The Ministry of Interior of Hungary submitted an application for a project called „Referral of and assistance for victims of human trafficking in Europe” – RAVOT-EUR that aims of helping victims of sexual and labour exploitation with assistance in their return and social reintegration.

The aim of the project is to create a „transnational referral mechanism” among Hungary, Belgium and the Netherlands, because these countries are the most affected destination countries of the Hungarian victims. An online platform and a training manual will be created that can be further used for professional and academic purposes. The project also aims of developing a better understanding and trust between non-governmental organisations and the relevant authorities in the field of human trafficking.

The planned budget of the project started on 1 February is 346 000 EUR. 90% of it is secured by the European Union.

The Kick-Off Conference of the project was held on 17 June in the Ministry of Interior with the aim of raising awareness of the project and widening the horizon in the field of best practices and effective cooperation among countries related to the assistance, referral, and safe return of victims of trafficking in human beings.

The conference was opened by dr. László Felkai State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior. In his speech he emphasized that the morals of society need to be changed in order to cut back on human trafficking. He added that the knowledge and earnest work of professionals is not enough to maintain a well-organised system that helps the victims of human trafficking, as the victims themselves also need to cooperate with the helpers.

After the opening speech, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Ms Myria Vassiliadou, in her video message emphasized that human trafficking is a serious form of organised crime and human rights violation. It is estimated that, within the European Union, hundreds of thousands of people are kept in appalling conditions, in captivity, to provide services against their will– that is why it is important to address this phenomenon and help the victims. She added that the root causes must also be addressed in order to prevent trafficking in human beings, which means looking into the huge financial interests that trigger such a crime, and discouraging demand. The EU ATC explained that human trafficking is a very profitable form of crime. According to UNODC estimates, in the EU alone THB for the purpose of sexual exploitation generates approximately 2.5 billion Euros in annual profits. She also drew attention to the fact that, under Directive 2011/36/EU, the EU Member States have a legal obligation to reduce the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation, stressing that without customers, clients, users and procurers human trafficking would not be happening.

Mr Nicolas Le Coz President of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) of the Council of Europe first introduced GRETA then emphasised the obligations of the member states concerning the victims, like the identification of the victims, social assistance and obligation of compensation. Mr Le Coz mentioned the so called „new wave” in Europe – that law enforcement bodies have to be involved in the identification.

In her keynote speech Ms Irina Todorova, Regional Counter-Trafficking Specialist of the International Organization for Migration emphasised that victim support should not depend on the nationality of the victim and also drew attention on the lack of cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination.

The second part of the opening conference was a plenary session where besides the introduction of the project the participants got to know the best practices and the efficient cooperation in view of the member states and international organisations.

For experts of the relevant authorities of Hungary, the Netherlands and Belgium, a working group meeting and a study visit were held on 18-19 June. In the framework of that participants discussed the institutional and legal background of each country, the characteristics of the perpetrators and victims and the practices and knowledge of the victim support, assistance and referral of victims.

The video message and the presentations of the kick-off conference can be found under 'related files'.

The anchor man of the TV programme called „Csellengők” made a program about the conference. It can be watched in Hungarian under the following link (598. Csellengők, 22 June 2014 03:18 pm):