La Strada Belarus is a programme implemented by the International Public Association “Gender Perspectives” (GP). The organisation was founded in 2010 and registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus in 2010. GP was founded as result of internal transformational re-organisation of Belarus YWCA, supported and approved by YWCA National Board and LSI General Assembly. GP has a broad scope of activities and is aimed at providing de-facto gender equality between women and men and eliminating gender discrimination.
Starting from January, 2011 the General Assembly of the La Strada International Association (LSI) has taken the decision to accept the NGO “Gender Perspectives” as a new full member of La Strada network. Since 2001, La Strada Belarus has developed into an independent expert programme in Belarus on the issue of human trafficking, acting as a resource and consultation centre for other NGOs, governmental structures and international agencies based in Belarus. The staff comprises ten professional and dedicated women; all of them have different degrees in social, sociological, juridical and psychological areas and a strong human rights and NGO background.
Information & Lobby
The main aim of lobby work in Belarus is to bring national anti-trafficking legislation in accordance with international standards in the area of prevention, protection and assisting trafficked persons and prosecution of the perpetrators. La Strada sees its role in monitoring state commitments and promoting effective mechanisms of implementation of law. La Strada actively contributed to the creation of all three National Action Plans against trafficking, and lobbied for developing a new programme. In 2005, La Strada recommendations were incorporated into the Presidential Ordinance on the status of trafficked person, and in 2010 La Strada was involved into drafting of the new Comprehensive Law on human trafficking.
Although NGOs in Belarus operate in difficult political, social and economic circumstances, they play a crucial role in addressing human trafficking. La Strada facilitates the exchange of information and best practices between NGOs through seminars, conferences and study visits, which contribute significantly to strengthening the NGO sector and articulating its interests, needs and rights.
La Strada's work with the general public and mass media is aimed at forming a well-informed public opinion about the problem of human trafficking and compassionate attitudes toward survivors of different forms of human trafficking. La Strada issues monthly press releases for journalists and organises events and published a manual for journalists.
Finally, La Strada monitors trafficking trends and conducts research that enables to understand regional tendencies better and to provide adequate solutions to the emerging challenges. La Strada Belarus has conducted various research projects for ECPAT International, IOM, UNDP and OSCE.
Prevention & Education
The Belarusian Prevention and Education Campaign is aimed at empowering people to make informed decisions about migration abroad. It focuses its activity on two main target groups - those at risk (school children, students, unemployed, orphans), and specialists working with these risk groups. Since 2004, La Strada Belarus is coordinating a network of specialists that implements prevention activities all over the country. Trainers of the network advance their knowledge at a special course offered every year by La Strada. They are also provided with booklets, leaflets, posters, cards and video materials for effective prevention work.
The La Strada hotline is an integral part of the Belarusian La Strada programme. It is in operation since 2001 and provides information and counselling on safe migration on a national toll-free number 113. La Strada believes that anti-trafficking strategies should not limit freedom of movement. Thus, providing citizens with migration information could serve as one effective tool in reducing the risks of human trafficking. Website and e-mail counselling are new and useful ways of helping people obtain the correct information before their trip abroad, regardless of the purpose, as well as serving in some situations as an emergency help tool for those who find themselves in crisis situations abroad.
Offering social assistance provides access to social services and justice of trafficked persons in the form of reintegration and rehabilitation programmes. By referring trafficked persons to partner organisations, a comprehensive range of services is provided, including medical, psychological, legal, informational, emotional, financial support and vocational trainings.
All La Strada Belarus services are free of charge and are based on the principle of respect for the human rights of trafficked persons. We offer confidentiality and anonymity and only work on the basis of voluntary participation of beneficiaries.
La Strada Belarus pays special attention to the promotion and development of the National Referral Mechanism, which ensure protection and assistance for trafficked persons all over the country through institutionalised cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations.