La Strada Czech Republic (La Strada Ceska republika o.p.s.) has been registered as an independent non-governmental organisation since 1998. La Strada Czech Republic is one of the founding members of the La Strada network and began its work in 1995 as part of a project of the ProFem foundation (Central European consultation centre for women's projects). The office is headed by the national coordinator and the staff of 13 includes a manager for analysis and methodology, a manager of social services, a project coordinator/fundraiser, an external legal advisor, an administrative assistant, a financial manager as well as outreach and social workers.
Over the past years, La Strada Czech Republic has become a reliable partner of governmental as well as non-governmental organisations and has been recognised for its expertise and professionalism. It has proven to be able to react and respond in a flexible manner to challenges and new developments. La Strada's focus is not only on trafficking into the sex industry but includes all forms of human trafficking.
Advocacy & Lobby
Advocacy & Lobby activities aim to put and keep trafficking in persons firmly on the political agenda, to raise public awareness, to stimulate public debate and to monitor the implementation of counter trafficking measures. The goal of advocacy is also to make the voice of the people that La Strada works with heard and have their rights and interests upheld. La Strada Czech Republic is trying to establish a systematic set of guidelines to end people's vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation. The organisation also tries to increase knowledge of the issue through research and monitoring activities and to contribute its experiences to specialist and general discussions on the matter.
La Strada maintains an extensive library of publications on issues related to human trafficking and will continue to develop its potential as a resource centre by operating a database of relevant documents, but also by drafting and collecting La Strada publications, documents and materials.
Prevention & Education
Prevention & Education aim to empower persons at risk of trafficking and those already affected by trafficking to make independent and informed decisions about their lives. Except direct work with groups at risk, the programme targets the social environment of risk groups by educating professionals who might come into contact with trafficked persons or groups at risk of trafficking.
La Strada Czech Republic has extensive experience in prevention work for and with specific target groups: Roma communities, young unemployed persons, institutional care facilities and migrants.
The Social Assistance programme aims to help trafficked persons to regain freedom and control over their lives and to reduce the risk of re-trafficking. It also contributes to an effective prosecution of traffickers.
In 2007, La Strada registered, in accordance with the Czech Social Services Law, three social services which it is still currently offering. They are:
- Counselling service
- Crisis aid
- Sheltered accommodation
An important part of the organisation's activities both in terms of the social services offered and the prevention work that La Strada does are the INFO and SOS help lines. The helplines:
- Are open three days a week in Czech language (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 4pm and on Wednesdays from 12pm to 6pm).
- The helplines currently offer advice in Russian, Romanian, Moldovan and English, as well as Czech on Wednesdays between 4pm and 6pm.
- When no one is staffing the help lines, clients can leave a message.
La Strada Czech Republic is a bottom-up programme in which direct contact with trafficked persons provides invaluable experience, skills and information applicable in prevention and lobby work. Trafficked persons are not only informed of the risks of trafficking through Prevention & Education, but they are also supported to recover from traumatic experience and assisted to build up a new life through social and legal assistance. Finally, this programme advocates for opportunities for reintegration into society as well as the acknowledgement that trafficking in persons is a severe violation of human rights and a serious criminal offence that has to be adequately addressed.