On October 18th 2018, at the premises of the EU Info Center, a press conference was held to mark the #EuropeanAntiTraffickingDay and announce the beginning of an information campaign aimed to raise the awareness of the vulnerable populations on the dangers associated to trafficking in human beings with particular focus on trafficking in human beings for sexual, labor exploitation and child marriages as a form of child trafficking.
During the press conference, the EU Delegation, Head of Cooperation Mr. Nicola Bertolini noted that human trafficking is crime against humanity and that every year thousands of children, women and men fall into the hands of trafficking. He noted that prevention of human trafficking is one of the biggest challenges that the world is facing nowadays and that victims are mostly the most deprived and vulnerable members of the society.
The IOM’s Head of Office Ms. Sonja Bozinovska Petrushevska said that at global level since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided assistance to more than 90,000 victims of trafficking in human beings. In 2006, IOM mainly assisted victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, but the proportion of victims trafficked for forced labour has steadily risen to become the most significant category of victims assisted. However, at national level the predominant form is trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation, but there are also victims trafficked for purposes of labour exploitation and forced marriages. She pointed out that it is important future interventions to be focused on prevention actions by addressing the poverty, marginalization and lack of information among the people.
The Ministry of Interior’s State Secretary Ms. Magdalena Nestorovska pointed out the importance of the specialized national unit for fight against human trafficking – Task force composed of public prosecutors and law enforcement officers, as well the Mobile teams who have shown to be very effective in the area of identification, referral and assistance to actual and potential victims of trafficking.
The Ministry of Labour’s State Secretary Ms. Jovana Trencevska noted that during the first 6 months of the establishment of the five mobile teams, seven victims of trafficking were identified and assisted, all of them females and majority below 18 years of age.
Finally, the press conference was closed with a presentation of an informative video that is part of the campaign to prevent and fight against human trafficking.