During the period of March 24 – 28, 2014 a study trip of Belarus delegation to Belgium took place with organizational support of IOM Brussels. The delegation consisted of representatives of NGOs from Gomel, Brest and Minsk, IOM and representatives of state agencies involved into coordination of the project activities, including the representatives of MFA, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and MoI.
During the study trip the participants had a great chance to meet with the representatives of the Bureau of the Interdepartmental Coordination Platform against THB. The platform itself includes representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Ministry of Social Protection, Federal Police, Migration Department, Center of Equal Opportunities. The bureau (secretariat) of this Platform works on the basis of the Ministry of Justice. In fact all of the mentioned above agencies are involved into the process of identification and referral of VoTs. During this meeting the Belarus Delegation got acquainted with the Legislative aspects of THB in Belgium, with the main tendencies in the field of THB (economic exploitation, sexual exploitation, smuggling of persons with aggravated circumstances, forced begging with majority of victims coming from China, Egypt, Morocco, Romania) and received the latest statistics on VoTs in this respect.
Three specialized shelters for victims of trafficking (located in Brussels – “PAG ASA”, and in the Noth – “PAYOKE” and the South of the country) provide protection and assistance for the victims of trafficking, including application for permanent residence permits, application for work permits. The shelters are also responsible for psychosocial and medical assistance, for informing VoTs about legal system in Belgium and necessary procedures, for preparation of victims for interviews with police, for sustaining regular contacts with investigators and prosecutors, for arranging the intervention of lawyers to represent victims in court. 80% of the shelters` costs are funded by the State; the rest 20% comes from international projects and private companies.
During the meeting at IOM Brussels, IOM representatives were able to introduce the topics of regional migration, labor migration and regional labor migration to the representatives from Belarus. Belarus representatives were able to share their experience of operation in the field of CT in Belarus, discussed the existing trends and challenges in this field in both countries, set up direct contacts with Belgian colleagues and acknowledged themselves with the Belgian CT legislation.
During the trip the following main objectives were met: to increase knowledge of the operation of National Referral Mechanism in Belgium (Interdepartmental Platform); to encourage cooperation between representatives of countries of origin, transit and destination; to contribute to information exchange; to learn legislation in the field of CT; to learn trends in the field of CT; to learn best practices in the field of CT (interdepartmental approach, victims protection programs, information campaigns targeting the countries of origin, best CT instruments in the given country, cooperation among state and non-state CT actors).