Today the Council of the Baltic Sea States is launching its new international project against Human Trafficking – Paving the Way for a Harmonized Operational Framework in the Baltic Sea Region (HOF BSR).
International reports show that newly arrived migrants are highly vulnerable to become exploited and trafficked. In response to this urgent situation, the CBSS is gathering all its Member States in order to strengthen professionals in the entire region on how to operatively deal with cross-border cases of human trafficking.
This remains a growing challenge in the Baltic Sea Region, both in terms of the high number of victims exploited but also the low number of convictions. There is a pressing need to establish a more coordinated and unified approach among the countries of the Baltic Sea Region to tackle this cross-border problem and to provide holistic assistance to trafficked persons.
As victims exploited in a small municipality in our region may not be identified or given the amount of assistance compared to if they would have been exploited in a larger city area, someone working at the social services, a local police station or the migration officer in a small town may not have the knowledge required to deal with a suspected case of human trafficking.
A Transnational Referral Mechanism for professionals working in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond will be developed during this project, to provide them with the right tools in order to successfully assist victims. The inspiration for these guidelines is based on the Swedish tool Manual vid misstanke om människohandel. The project is funded by the Swedish Ministry of Social Affairs and the Swedish Institute (SI).
Moreover, a more unified approach is needed to support the media with reporting on human trafficking issues. The project will seek to develop a manual and a glossary for journalists to aid their reporting and to improve the visibility of human trafficking for all forms of exploitation.
The project also aims to strengthen and expand counter trafficking cooperation networks by establishing direct contacts with the main countries of origin for victims of human trafficking – Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
For more information please visit www.cbss.org/safe-secure-region/tfthb/ or contact:
Vineta Polatside, Head of TF-THB unit, email: Vineta.firstname.lastname@example.org
Endrit Mujaj, TF-THB project Officer, e-mail: Endrit.email@example.com
Anthony Jay, Head of Media and Communications unit, e-mail: Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org