La Strada International NGO Platform
The La Strada International (LSI) NGO Platform is active since 2005. Its aim is to strengthen the cooperation in Europe (both EU and Non EU) between civil society organisations that combine practical work with trafficked persons and affected groups with political advocacy for human rights based policies to eradicate trafficking in human beings. It also aims to encourage the anti-trafficking debate among civil society and the exchange of best practices and lessons learnt. The NGO Platform is organised every two years. So far the NGO Platforms were organised in Warsaw, Poland (2005), Kyiv, Ukraine (2006), Skopje, Macedonia (2007), Berlin, Germany (2009), Rome, Italy (2011) and Tallinn, Estonia (2013).
After many years of successful cooperation, in 2013 LSI has invited their close partners to become officially members of the Platform.
The LSI NGO Platform consists of: Gender Perspectives (Belarus), Animus Association (Bulgaria), La Strada Czech Republic, Open Gate (Macedonia), La Strada Moldova, CoMensha (The Netherlands), La Strada Poland, La Strada Ukraine, Association of Young Azerbaijani Friends of Europe, Anti-Slavery International (UK), ASTRA - Anti-Trafficking Action (Serbia), Hope Now (Denmark), Human Resource Development Foundation (Turkey), KOK (Germany), Lefö (Austria), Living for Tomorrow (Estonia), Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Novi Put (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Pag-Asa (Belgium), PICUM (Belgium), Pro Tukipiste (Finland), Proyecto Esperanza (Spain), FIZ (Switzerland), ALC (France), ADPARE (Romania), FairWork (Netherlands), Ban Ying (Germany) and Victim Support Finland (Finland).
In 2013, representatives of more than 20 NGOs and three networks from 20 European (EU and non-EU) countries gathered to discuss current challenges and opportunities in the field of combatting human trafficking. During the two days, the participants discussed in smaller workshop groups the current challenges in the anti-trafficking debate, including: NGO monitoring and how NGOs can become more involved in the monitoring and evaluation of anti-trafficking policies and what mechanisms NGOs can use. Data protection – defining the line between providing reliable data on human trafficking and keeping trafficked persons’ confidentiality and reviewing data protection provisions in place and how NGOs can influence the standardisation process of data collection and data processing in Europe. Non-punishment provision – how can NGOs ensure that this provision is observed in practice and how can grass-roots NGOs support its implementation? Standards for service providers – reviewing LSI and partners’ minimum standards for provision of services to trafficked persons, as well as a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure NGO commitment. Demand – how to address the issue of demand, as it has fuelled the politicised and polarised debate on prostitution and human trafficking, and almost forces civil society to take a position.
The meeting ended with a plenary session devoted to Joint Actions, where the partners discussed several opportunities on national and international levels for collective advocacy and engage in joint campaigning actions. In order to reflect the formalised cooperation of LSI members and other partner NGOs in Europe, it was decided to add ‘united against human trafficking in Europe’ to the name of the platform. The campaign that was launched on 10 December 2013 (International Human Rights Day) is the first joint action defined at this year’s platform. The second was the joint statement on 17 December, International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers.
The establishment of the LSI NGO Platform was financially supported by Daphne III programme of the European Commission.