La Strada Offices
Since 2001, the La Strada network comprises eight member organisations working in eight different countries (see Who are we to learn more about the history of La Strada). All eight La Strada members work according to the same basic programme, however, the exact services which are offered can vary, depending on the local situation. Convinced that direct assistance to trafficked persons, prevention programmes and advocacy should inform and complement each other, the three pillars of the La Strada programme include:
- Information & Lobby
- Prevention & Education
- Assistance & Support
These three pillars, which we refer to as campaigns, are common to all La Strada members and are described here below. More specific descriptions of each national office and their national activities are provided on the member pages. For more up to date information and news from the La Strada members, please consult the websites of the national La Strada offices.
1. The Information & Lobby Campaign
The goal of the Information and Lobby Campaign is to present the problem of trafficking as a serious human rights violation for which states are accountable. It aims to stimulate governments to put the issue high on their political agenda and to take action. La Strada members promote a human rights approach to ensure that anti-trafficking measures do not violate the human rights of trafficked persons or other affected groups. This approach requires that human rights are at the core of any anti-trafficking strategy. It integrates the norms, standards and principles of the international human rights framework into legislation, policies, programmes and processes. La Strada monitors both the national and international situation on trafficking, including existing laws, action plans and conventions against trafficking in human beings.
Activities of the Information & Lobby Campaign
- Implement ongoing media campaigns, establish media contacts, give interviews, write and publish background articles.
- Educate and raise awareness among groups of professionals, decision makers (members of parliament) and the general public.
- Organise seminars, workshops and other events both for NGOs and governmental organisations.
- Collect information regarding the national laws on trafficking and related areas, and monitor the process of implementation of international standards.
- Contribute to the development of National Action Plans and national policies against trafficking in human beings.
La Strada members urge their governments to:
Present a strong human rights-based approach in all activities implemented, in order to prevent discrimination, marginalisation and stigmatisation of trafficked persons.
Focus on all forms of trafficking and all target groups, but to pay special attention to the position of (female) migrants while developing policies, measures and action plans.
Focus on prevention, next to the suppression and punishment of trafficking in persons. This responsibility includes support, financially and otherwise, for NGOs working on the issue.
Ensure that any proposed anti-trafficking measure does not adversely affect or infringe upon the human rights of trafficked persons or other affected groups.
Address the root causes as the most just and effective way to prevent trafficking.
Take into account existing international and regional standards dealing with trafficking, with a view to developing these standards so as to improve the protection afforded by them to trafficked persons, and to make sure that signed national and international directives, conventions and laws are implemented in practice.
2. The Prevention & Education campaign
The goal of the Prevention and Education Campaign is to empower persons to make independent decisions focused on protecting their rights. In addition to targeting risk groups directly, the campaign focuses on the environment of groups at risk, by educating professionals on how to prevent potential risk groups from falling prey to trafficking. These educational activities can target sectors as diverse as the judiciary, law enforcement, educational staff, peer educators, youth, social workers, medical staff or outreach workers.
Activities of the Prevention & Education Campaign
- Produce and disseminate educational and informational material, aimed at different target groups; young and unemployed women, students, migrant workers, sex workers, etc.
- Provide lectures and presentations about trafficking at schools, community houses, etc.
- Build up relationships with and conduct training events for labour agencies, NGOs, outreach workers, embassies, law enforcement, teachers and all other parties who might be in contact with potential trafficked persons.
- Run information helplines that provide advice on jobs abroad and inform about the risks of trafficking and prevention measures.
Principles of the Prevention & Education campaign
- Partnership and cooperation
- Systematic approach
- Information, support and empowerment
- Multiplier effect
3. The Assistance & Support campaign
The aim of the Assistance and Support Campaign is to provide the social, legal and emotional support trafficked persons need in order to regain control over their lives. Within the La Strada programme, national and international networks are created for safe return and social inclusion. La Strada develops its own policies and strategies for meeting the needs of trafficked persons. It aims at combining direct support with lobbying at different levels in connection with specific cases.
Activities of the Assistance & Support Campaign
- Develop complete care programmes for trafficked persons, including the referral to or direct provision of emotional and social support, safe shelter, and medical and legal services.
- Operate local helplines and provide anonymous consultations and advice
- Advocate on the special needs and interests of trafficked persons.
- Develop international networks of NGOs and other institutions to ensure safe return to the country of origin.
- Establish local and national networks of relevant services and institutions that support trafficked persons and affected groups.
Principles of the La Strada Assistance & Support programme
- Respect for human rights
- Clients participate on a voluntary basis
- Respect for choices and decisions
- No victimisation or stigmatisation
- No judgements
- The needs, views and concerns of the trafficked person are central
La Strada helplines
All La Strada offices run a hotline, often operational 24 hours, in some cases toll free. Consultants provide information on destination countries, including information about the national situation and legislation of these countries, useful telephone numbers, and safety tips and on possibilities of help in case of emergencies. If needed, referral can take place to other services via the hotline, including search for missing persons. Several offices provide consultations for migrants, also in foreign languages.