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STROM II Final Conference: “Local responses to human trafficking in the spotlight”

On 12–13 October in Birstonas, Lithuania, more than 50 counter-trafficking actors from around the Baltic Sea gathered to discuss local responses to counter human trafficking. The meeting was the final conference of the project STROM II – Strengthening the Role of Municipalities in the Work against Trafficking in Human beings, which for the past 19 months has been bringing together local and state actors, researchers, national experts and NGOs to strengthen the capacity and role of municipalities in the chain of assistance to victims of human trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region.

This work has been done through the development of specific local cooperation mechanisms in the municipalities, following the Guidelines for Municipalities – Stepping up Local Action against Human Trafficking (developed as a part of the previous STROM project), national meetings, multidisciplinary roundtable meetings in the involved municipalities, as well training workshops for local experts to improve counter trafficking actions in the long-term. Activities of the project also included tailor-made national awareness-raising campaigns, targeting vulnerable populations & groups at risk to be trafficked, as well as a regional expert meeting to share experiences and to disseminate project findings and lessons learned during the course of the project implementation.

The STROM II Final Conference “Local responses to human trafficking in the spotlight” in Birstonas, Lithuania, focused on hearing the national experiences from the project, the challenges and results achieved, as well as ways forward for potential future cooperation. The conference also included a presentation of the methodology for estimating the costs of victim assistance in municipalities, developed by the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), as a part of the STROM II project. Next to presentations, the participants also worked in national groups on local cooperation mechanisms through example cases. In their respective national groups, the participants also tried out the newly developed Human Game, which focuses on the difficulty of distinguishing between malicious and benevolent employers in everyday life. In the future, the Human Game will be available to the wider public, providing a hands-on learning tool for counter-trafficking actors across the region.

The involved countries in the project include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Russia, together with experts from the Nordic region. The partners in the project are the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (CBSS TF-THB), Nordic Council of Ministers, NGO “Living for Tomorrow” in Estonia, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Latvia, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania and Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Red Cross. The project has been funded by the Swedish Institute and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

For more images see the CBSS Flickr.

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