After 35,000 calls and the assistance provided to 503 victims of trafficking, ASTRA’s SOS Hotline got a license
Before the celebration of the European Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October, the first, and so far the only, specialized line for (potential) human trafficking victims, ASTRA’s SOS line got a license from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
The formal licensing show that the institutions and other stakeholders recognized professionalism and high standards of ASTRA’s team, which places a victim and her rights in the center, as well as the commitment of the team to provide help and support to the victims of trafficking during the process of recovery and reintegration.
Since its establishment in 2002 until now, ASTRA’s SOS line has received more than 35,000 calls, among which the most have been calls directly related to the trafficking, while 1/3 have been calls of citizens to check on risky employment offers by which they could become recruited and ended up in a trafficking situation. In the last 16 years, ASTRA’s team has identified and provided help to 503 victims of different forms of exploitation, mostly to women and young girls who had been sexually exploited. Persons who survived trafficking need different type of assistance to overcome the physical and psychological consequences of trafficking. Therefore, the most common assistance provided by ASTRA for years has been: medical, psychological, legal aid, alternative housing, and continuation of education and economic empowerment with the aim of faster and more efficient recovery.
The licensing of the SOS line will contribute to better quality and standardization of this type of social service, as well as to the sustainability of the SOS line, especially in the context of donors’ noticeably decreased interest in funding social services.
ASTRA’s SOS line will, in the upcoming period, continue to provide the services free of charge to victims and potential victims of human trafficking at the phone number 011 785 00 00.