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Contemporary Psycho-Social Challenges in Combating Human Trafficking

NGO ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action organized the international conference Contemporary Psycho-Social Challenges in Combating Human Trafficking in Belgrade, March 18, 2013. The goal was to highlight contemporary issues in combating human trafficking that are rarely discussed among experts and stakeholders despite their importance in terms of EU integration process. At the occasion over a hundred national and international experts discussed about two major issues in the field. They made recommendations and conclusions that should contribute to more effective suppression of human trafficking and easier recovery of its victims.

The conference was opened by Lucca Bianconi, Head of the Political Section at the European Union delegation to Serbia, national coordinator for combating trafficking in human beings, Mitar Đurašković, and co-coordinator of ASTRA, Tamara Vukasović. After that, participants of the conference adressed the issue of irregular migration and its connection to human trafficking and the topic of adequate approach to psychotheraputic work with victims on two separate pannels.

Actualized by the visa liberalization, high unemployment rate and the poverty, irregular migration is becoming a pressing issue in Serbia. Irregular migrants are identified as persons under a greater risk of falling victims to human trafficking, both because of their illegal status and work and great dependance on people organizing their tranzit to the destination country. All of the curently migrating persons, that is one billion people according to international assesments, can befall into that position. Representatives of organizations operating in countries that constitute migratory route Turkey – Greece – Macedonia –Serbia – Croatia – Germany presented their experiance with the interconnection between irregular migration and human trafficking on ASTRA’s conference. Also, Pablo Rojas Coppari, representative from Migrant Rights Centre Ireland presented examples of good practice implemented in his country.

The panel on psychotherapy of human trafficking victims included presentations of psychotherapeutic methods of work promoted by different theoretical approaches – psychoanalytical, humanistic, behavioral and constructivistic. Apart from individual therapy, group and family methods of work were presented to members of ASTRA network of therapists and other participants of the panel. In interactive sessions, panelists exchanged their experience in working with trafficking survivors with world renounced specialists like dr Michael Korzinski, independent expert from Great Britain and dr Mary C. Burke from Carlow University, USA. In that way, capacities of national experts to provide psychological support to trafficking victims were strenghtened. This should lead to facilitation of the process of victims’ recovery and reintegration process.

The conference is implemented within the Not for Sale! – Building Towards Consensus on Combating Human Trafficking in Serbia project that is supported by European Union through European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) program.

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