Myth-busting trafficking in human beings

Time: 9:30-10:30 Tuesday 8 November

Venue: Galleriet

The workshop will address the myths posed by trafficking. How do adults, young people and children end up in situations of exploitation? Why is the rate of conviction so low and only extreme cases are considered trafficking? How can we protect the most vulnerable groups?

There is a lack in capacity and knowledge to identify potential victims of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers in the Baltic Sea Region. This situation leads to speculation and stereotypes, making it difficult to address this cross-border crime in its totality and assess the facts about trafficking. The workshop will attempt to connect the region by demystifying common misconceptions about trafficking in human beings and recommend ways to identify and protect vulnerable persons.

The lessons from EUSBSR Flagships will be brought into this session. The project ‘STROM – Strengthening the Role of Municipalities in the Work against Trafficking in Human beings in the Baltic Sea Region’, provides local actors with knowledge and the right tools to strengthen their work against human trafficking and increase effectiveness of the anti–trafficking actions, especially in the context of the migration crisis.

Additionally, under the Flagship ‘Comprehensive and sustainable child protection’, the PROTECT Children on the Move project takes on the unique risks for children in transnational situations.

Using existing international standards, the project provides step-by-step guidance for the assessment and decision making processes in transnational situations for the protection of the child’s human rights. The workshop will be organised in an interactive manner, involving the audience in demystifying trafficking in human beings.

The workshop will aim to bust these myths:
• Persons claiming to be victims in reality often are criminals (for example, in cases of trafficking for forced criminality, trafficking for terrorism, etc.).
• Violence is always used in human trafficking cases to control a victim.
• It is always in the best interest of the victim to accept assistance.
• Society accepts and understands a person in trafficking.
• Definition of trafficking is becoming too broad. Everything is labelled as human trafficking.
• Migrants who agree to poor terms of employment and end up exploited are not real victims and are not entitled to assistance.

The statements will be discussed in a panel consisting of experts from the government and NGO setting, academia, and beyond.

Moderator: Anthony Jay, CBSS, Head of Media and Communications.
Anna Ekstedt, Acting national coordinator against human trafficking at the County Administrative Board of Stockholm
Jan Austad, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Justice and Police, Norway
Maia Rusakova, CEO, the NGO ‘Stellit’, the Russian Federation
Venla Roth, Senior Officer and anti-human trafficking expert, the Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities/National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, Finland
Zbigniew Lasocik, Professor, Human Trafficking Studies Centre, the University of Warsaw, Poland



Main organiser:
Nordic Council of Ministers and Council of the Baltic Sea States

Seminar contact person:
Søren Stokholm Thomsen

Sub-objective of the EUSBSR:
Connect the Region: Better cooperation in fighting cross-border crime
Increase Prosperity: EUSBSR contributing to the implementation of Europe 2020