the first half of 2015 helpline operators gave given 107 consultations in comparison to 220 throughout 2014. Mostly advice is given in cases of fictitious marriage.

As required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the U.S. Department of State’s TIP Report assesses government efforts around the world to combat modern slavery.  This year`s report, the 15th installment, includes narratives for 188 countries and territories, including the United States.  This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the TVPA.

*Helpline for Prevention of Human Trafficking has been established within the framework of the project “Society`s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia”, which has been implemented by the society since 2013. The project is funded by the EEA financial instrument and the Latvian state. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

More information: Rasa Salina, NGO "Shelter "Safe House"", PR Specialist, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

Helpline operator: most often callers have contacted the helpline about sham marriage and employment issues

22.05.2015. This year the helpline 28612120 for prevention of human trafficking of the society "Shelter "Safe house"" has already received 83 calls. During the time period from January to late April people have most often wanted to receive information on sham marriage andworking safely abroad.

Helpline operator Gita Miruškina tells: "Being a helpline operator has showed me that 24 hour helpline is useful for people wishing to call us, contact us and report a potential case of human trafficking or share their own experience. It is one of the most accessible and easiest ways to report such crime, a violation of human rights and for us to get involved in order to help the caller. Most frequently callers still contact the helpline to receive information on sham marriage". She says that as the summer approaches a number of callers contact the helpline to get information on employment issues since people plan to work abroad and want to stay safe and secure abroad ".

During the 12 months of last year the 24 hour helpline specialists of the society have received 220 calls. Most frequently, callers wanted to receive information on different issues related to human trafficking risks (140 times). Also received: callers wanting information on fictitious marriage or its prevention and reporting cases of sham marriage (63 times); callers wanting information on forced labour or violations of employment rights and reporting cases thereof (14 times); and callers wanting information on sexual exploitation (3 times)

Information on the helpline is available also at 28 NVA branches. It has also been distributed to 600 schools in Latvia and 46 youth and children education centres, as well as posted on the society’s page on the website www.draugiem.lv http://www.draugiem.lv/www.patverums-dm.lv/ and on cooperation partners’ websites.

The project “Action support programme of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” to reduce human trafficking in Latvia” is funded by the EEA financial instrument and the Latvian state. It has been implemented since July 2013 and several activities to reduce the problem of human trafficking are taking place within it. Members, workers, volunteers of the “Shelter “Safe House””, as well as other non-governmental organisations are involved in the project as a target group.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

Avoid the Shackles of Human Trafficking

10.04.2015. Shock. Fear. Realization that what you just saw is not theatrical fiction but instead reality surrounding us. That is how informative trailer on human trafficking made many young people feel after attending it. It was brought to Jelgava Societal Integration Authority by representatives of the society “Shelter “Safe House”” in order to play it out in a forum theatre and learn to prevent slavery with participants of the event.

A young girl from Talsi loses her apartment she took a loan for and desperate as she is she agrees to sham marriage with a promised to receive 1500 euro for the marriage and 150 euro more per each consecutive month. However, as soon as she arrives at the respective country she is enslaved and forced to provide sexual services. Whereas Vitalijs falls for an advertisement of a job at an orange plantation in France for 8 euros an hour. But instead his passport is taken away from him and he is enslaved and living on bread and oranges.

Horror of the trailer

These are only some of the situations based on real life experience played out by participants of the forum theatre – all people present at the event. Instructor Reinis Gravitis (Reinis Grāvītis) explains that it is a method of informal education that creates safe environment to play out various instances of human trafficking and correct the mistakes made right away. Which helps learning the right behaviour model as well as recognizing wrong, unsafe and even illegal conduct.

The informative trailer that event organizers bring with them is also full of various objects and impressions. It shows things such as a shabby mattress, wedding gowns hanging next to it, a primitive sink, scanty food, a map of roads of human trafficking winding like a red thread, photos of faces worn out by violence and drugs as well as a cut “bloody” mannequin warning of the threat of organ removal.

“I had an impression about human trafficking but it does not look so horrific on TV. I am shocked that people get into those kinds of situations. I believe that it is an issue of today`s society because [people] especially young girls are enslaved very often,” says Natalija Sirotkina (Natālja Sirotkina) participating at the event.

Trade on unfulfilled needs

Society “Shelter “Safe House”” that helps victims of human trafficking informs that the current form of slavery is an international issue that involves almost all countries around the world through receiving or sending the people sold. Women and girls are mostly used for forced labour and sexual exploitation by force, threats, fraud or under duress. 

Recruiters who normally expand their operation by trying to embrace the widest possible circle of the potential victims justify it with basic human needs: daily bread, safety, belonging, respect. Therefore, the offer, which includes satisfaction of such needs, becomes so important that the assessment of risks is no longer possible.

Forum theatre classes were held in February in Madona and Olaine and on April 8 they will take place in Saldus Municipality at Ciecere Elementary Boarding School.

This activity was organized under the project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" financed by by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

 

A cycle of forum theatre lessons on human trafficking started in Latvia

26.02.2015. About 100 interested persons from schools of Madona, youth centres of Kusa and Prauliena attended the first of 15 forum theatre classes on 18 February in Madona, in the Multifunctional Youth Centre KUBS. Young people, teachers and youth workers have practically acted out the process of human trafficking, having become aware of the risks related to trafficking and having developed skills to keep themselves safe.

Reinis Grāvītis, one of trainers from “Shelter “Safe House””, explains that the forum theatre is a method of non-formal education. It creates a safe environment, where we can act out different situations and make mistakes to correct them immediately. “During the class one can master the model of correct behaviour and develop skills to recognise incorrect, unsafe and even illegal actions”. 

Photo gallery 

“Since a training on such a topic for youths of the Madona Municipality was organised for the first time, they showed a lot of interest, and teachers and youth workers provided support. 2.5 hours passed by unnoticed – in active listening, involvement into group work, viewing the Anti-Trafficking Infotrailer*, staging and acting out the given situations in dramas, analysing specific cases and talking over what can be done to prevent such situations. I am truly happy that the forum theatre class could take place in our town – Madona,” tells Nadja Niedrīte, the head of the Multifunctional Youth Centre KUBS.

She tells that part of young people stayed after the lesson to talk to young people from “Shelter “Safe House””.

To the question “What have you gained from participating in the forum theatre class”, young people replied:

“Improvement of acting skills and insight into the topic of human trafficking. It was very valuable to hear and participate!” thinks Tomass.

Lorita obtained knowledge about forms of human trafficking, which she had not previously linked to human trafficking in her mind. “I learned many real-world examples which I can share and I can stimulate people to be more attentive when they choose their workplace in a foreign country, and, in fact, here, in Latvia as well. I obtained information on safe search of a workplace and a place to live. There were valuable, substantial discussions, and answers to questions, which I wouldn’t consider to ask.”

“I learned more about the way human trafficking happens. I found out that anyone can become a victim of human trafficking and it is easy to become one even if you are just a little bit inattentive,” thinks Linda.

“During the lesson I learned that before I put my signature under any document, I need to make sure, clarify things, meet people etc. to feel safe about my choice of work!” Kristiāna shares her impressions.

The next forum theatre classes are planned on 25 February in Olaine and on 8 April in Saldus.

In 2015, the plan is to make at least 400 young people all over Latvia to become aware of the human trafficking problem, using the forum theatre method prepared by volunteers of the NGO.

*The exposition in the Anti-Trafficking Infotrailer reflects several forms of human trafficking, which are most common for Latvian citizens and around the world. Thus, young people are provided with the possibility to obtain visual information to provide them insight into the scale of the phenomena. 

The project “Action support programme of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” to reduce human trafficking in Latvia” is funded by the EEA financial instrument and the Latvian state. It has been implemented since July 2013 and several activities to reduce the problem of human trafficking are taking place within it. Members, workers, volunteers of the “Shelter “Safe House””, as well as other non-governmental organisations are involved in the project as a target group.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

The Society`s Representative Gives Current Information at the Commission of Human Rights and Public Affairs

21.01.2015. On 21 January 2015, a meeting with the representatives of the public and the non-governmental sector, including the Society “Shelter “Safe House””, was held in the boardroom of the Commission of Human Rights and Public Affairs with the aim to gain information about human trafficking tendencies in Latvia and the enforced and planned measures for its prevention. 

The representative of the Ministry of the Interior Lāsma Stabiņa pointed out that, in relation to seven people from those who have suffered from human trafficking and all of whom are women, criminal proceedings have been initiated against fourteen people, three of which are citizens of Pakistan and eleven are citizens of the Republic of Latvia. She also informed that, for the most part, human trafficking takes place from Latvia to Great Britain and Ireland, both of which, at the moment, are actively working on changes in legislation in order to reduce the number of human trafficking victims. The participants of the meeting noted that the improved legal norms of the Criminal Law is a positive factor in the prevention of human trafficking, which broadens the range of those people to whom criminal prosecution shall apply with regard to human trafficking.

The society`s representative Gita Miruškina informed the deputies that, in 2014, the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” rendered social rehabilitation services to thirty-eight people - eight men and thirty women.

“During the previous year, the society`s specialists received 220 phone calls to the 24-hour Helpline* for the Reduction of Human Trafficking (+371) 28612120, which has been established within the framework of the project “Society`s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia”*, which has been implemented by the society since 2013. Most frequently, callers wanted to receive information on different human trafficking risk related issues (140 times). Also received: callers wanting information on fictitious marriage or its prevention and reporting cases of ficticious marriage (63 times); callers wanting information on forced labour or violations of employment rights and reporting cases thereof (14 times); and callers wanting information on sexual exploitation (3 times),” says G. Miruškina.

“The performance of the helpline has proven that regular prevention yields good results. For instance, in 153 cases from the 220 that have been brought to the attention of the helpline operators, the person calling had been the actual interested person or their relative, friend or acquaintance, which means that the comprehension level of the society about HT risks rises.” 

During the meeting, the participants also emphasized that more attention should be paid to preventive measures, including educating society and young people, and that the legal proceedings related to the cases of human trafficking should be litigated faster.

*The project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

 

Society to Close Year Presenting the Work Done to Reduce Human Trafficking

28.12.2014. On December 19 Society “Shelter “Safe House”” organized an informative interactive event for its partners and members of NGO coalition platform established last year to reduce human trafficking. The meeting was aimed at introducing to the new coalition members and informing about activities towards reducing human trafficking including operation of the hotline in 2014.

Photo Gallery

This year the coalition platform that unites organizations such as "SOS Children’s Villages Latvia", department of "Social Service Agency" – family crisis centre "Mīlgrāvis", "Latvian Samaritan association" crisis centre for children and women "Māras centrs", "Talsi district crisis centre", "Baltic Regional Fund", “Shelter “Safe House”” was joined by 2 organizations that believe that cooperation is critical in solving these issues.

Asked about the motivation to join the coalition Arturs Vaisla (Arturs Vaišļa), Board Member of For Human Trafficking Free Vidzeme pointed out the need to work more actively on reducing human trafficking and join efforts in regions.

Whereas Laima Ozola, Board Member of the National Council of Irish Latvians told at a specially organized video conference that she believes organizations should cooperate in preventive work by disseminating informative materials and organizing joint campaigns in Ireland. “The great number of sham marriages concluded in Ireland among third-country nationals and Latvian nationals is alarming. Therefore, it is important to cooperate and inform people so they could avoid human trafficking and its immense harm.”

In the first 11 months of 2014 the society supplied social rehabilitation services to 32 people: 4 men and 28 women of whom 12 were included in the programme in 2013 and 20 – in 2014. 20 people were victims of sham marriages, 9 were subject to forced labour, and 1 – sexual abuse.

Sandra Zalcmane, Head of “Society “Safe House”” shared her observations that this year men subject to forced labour abroad mostly exploited in construction, agriculture and through other hard work began seeking help from the society. She pointed out that compared to last year the portrait of a person engaged in a sham marriage is different this year: “Last year it was a woman aged 25 or less from a small town with high school education, having one or two children born out of wedlock – a single mother whereas now the victim is about 28 year old woman and the victim’s age tends to increase.”

Between January and November 2014 representatives of society have received 191 calls to the human trafficking hotline 28612120.

According to Gita Miruskina (Gita Miruškina) the majority of callers – 121 wanted to get particular information often unrelated to human trafficking. For instance, some callers wanted to know about safe job seeking, labour dispute resolution, however, many questions were also asked about sham marriages and their consequences. Many calls were from people worried about their family members working abroad who they hadn’t heard from for a while.

Representatives of the society pointed out that active work is being done on raising awareness of the hotline. In the course of this year “Shelter “Safe House”” has organized training for hotline experts and cooperated with socially responsible organization www.irdarbs.lv in developing visual material: informative banners and posters placed at 28 NVA offices and sent out to over 600 schools in Latvia, 46 youth and children’s education centres.

People present at the meeting were introduced to the experience of society’s foreign partners in raising awareness of the hotline. Activities by organizations such as NL Confidential (the Netherlands), Living for Tomorrow (Estonia), La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery were given as examples of good practice.

The project "Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

 

On December 19 “Shelter “ Safe House”” will hold and info-event for partner organisations

15.12.2014. NGO "Shelter "Safe House"" is organizing an informative interactive event and hereby would like to invite its partner organizations to attend it on December 19 at 14:00 at the office on Lāčplēša Street 75-1.

Event topics:

- Introducing the new coalition members For Human Trafficking Free Vidzeme and the National Council of Irish Latvians;

- Practical experience of foreign partners NL Confidential (the Netherlands), Living for Tomorrow (Estonia), La Strada Foundation against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery in raising awareness of human trafficking hotline in society;

- Operation and tendencies of the human trafficking hotline in Latvia;

- Achievements of the organization in reducing human trafficking in 2014.

We kindly ask you to RSVP to the event by December 16 via email to rasa.salina@gmail.com. Phone for contacts: 29145314.

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.orgResponsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

 

The first presentation of the human trafficking simulation game has taken place

20.10.2014. On October 18 – on the Anti-Trafficking Day recognized in the European Union and Latvia – society “Shelter “Safe House”” together with its cooperation partners, supporters and volunteers went to Olaine to participate in the first publicly available simulation game on human trafficking, offered to Latvian pupils of grades 9 through 12 as of October 19 within the framework of the project “Multidisciplinary initiatives for prevention of human trafficking”*. 

Within the framework of this event, youth training on human trafficking was organized, during which partners of the society “Shelter “Safe House”” from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Welfare, the State Employment Agency, the Office of the Ombudsman and Olaine municipality, as well as media representatives had the opportunity to be the first ones to try out the game prepared by volunteers.  Each participant of the game had the opportunity to experience various stages of human trafficking and forms of exploitation. 

To draw attention to the problem of human trafficking and educate different groups of society, the society “Shelter “Safe House”” traditionally organizes preventive measures against human trafficking that continue from September 18 to October 18. This year, with the support of its partners, the society carried out a variety of informative activities during this month.

Expert training on prevention of human trafficking was organized in cooperation with the Department of Welfare of Riga City Council and Riga Public Policing fund. 

With the help of the socially responsible company “Philip Morris International”, the project “Sold Freedom 3” has been initiated, which is a sequential continuation of the information campaigns of the previous years. Within the framework of this project, the Informative trailer for prevention of human trafficking is continuing its operation with an updated exposition (author: Kaspars Ozoliņš).

Support by the Ministry of Education, the children and youth centres throughout the Latvia were informed of the problems of human trafficking and invited to place posters with the free Helpline** in the centres (+371) 28612120. The first free Helpline in Latvia was set up last year, offering everyone to receive information on the necessary actions in a particular situation and use it as one of the resources, if assistance is required in cases of human trafficking in Latvia or abroad. 

During the Anti-Trafficking month, the NGO coalition platform for prevention of human trafficking was joined by a new partner – society “Īrijas latviešu nacionālā padome” (National Council of Irish Latvians). This is the eighth non-governmental organization that has joined the coalition founded last year within the framework of the project “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia" to develop inter-institutional cooperation in reducing human trafficking, ensuring preventive measures to the groups most often subject to risk of human trafficking.

NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” is the only organization that has provided state-funded rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking and conducts regular prevention since 2007. In 2014, it provided social rehabilitation services to 30 people (3 men and 27 women), 12 of them were included in the national programme in 2013, and 18 – in 2014. 20 people have been victims of marriage of convenience, nine – victims of forced labour, one person – a victim of sexual exploitation. 

*The aim of the project “Multidisciplinary initiatives for prevention of human trafficking” started in September is to use innovative services to expand the support system for the victims of human trafficking, raise awareness of social workers and employees of the organizations of the national NGO coalition, as well as to create interactive preventive measures for the education of children and young people. The target group of the project are the victims of human trafficking, young people – as one of the major risk groups, people with disabilities, relatives, friends and acquaintances of the victims and potential victims, NGOs representing the rights and interests of the aforementioned groups, the members, staff and volunteers.

Project “Multidisciplinary initiatives for prevention of human trafficking” is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, co-financed by “Philip Morris International”.

**Project “Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia” is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

You can find more information on the EEA Grants programme “NVO fonds” here on the Latvian website of the EEA Grants: http://www.eeagrants.lv official website of the EEA Grants: http://www.eeagrants.org Society “Shelter “Safe House”” is responsible for the content of this publication.



NGO Coalition Welcomes a New Partner

11.08.2014. On August 8 “Shelter “Safe House”” signed a cooperation agreement with For Human Trafficking Free Vidzeme, society registered in Madona Municipality. This is the 7th Latvian NGO to join the NGO coalition established last year to improve cross-institutional cooperation in reducing human trafficking by ensuring preventive measures for the risk groups of human trafficking focusing on regions.

According to the agreement, the new partner of the coalition will join other member organizations* to work together for a common goal to reduce human trafficking by facilitating circulation of information about specific cases of human trafficking including collective planning of preventive measures for various target groups; establishing cooperation with public and municipal institutions; organizing local and international cooperation events, seminars, and conferences to exchange experience of working with various target groups with other organizations.

“Our organization was founded on April 4, 2014 and it is the first legal entity to unite people outside Rigaworking towards reducing human trafficking. Our activities mostly involve raising awareness in society and taking preventive measures in order to prevent human trafficking in Vidzeme. Hopefully, people will also unite in other regions and municipalities and work side by side. Our strength is in numbers! With this motto we join the coalition,” points out A. Vaisla (A. Vaišļa), Board Member of For Human Trafficking Free Vidzeme.

Project Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking inLatvia** is being implemented since July 2013 and offers various measures to reduce human trafficking. Target group of the project includes “Shelter ”Safe House”” members, employees, volunteers as well as other NGOs.

*"SOS Children’s Villages Latvia", department of "Social Service Agency" – family crisis centre "Mīlgrāvis", "Latvian Samaritan association" crisis centre for children and women "Māras centrs", "Talsi district crisis centre", "Baltic Regional Fund", „Shelter ”Safe House””.

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latviahttp://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

        

   

 

SEA branches will cooperate to reduce human trafficking

20.06.2014. In order to draw the attention of inhabitants in the process of searching and assessing the possibilities of potential work, within the framework of the project “Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia” informative posters with the Trust line for reduction of human trafficking have been installed in 28 branches of the State Employment Agency (SEA)* across Latvia as from the beginning of June.

“Over several years, the society has established successful cooperation with the State Employment Agency, implementing preventive measures aimed at reducing the problem of human trafficking. We hope that the new target group covered by the project – seekers of seasonal work in Latvia or abroad – will use the possibility of consulting with the operators of the Trust line and, thus, protect themselves from unpleasant surprises”, as noted by Sandra Zalcmane, head of the society “Shelter “Safe House””.

The first free Trust line in Latvia (+371) 28612120 was created last year, in order for everyone interested to be able to receive information on the necessary actions in a particular situation and use it as one of the resources, if assistance is required in cases of human trafficking in Latvia or abroad. This year, inhabitants used this phone line 113 times. Most often, people applied for consultations to receive general information about human trafficking – to find out what human trafficking is and how to recognize its forms – fictitious marriage, forced labour and sexual exploitation. Inhabitants used telephone consultations as a preventive resource, in order for both the callers themselves and their relatives not to end up in a situation related to human trafficking.

Inese Kalvāne, SEA Director: “Job seekers must be well-informed, in order for the job search to be safe. We always pay great attention to informing and warning of job seekers about potential risks both abroad and in Latvia. Thus, for instance, free consultations about possibilities of employment and studies, as well as living and working conditions in European countries are provided to all the interested by our EURES consultants; SEA carrier consultants ensure great assistance in issues related to safe job search as well. While cooperating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we regularly publish and distribute informative materials about the things you have to know when searching or finding a job abroad. Our cooperation with non-governmental organizations is of great importance as well. I am gratified that by cooperating with the society “Shelter “Safe House”” and installing posters with the Trust line for reducing human trafficking in SEA branches we will be able to vividly draw the attention of our clients to such dangerous phenomenon as human trafficking. I would like to remind once again that job seekers have to be well-informed; you cannot rely only on promises of people providing employment; all mutual liabilities have to be documented; all documents offered for signing have to be carefully read, and it is necessary to know where to apply for help in case of difficulties.”

Aiming at promoting the informing of the society about human trafficking, a socially responsible employment portal www.irdarbs.lv has participated in the activities by ensuring the design development and printing of Trust line posters.

*SEA branches are located in Aizkraukle, Alūksne, Balvi, Bauska, Cēsis, Daugavpils, Dobele, Gulbene, Jēkabpils, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Krāslava, Kuldīga, Liepāja, Limbaži, Ludza, Madona, Ogre, Preiļi, Rēzekne, Rīga, Saldus, Sigulda, Talsi, Tukuma, Valka, Valmiera, Ventspils.

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

A hotline is the fastest way to get information from speciallists

20.03.2014. In August last year, within the framework of the project “Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia the first Trust line in Latvia (+371) 28612120 was launched. The phone line has been created in order for everyone interested to be able to receive information on the necessary actions in a particular situation and use it as one of the resources, if assistance is required in cases of human trafficking in Latvia or abroad.

In order to ensure the basis for the creation of a qualitative service, the operators of this phone line regularly undergo practical training, within the framework of which four operators of this phone line and volunteers obtain and supplement their knowledge. In the course of this practical training, the particular situations that are encountered in everyday work, when resolving different social cases, are analysed and the actions of the operators in the communication between the consultant and the client are played. The trained operators provide consultations by phone and help the caller to assess whether there is a risk of human trafficking in a particular situation when going abroad to work, to study or for some other reason; inform about necessary precautionary measures, forms of human trafficking, available services and responsible institutions not only in Latvia, but also in other countries (Ireland, Cyprus, Great Britain, etc.) in which the greatest number of the victims of human trafficking from Latvia has been recorded.

Gita Miruškina, one of the telephone operators of the society’s “Shelter “Safe House””, tells about the main questions inhabitants ask when calling the Trust line.

“Since the Trust line is the fastest way to get the information from the specialists, inhabitants are willingly using this opportunity. In most of the cases people ask for advice how to behave in a situation, if they think that they have ended up in a situation resembling human trafficking. Even though the employment rights and all the issues related thereto are resolved by the State Labour Inspectorate, people still call the Trust line to get specialists’ consultations on this topic.

The inhabitants use the Trust line also to get general information about human trafficking – what human trafficking is, how to recognize it and where to apply for assistance.  It is to be said that during the operation of the line we received calls from the persons who were looking for lost relatives, friends, etc. It is important for people to feel heard, listened to and understood, because it often gives them the strength to find a way out from the existing crisis,” G.Miruškina points out.

Over 12 months of the last year, society’s specialists assisted 33 victims of human trafficking – 32 women and one man. 19 persons suffered from a fictitious marriage, eight – from forced labour and six – from sexual exploitation. Most of the victims were from Vidzeme – 15, from Zemgale – seven, from Kurzeme – six, from Riga – four and one from Latgale. The consultations at the society were requested in total 162 times. Of them, most of the cases – 79 – were related to fictitious marriage, 17 – to forced labour, two – to sexual exploitation, while explanatory information was provided 64 times. In most of the cases inhabitants wanted to receive information electronically and by phone. 20 out of 162 consultations were provided in person. The society received the information about the cases of human trafficking from the embassies of Latvia 31 times; other person or organisation reported in 43 cases, while the person him- or herself applied for help in 88 cases.

From August to September 2013 the inhabitants used the Trust line 73 times.

„Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia” has been implemented since July 5, 2013 and it will continue until December 31, 2015, by using the grant (46 666 EUR) assigned by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway via EEA financial mechanism and Society`s co-financing. 

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

„Shelter ”Safe House”: NGOs unite in a coalition to prevent human trafficking

17.12.2013. On the initiative of society "Shelter "Safe House"", which is the only organization in Latvia providing state-funded rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking, Latvian NGOs – "Shelter "Safe House"", "SOS Children’s Villages Latvia", department of "Social Service Agency" – family crisis centre "Mīlgrāvis", "Latvian Samaritan association" crisis centre for children and women "Māras centrs", "Talsi district crisis centre", "Baltic Regional Fund" are starting a coalition. Its aim is to develop inter-institutional cooperation in preventing human trafficking by providing preventive measures for risk groups that most often are the objects of human trafficking, with particular emphasis on regions. 

During the course of 11 months, the Society has recorded 148 cases when people have turned for advice – 75 cases of marriage of convenience, 13 cases of forced labour, 1 case of sexual exploitation. Provision / receipt of information has been recorded 59 times. From January to November state-funded social rehabilitation services have been received by 30 victims of human trafficking already (last year`s figure for the whole year). 17 victims have suffered for marriage of convenience, 7 from forced labour, 6 – from sexual exploitation. In 2011 state-funded rehabilitation services were received by 11 persons, in 2010 - 9, in 2009 - 10, in 2008 - 7, and in 2007 by 2 persons.

"It is very important to continue the preventive work. This is one of the main tasks in preventing human trafficking. We have finished project "Sold Freedom 2" supported by "Philip Morris International" including a month-long anti human-trafficking campaign "Be Informed - prevent human trafficking"*. It is important that this work does not stop and the baton of ensuring preventive activities is passed on by involving new participants," says Sandra Zalcmane, head of the society "Shelter "Safe House"". 

As of this July „Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia”** is being implemented. Various activities for reducing the problem of human trafficking are implemented in the framework of this programme. Members and employees of "Shelter "Safe House"", volunteers and other non-governmental organizations are involved in the project as the target group.

One of the project`s activities is the first 24/7 helpline in Latvia (+371) 28612120 for prevention of human trafficking. The helpline was created in the framework of preventive campaign "Be informed - prevent human trafficking". By calling this line, people can get information on necessary actions in a particular situation related to human trafficking cases, as well as get advice from professionals. From August to November people have used this service 55 times. During 11 months Society`s advice via phone has been asked for 78 times, electronically - 51 times and in person 19 times. Most often people have inquired about the divorce of marriage of convenience, possible assistance, reported about the potential risks of human trafficking, cases of forced labour and recruitment. Statistics show that people were the most active to ask for consultations during the preventive campaign.

To ensure high-quality service, in September the phone operators received in-depth training, during which the knowledge was gained and developed both by Society`s employees and volunteers taking part in ensuring the implementation of activities. During the project, society`s specialists and managing workers had an opportunity of visiting monthly supervisions and receiving consultative support on the issues related to the professional activity. There have been two seminars on quality involvement in decision-making and policy-making processes and development of public image of the organization.

To spread the knowledge accumulated by the Society, the good practice in prevention of human trafficking, "Shelter "Safe House"" has become a member of "Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation" (LAPAS).

*Within the framework of preventive campaign "Be Informed - preventive human trafficking", from September 18 to October 18, Society`s Informational trailer and specialists visited 9 Latvian cities and municipalities - Riga, Liepaja, Eleja, Gulbene, Viesite, Daugavpils, Dagda, Ludza and Salacgriva, travelling more than 3000 km in total. More than 1000 of Latvian residents got acquainted with the information presented in the trailer, and 75 employees of local municipalities were trained in the seminars. During the monthly activities, journalist training was organized on reflection of human trafficking related topics in the media. In addition, 30 young people and leaders of organizations from 6 European countries - Latvia, Italy, Cyprus, Croatia, Portugal and Romania were educated on human trafficking related topics in the framework of the project "Choose Your Freedom 2". During the campaign people checked the information on human trafficking published in Society`s website and social networks about 15 000 times. The project was financially backed up by such socially responsible businesses as "Philip Morris International", which has been supporting anti human-trafficking activities for the fourth year, "TransferGo", "EuroAWK", Riga City Council and the Society Integration Foundation.

** „Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia” has been implemented since July 5, 2013 and it will continue until December 31, 2015, by using the grant (46 666 EUR) assigned by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway via EEA financial mechanism and Society`s co-financing. 

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””. 

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

Invitation to Media Breakfast

05.12.2013. The process of migration is one of the main aspects to facilitate human trafficking. Many Latvians are packing their suitcases to work abroad hopeful for the future. Unfortunately, for many it is the beginning of a number of failures and problems which makes them ask for assistance to come back home.

Assistance takes a long time and involves numerous institutions – public, municipal, non-governmental organizations in Latvia and abroad. In order to inform of the results of the preventive work achieved so far and to outline the future activities and coalition of NGOs for cooperation to reduce human trafficking 

NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” is organizing Media Breakfast – a discussion with media and partner organizations on December 17 at 10:00 – 11:30 at Cemodans restaurant, Gertrudes iela 39, Riga.

Topics for discussion at Media Breakfast:

- Sold Freedom 2 („Pārdota brīvība 2”) project including an informative campaign "Be Informed – Prevent Human Trafficking" from which took place on 18.09-18.10 is coming to a close; results achieved;

- Activities to reduce human trafficking are continuing, a new project Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia* is launched;

- The first hotline to reduce human trafficking in Latvia and its importance to the society, call statistics;

- NGOs unite in a coalition to improve effectiveness of preventive work to reduce human trafficking (signing cooperation agreements with NGO). 

Contacts for media representatives: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), tel.: 29145314, email: rasa.salina@gmail.com 

*The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government. Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here. Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv. Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv. Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””.

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

Activities to increase the capacity of the society’s workers were organized within the framework of the project

23.10.2013. In September and October, within the framework of the project Shelter “Safe House””Action the activities were organized by increasing the capacity of the organization, as well as providing new knowledge to the society’s members, workers and volunteers.

In September, the first Helpline for reduction of human trafficking in Latvia started to operate. By calling the 24-hour line (+371) 28612120, everyone can receive information on the necessary actions in a particular situation and use it as one of the resources, if assistance is required in cases of human trafficking in Latvia or abroad. In order to ensure the basis for the development of a qualitative service for helpline operators, both the society`s workers and the society’s volunteers were trained within a one-day practical introduction seminar.

In the course of this seminar, the situations that are encountered in everyday work, when resolving different social cases, were analysed and an operators’ action model which would facilitate the communication between the consultant and the client was developed. Within the framework of the project, the informative booklets on the activity of the Helpline were developed, thus ensuring visual aids for a wider society across the whole territory of Latvia.

Due to the approved project, the society’s specialists and managing workers have an opportunity to visit monthly supervisions, i.e. to receive consultative support on the issues related to work and professional activity. The supervision of the inter-professional team (social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, lawyers, prospective representatives of the said professions who work in the society as volunteers) is based on premature identification and assessment of crisis situations, reducing the burn-out risk of the specialists, as well as on the improvement of professionalism of own and common field specialists. Whereas, the importance of the supervision of the management personnel team is in the opportunity of agreeing on a common understanding of different issues, goals and the everyday productive action of the worker, as well as developing work efficiency in general.

In order for the society’s members, workers and volunteers to qualitatively participate in decision-making and policy development processes, as well as to develop a positive image of the society for the media and society in general, two seminars – “Possibilities of Participating in Decision-Making” and “Development of the Organization’s Public Image” – were organized.

In October, “Shelter “Safe House”” joined the “Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation*” (LAPAS). The society’s specialists point out that, by joining the cooperation network LAPAS, not only will the society gain experience in cooperating with other organisations and obtain new information, but also the society’s accumulated experience in the area of human trafficking will be expanded.

“Implementation of the project provides an opportunity of increasing the capacity of the organization’s human resources, which is one of the most important aspects in the long-term development of the organization. Whereas, the orientation to the achievement of the society’s main goals is facilitated by the project financial support for ensuring principal activity. While developing the project`s programme for 2014, the started activities will be continued in order to strengthen the role of society in reduction of human trafficking on both national and international levels,” says Sandra Zalcmane, head of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””.

* Society “Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation” (LAPAS) was founded on 17 June 2004 and unites organizations operating or planning to commence activity in the area of development cooperation and development education. LAPAS was founded with an aim to provide Latvia’s NGOs with a favourable environment and opportunities for development cooperation and development education on national and international levels.

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””.

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

Support Project to Reduce Human Trafficking Launched

31.08.2013. Experts of the society “Shelter “Safe House”” have announced the July 5 launch of the project Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia. The project is implemented through a grant of EUR 46,666 by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway via EEA’s Financial Mechanism and co-funding by the society. It is aimed at increasing society’s role in implementing measures combating human trafficking at national level by increasing society’s institutional capacity and ensuring action support activities. Project period: July 5, 2013 – June 30, 2015.

According to the plan, the project programme will be implemented all across Latvia through various activities: society’s engagement in cooperation networks; facilitating involvement in shaping action policy and decision-making processes; ensuring operation of an advice-information phone line; ensuring expert supervision; developing NGO coalition platform to reduce human trafficking; increasing capacity of society’s members, employees and volunteers; drawing additional sources of funding to ensure society’s activities; promoting volunteer work.

“National governments have been set three main goals in order to reduce human trafficking around the world: preventive work; assistance to the victims of human trafficking; prosecution of human traffickers. As an NGO which has been ensuring assistance to victims for 6 years now we consider ensuring preventive measures on a regular basis to be one of our main tasks. It is important that the number of people, who as professionals can give assistance regarding risks of human trafficking, increases. It is very important to raise awareness in the youth so that they would become educators of their peers and serve as an example that human beings are not marketable goods and that it is worth knowing how to protect oneself. Therefore, the project Society’s “Shelter “Safe House”” Action Support Programme to Reduce Human Trafficking in Latvia in general and society’s operational plan for 2013 is aimed at ensuring society’s main underlying activities in long-term which would let us to hope that the number of victims of human trafficking will decrease on a yearly basis”, notes Sandra Zalcmane, Head of the society “Shelter “Safe House””.

The target group to be involved in the project will be non-governmental organizations, representatives of public administration, municipalities working with human trafficking issues, members, employees, volunteers of “Shelter “Safe House”” as well as Latvian population.

The programme NGO Fund is operated by the Society Integration Foundation. Funding of the EEA Financial Mechanism in the amount of 9.678 million euro is intended for the support of activities of non-governmental organizations, for projects in the social sector, shaping of a united society and for the support of sustainable development of civil society. NGO Activity Support Measure’s sub-programme will receive 40% of the total Programme financing for the projects. The sub-programme shall support daily activities of NGOs in the following areas: democracy and participatory democracy; human rights, incl. minorities’ rights; good governance and transparency; combating racism, xenophobia, and discrimination; environment and sustainable development and gender equality and gender-based violence.

The project is financed by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The programme NGO Fund ir financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism and Latvian government.

Find out more about the EEA Financial Mechanism programme NGO Fund here

Website of the Society Integration Foundation: http://www.sif.lv

Website of the EEA Financial Mechanism in Latvia: http://www.eeagrants.lv

Official website of the EEA Financial Mechanism: http://www.eeagrants.org

Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the society “Shelter “Safe House””.

For more information:

Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Public Relations Consultant and Practitioner

rasa.salina@gmail.com


Informative event 19.12. | Patvērums Drošā Māja
Informative event, 19.12.
NGOs unite in a coalition 17.12. | Patvērums Drošā Māja
NGOs unite in a coalition, 17.12.