Counter-Trafficking in Human Beings

Trafficking in human beings is the second most lucrative and also fastest growing illegal business in the world. For traffickers, it is a business just like any other. The only difference is that people are the traded goods. Traffickers abuse and exploit their victims, and subject them to different forms of inhumane treatment in order to make money from them. Methods used by traffickers are more and more sophisticated and the modes of acquiring new victims are becoming more malicious every day.

Anyone may fall into the trap and become a victim of trafficking. It is estimated that in Europe alone, there are 250 thousand people trafficked every year.

After 1989, Slovakia became a country of origin, from which victims of trafficking in human beings originate, and country of transit, through which the victims are transferred. People from Slovakia are heading mainly to Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Poland or Sweden. Recently, some information has emerged that also Slovakia has become a country of destination where both Slovaks and migrants fall victims to human trafficking.

Forms of trafficking in human beings include forced labour or forced begging, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced criminality or trading with human organs.

What is the reason for human trafficking? The traffickers react to the demand for cheap labour force and sexual services. The number of victims is increasing also due to the shortage of job vacancies, poor social background, bad economic situation, insufficient level of education and also the lack of information about the risks connected with work migration, etc.

The main IOM activities in this area include:

IOM Slovakia, in cooperation with government institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, has been working in the area of counter-trafficking issue since 2003. In this area IOM currently carries out following activities:

  • Various preventive activities and information campaigns (mobile application Safe Travel & Work Abroad to help prevent human trafficking, campaign Don’t become a slave! to raise awareness about helpline for victims of human trafficking);
  • Educates and strengthens the capacity of government experts and helping organizations in the area of prevention, identification of victims and providing comprehensive assistance for victims of human trafficking;
  • Develops and offers information and educational materials for teachers, lecturers, and other professionals (documentary films, didactic and training materials, information brochures, web site about safe travel and work abroad).

In the past, IOM operated the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818 (2008 – 2014); identified victims of human trafficking and provided them with comprehensive assistance concerning their return (2006 – 2016) and their reintegration into daily life after their return to the country of origin (2006 – 2014). IOM helps approximately 20 people a year this way.