The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all countries and all societies. However, mostly it has severely affected marginalized communities, such as migrants and trafficked persons, reinforcing and aggravating existing problems and inequalities, and making their integration process more difficult.
In this context, the TOLERANT (TransnatiOnaL network for Employment integRAtion of womeN vicTims of trafficking) project partners organised at the end of 2020 a conference with the aim to discuss the main project findings and foster an international dialogue about social and labour integration of vulnerable migrants, especially trafficked persons, and ways to support them.
The conference brought together more than 100 experts, stakeholders, professionals and interested parties, who shared their various perspectives on good practices and challenges supporting women Victims of Trafficking (VoT), and discussed recommendations and policies.
Participants agreed that the economic aftermath of the pandemic made it even more challenging for vulnerable people to access the labour market and find a job with decent working conditions. Especially women VoT for sexual exploitation face many more difficulties when accessing the labour market (i.e., trauma recovery, lack of language’s knowledge, lack of recognition of qualifications, difficulty to secure a job/income, cultural and gender barriers, etc.).
The main point that was raised in the panel discussion that took place is that, during lockdown, the job opportunities were fewer and the beneficiaries that had managed to get hired before the pandemic lost their jobs. It was also highlighted that during lockdown, the biggest challenge was to provide services for the victims through online systems. As a result, project partners have been forced to adjust their service provision and offer new concrete solutions for supporting vulnerable women.
In the different interactive workshops that took place after the panel discussion, participants had constructive debates on the topics of migration, gender, work and trafficking, and discussed about the importance of a human rights-based approach, putting the needs of trafficked women in the center of all actions. In this context, they agreed that an empowerment approach is pivotal for a holistic and sustainable social inclusion for trafficked women. It is important to design policies that recognize the importance of a direct access to the labour market for trafficked women being pivotal for their social inclusion.
Other important issues that were addressed is the strong connection between labour integration and intensive social work, as well as the importance of capacity building for trafficked women’s social inclusion.
After the discussion and workshops, project partners elaborated a series of policy recommendations reflecting the main outcomes of the transnational debate between experts, stakeholders and professionals. You can read the recommendations in the 4th Tolerant Newsletter.
In the framework of the Tolerant project, a guide was published aiming to support CSOs, services providers and public authorities to develop successful and integrated services for Third Country National women VoT, to enhance their social and labour market integration. You can download the guide, free, HERE.
A few words about Tolerant
Tolerant is a transnational network aiming to support women victims of trafficking, by focusing on their integration in the labour market and their economic empowerment. It was created under the European project TOLERANT – “Transnational Network for Employment integRAtion of women vicTims of trafficking” and it is managed and maintained by the 6 member organizations of the Project’s Consortium, working for the support of women VOTs in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and Austria.
The Tolerant Network Platform (http://www.tolerantnetwork.com/) is developed for the benefit of a variety of actors and stakeholders from Europe and beyond, who are facing similar challenges with the labour integration of VoTs in their countries. By supporting these women to take control of their lives and function as autonomously as possible in the country of stay, re-victimization will be reduced, as well as the risk of social exclusion, and the women will be able to become more active participants in the society.
For more information, please visit https://tolerantproject.eu/!