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 – 2017) 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.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) educates and strengthens the capacity of organizations and experts who receive information and practical skills in following areas:

  • carrying out individual and group prevention in the vulnerable groups environment;
  • identification of potential victims of trafficking, with whom they come into contact during their work;
  • the basics of crisis intervention or the provision of return and reintegration care to the client;
  • legislation on counter-trafficking in human beings;
  • rights and options of clients in the National Programme of Support and Protection for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings;
  • effective cooperation with experts and organizations that provide help to the trafficked persons.

The participants of the trainings led by IOM staff include professionals, such as:

  • members of the police force and the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic (e.g. National Unit to Combat Illegal Migration of the Office of the Border and Alien Police of the Police Corps Presidium, spokespersons of the Police Corps, specialists of communication and prevention department of the Police Corps Presidium, teachers and psychological advisers at secondary professional schools of the Police Corps and Police Corps Academy in Bratislava, members of the Police Corps working with Roma communities – so-called police specialists, etc.);
  • teachers, psychologists and social workers (field social workers working with the Roma communities, secondary school teachers, employees of the psychological counselling and prevention centres, etc.);
  • NGO workers (NGO Náruč staff – The Help for Children in Crisis, STORM field social workers, social workers: Slovak Crisis Centre DOTYK, Slovak Catholic Charity, etc.);
  • state and public administration employees (workers from the regional bureaus of the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Roma communities, employees from the Labour Inspectorates in the Slovak Republic, employees of the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, etc.);
  • representatives of registered churches (Slovak Catholic Charity workers, selected representatives of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia, teachers of religion, etc.);
  • health sector representatives (emergency health services staff);
  • staff of diplomatic missions of the Slovak Republic abroad;
  • Ministry of Justice staff (judges, prosecutors).

 

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IOM educational activities for field social workers in 2014 and 2015 in the field of human trafficking prevention were funded by the British Embassy in Bratislava.

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From 2008 to 2013 implementation of IOM educational activities in counter-trafficking in human beings were financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Slovakia offers educational materials for teachers, lecturers, and other professionals working with youth in the area of prevention of human trafficking or those coming into contact with potential victims of human trafficking.

Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings – training manual

IOM – Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings – training manual

The manual serves as a practical tool for the preparation of educational activities about the risks of human trafficking and safe travelling principles. Besides the overview of human trafficking issue, the manual includes suggestions for group activities while working with youth.

Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings – PDF version.

Safe Travel & Work Abroad – mobile application

IOM – Safe Travel & Work Abroad – mobile application against human trafficking

The mobile application SAFE is designed mainly for young people and in a form of interactive games it highlights the risks of human trafficking. The app user can choose from four characters and makes decisions that will influence the direction of the story. The application provides vital information about warning signs of human trafficking, tips on safe travel abroad, and it also provides practical information on job placement services or working arrangement and useful contacts in case of emergency.

The mobile application is available for free in the App Store, Google Play (for operation systems Android and iOS) and on the website www.safe.iom.sk in five languages: Slovak, English, Czech, Polish and Hungarian.

IOM - Manual on How to Use the SAFE Mobile Application in Education About Human Trafficking

Brief manual is available for professionals and introduces two activities that can be used in education about human trafficking.

Manual for the mobile application SAFE Travel & Work Abroad – PDF version.

0800 800 818 – film

The documentary film called ‘0800 800 818’ presents real stories of people who became victims of trafficking. The film reflects the problem of human trafficking for forced labour and forced begging. It reveals traffickers’ tactics and their methods of manipulating potential victims, and explains what to do if somebody becomes a victim of trafficking. Through a fictitious agency the film shows how easy it is to be deceived by traffickers.

Safe Travel – website

IOM – Safe Travel – web site

The website www.bezpecnecestovanie.iom.sk is a useful source of information for those who want to travel or work abroad. It points out the risks of human trafficking and gives advice on how to avoid them and what to do in a crisis situation. In addition, the website offers information about current events in the human trafficking area as well as the possibility to directly contact IOM staff through the contact form, e-mail or telephone.

How Not to Get Lost in the World – preventive brochure

IOM – How Not to Get Lost in the World – preventive brochure

The brochure is designed for people who plan to travel abroad to find a job. It provides basic information about human trafficking, useful advice before the departure and during the stay abroad, and important contacts of helping organisations and embassies.

How Not to Get Lost in the World – PDF version.

More information on IOM counter-trafficking activities.

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IOM activities in the field of counter-trafficking are financed by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, which acts as a coordinating body of comprehensive care provided to the victims of trafficking.

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The project Programme of Prevention of Human Trafficking – update of the web site www.bezpecnecestovanie.iom.sk and the brochure How Not to get Lost in the World – was funded by the British Embassy in Bratislava.

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The project SAFE – smart, aware, free, enjoy, information campaign to prevent human trafficking was funded by the International Visegrad Fund and by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bratislava.

Don´t become a victim of human trafficking! Try the mobile application SAFE TRAVEL & WORK ABROAD first.

IOM – Safe Travel & Work Abroad – mobilná aplikácia proti obchodovaniu s ľuďmi

Through an interactive game, you can walk in shoes of one of four young people who decided to explore the world. Your goal is to escape the human traffickers by taking responsibility and making decision that will influence the direction of their lives. Whether the protagonists end up travelling and working abroad safely – or fall into the traps set by traffickers – is in your hands.

In addition to the game, the application provides key information about human trafficking, safe travelling principles and tips for working abroad as well as useful contacts in case of emergency. Whether you travel abroad, on holidays or for work, you can find beneficial information here.

Learn about human trafficking through the app and be prepared to rely on yourself in real life.

The SAFE application is available for free at Google Play and App Store and on the IOM website www.safe.iom.sk in five languages: Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and English.  

As a new tool, the application can be used for educational purposes and for prevention of human trafficking by professionals working with young people.

IOM - Manuál na využitie mobilnej aplikácie SAFE vo vzdelávaní o obchodovaní s ľuďmi

In addition, IOM developed a brief manual for professionals on how to use the application for educational purposes in various types of schools. It introduces two activities that can be used in education about human trafficking.

The mobile application with the manual were developed within the project SAFE – smart, aware, free, enjoy information campaign for prevention of human trafficking.

Support of the project SAFE – smart, aware, free, enjoy, information campaign to prevent human trafficking: 

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The project is funded by the International Visegrad Fund.
www.visegradfund.org

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The project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bratislava.
http://slovakia.nlembassy.org

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International Organization for Migration (IOM) – implementation of the project and campaign.
www.iom.sk

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La Strada Czech Republic – implementing partner.
www.strada.cz

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La Strada – Foundation against Trafficking and Slavery – implementing partner.
www.strada.org.pl

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Hungarian Baptist Aid – implementing partner.
www.baptistasegely.hu, www.hbaid.org

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Development of the SAFE mobile app was supported by BeeSafe, s. r. o.
www.beesafe.me

The film 0800 800 818 explores a current problem of our society: human trafficking. The victims describe their real stories – a man forced into begging in Italy, woman forced into working without being paid in the Netherlands, man exploited on a building construction site in England and last but not least, a woman forced to work in sex business in Switzerland.

People who believed the story of a fake employment agency talk about how easy it is to fall into the trap of traffickers. This fake employment agency was created just for the purpose of the film. The agency was located in a rented place and attracted people to work abroad through a website. After their job interview at the agency, many people left happy convinced that they would be leaving for work just in a few days... The film reveals the tactics of traffickers and their methods of manipulating potential victims. It also makes it clear what to do if a person becomes a victim of trafficking.

Prevention film 0800 800 818 from 2011 complemented the already existing 2003 film “It Cannot Happen to Me“. The film 0800 800 818 presents the problem of human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour and forced begging.

Both films can be used in their prevention practice by community social workers, municipal police prevention officers, school prevention specialists, workers in re-education and foster care facilities, staff in psychological counselling and prevention centres, etc.

The document was produced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with the director Marcel Pázman and financial help of the Crime Prevention Council of the Government of the Slovak Republic, the British Embassy in the Slovak Republic, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Slovak Republic, and the Slovak Audio-Visual Fund.

Documentary film named “It Cannot Happen to Me” tells a story of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. It was filmed in 2003 – when the majority of victims from Slovakia were forced into prostitution. Even though other forms of human trafficking are on the rise nowadays, sexual exploitation still remains a current problem.

Through real stories given by four women, the film shows means by which the women became victims of human trafficking, how they were exploited and how they successfully escaped in the end. In addition to the stories, the film provides some additional information given by experts in the field of counter-trafficking.

The film has been used for a decade in educating professionals and in prevention activities, especially at schools.

The documentary was produced by IOM in cooperation with the Slovak Television and the director Natalia Vídenská. It was created with the financial help of the Austrian government.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched the information campaign „Don’t become a slave!“ to help victims of trafficking.

The campaign ran from October 2014 to January 2015 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia in regions from which most of identified victims of trafficking come from. The campaign promoted helplines available to anybody in risk of becoming or who has already become a victim of trafficking or who is considering working abroad.

0800 800 818 is the number of Slovak National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and is toll-free for calls from the Slovak Republic. To reach the helpline from abroad, callers need to call from Slovak SIM card and dial 00421 800 800 818. From July 1, 2008 to December 15, 2014 the National Helpline was operated by IOM and since December 15, 2014 it is operated by the Slovak Crisis Centre Dotyk.

Information regarding the helpline were visible in places most frequently visited by people travelling abroad. In Slovakia, the campaign focused on towns in Košice region. Posters and citylights were placed in bus stations in Košice, Trebišov and Michalovce. Advertisements were situated in regional buses and on the travel tickets, posters and stickers in the buses heading to Great Britian, namely  to Bradford, Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which are frequent destinations for victims of trafficking.

In cooperation with La Strada organizations, the campaign took place in the Czech Republic, particularly in Ústí nad Labem, Teplice and České Budějovice and in Poland in Mazovian Voivodeship and in regions in the northwest of the country.

Slovak campaign poster:

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Travel tickets with information regarding the campaign in Slovakia:

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Banner with information regarding the campaign in Slovakia in English:

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Support and implementation of the project Counter-trafficking Hotlines Campaign in SK/CZ/PL Vulnerable Regions:

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The project is funded by the International Visegrad Fund.
www.visegradfund.org

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International Organization for Migration (IOM) – implementation of the project and campaign
www.iom.sk

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La Strada Czech Republic – implementing partner
www.strada.cz

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La Strada – Foundation against Trafficking and Slavery – implementing partner
www.strada.org.pl

Since September 1, 2018 the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818 is operated by Caritas Slovakia.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) operated the National Helpline 0800 800 818 from July 1, 2008 to December 15, 2014.

IOM continues to provide preventive information, which can help you to protect yourselves against human trafficking – call: +421 907 787 374.

Between 2008 and the end of 2018, IOM Slovakia staff in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and other donors, delivered 141 specialized trainings on prevention of trafficking in human beings and identification of victims of trafficking, in which 2,505 professionals, who come into contact with trafficked persons, participated.

Between 2006 and 2018, IOM Slovakia identified 213 victims of trafficking, of which 132 were women and 81 men. 162 have accepted IOM's help and entered the national Programme of Support and Protection of the Victims of Human Trafficking. IOM arranged safe returns of 124 identified victims to their countries of origin. By the end of 2014, IOM provided assistance with reintegration into daily life to 139 victims. The services provided were mainly social assistance, psychological and social counselling and support with the orientation at labour market.

From 2015, victims of trafficking after their return with IOM assistance could benefit from the services of other organisations that provide subsequent help and support.

Between 2008 and 2014, IOM operated the National Helpline for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings 0800 800 818. IOM staff provided 7,420 consultations and 37 victims of trafficking were identified and helped via this helpline. Since 15 December 2014, the National Helpline is operated by the Slovak Crisis Centre Dotyk.