23 April 2004
Combating Human Trafficking and HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe Discussed at United Nations Workshop
VIENNA, 23 April (UN Information Service) -- Representatives from 16 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in Central and Eastern European countries are meeting in Vienna from 22 to 23 April 2004 for a workshop on NGO cooperation in combating trafficking in human beings.
The workshop, jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, the Advocacy Section and the HIV/AIDS Unit is focusing on the development of a best practice on media strategies to address trafficking in human beings and on mapping the connection between trafficking and HIV/AIDS. The participating NGOs work in the field of human trafficking and victim support. Based on their experiences and lessons learned in awareness-raising campaigns, the design and text of stickers, postcards and posters on trafficking in human beings will be finalized and production and distribution methods elaborated. The posters produced in the campaign will complement the two new video spots on the empowerment of victims that UNODC released this year.
The NGOs are also discussing trafficking and its relationship to HIV/AIDS. Of vital interest are questions relating to patient confidentiality versus control; mandatory/voluntary and confidential HIV testing for suspected victims of human trafficking; adequate provisions for HIV/AIDS victims, especially child victims; repatriation of HIV/AIDS trafficked victims; and the possible promotion of dangers of HIV/AIDS as a basis to fight against human trafficking in developed countries.
Trafficking in human beings, especially women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation, is a major concern for Central and Eastern European countries. The victims are lured with promises of good jobs abroad, but are instead sold into prostitution. Countries like Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Albania, Lithuania and Bulgaria are major countries of origin for human trafficking. The region, however, is also a major transit area and, to a lesser extent, a destination for victims. Sexual exploitation puts victims at greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, creating further problems for the victims.
Awareness-raising campaigns play a key role in the prevention of and the fight against human trafficking. A grant from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) facilitated the poster campaign of UNODC, and a Vienna-based public relations company, Men on the Moon, offered pro-bono support to the campaign.
NGOs from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine are attending the workshop.
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