In the past year the AIRE Centre has received an increase in requests for advice on the legal provisions affecting the rights of victims of trafficking. This Comic Relief funded project has helped us to expand our work in this area.
The legal provisions that affect victims' rights are numerous and complex. There are legal instruments designed to protect trafficking victims (such as the Council of Europe Trafficking Convention, which came into force with respect to the UK last year), those which protect human rights generally, and instruments that may unwittingly have an negative impact on victims, like the Dublin II Regulation (under which many unidentified young trafficking victims are bounced around Europe as asylum seekers) or restrictions on access to welfare benefits and NHS care (which tend particularly to affect EU citizen victims of trafficking, particularly those from Eastern Europe).
The project has been designed to respond to a need that has specifically been brought to our attention. The AIRE Centre and ATLeP already held a successful training conference in 2008: participating advisers (who attended from throughout the UK) reported that the day provided key information to enable them to empower trafficked and sexually exploited young people to understand and assert their rights and take positive decisions about their lives. The day also gave advisers from around the country an opportunity to network with other advisers - including experts who can provide second-tier advice. The numerous requests for further such events prompted this project.
We propose to hold four one-day training conferences each year for advice agencies working with young victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation in the UK. The content of the conferences may change following consultation with presenters, participants and other stakeholders; however, we anticipate at present that the conferences will cover four global issues: (1) the psycho-social aspects of advising victims on their rights; (2) the rights of victims in the criminal justice system; (3) the rights of victims in the immigration and asylum process; and (4) the rights of victims to access social assistance and social security benefits (including welfare and NHS care).
The conferences are designed to provide training to a national audience and in particular to reach advice agencies working with trafficked and sexually exploited young people in areas where advisers do not have ready access to specialist advice.
For any queries about the project, the conferences or the materials, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org