On 6 October European Network of Migrant Women took part in the partner meeting for the EU Project ASSIST (Gender Specific Legal Assistance and Integration Support for Third Country National Female Victims of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation), funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Originally planned in Bonn, Germany the meeting took place online due to COVID19 restrictions. In this full day meeting we exchanged on the progress of the project and heard from all the partners about the implementation of peer-mentoring programme for the female migrant victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation - the model victim-assistance that the project is set to create.
While the pandemic put restrictions on the work of all partners who provide services to the victims, the needs of the victims have not stopped but were exacerbated in many cases. The peer support programme, combined with the structured professional assistance by the partners, has proved to be necessary and effective even throughout the pandemic when partners reported high degree of satisfaction by the women taking part in the project. This includes increase in confidence, skill attainment and access to justice.
Additionally, we discussed the ways to promote and give visibility of the project's methodology that we agreed must be at the centre of all work with victims-centred and based on women's needs approach to trafficking. In the light of the forthcoming EU Anti Trafficking strategy and the newly published European Commission's Pact on Migration, we think that maintaining a strong focus on victim's support while tackling the demand for trafficking for sexual exploitation, along with providing possibilities for legal migration and access to labour for female migrants, remains the optimal and the only realistic solution to eradicating the crime of trafficking in women in Europe.
The project will have the final event on 10 December, Human Rights Day and the end of 16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women . In it the methodology and the best practices of the project will be presented along with the policy recommendations.
This project is funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.