[Stop-traffic] (no subject)

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] (no subject)
From: WYSS Martin (MWyss@iomskopje.org.mk)
Date: Fri Dec 22 2000 - 13:43:37 EST


FYR of MACEDONIA - TRAFFICKING - The IOM office in Skopje is assisting 35
girls and women victims of trafficking to return home in time for the
holidays. The 35 victims, among them nine minors, will return home on two
IOM-organised charter flights leaving Skopje tomorrow (23 December) to
Romania and Moldova. Twenty-three women are from Moldova, 11 from Romania
and one is from Belarus.
In a report broadcast on German television last week (17 December), a
16-year-old Bulgarian girl said she was sold to a nightclub in Tetovo, (near
Macedonia's northern border with Kosovo) and that hundreds of German
soldiers were among her clients. In the televised report, a German soldier
acknowledged being with the same girl, and said that he knew other KFOR
soldiers who frequented brothels in the FYR of Macedonia where under age
girls are being kept. The same soldier added that he had received IOM's
anti-trafficking calendar, which includes a telephone help line, and that he
had passed it on to the girl who then contacted IOM.
As the news reached Skopje and was spread by the Macedonian media, it
coincided with one of the biggest raids carried out thus far by the
authorities. Last weekend some 100 girls and women were rescued from 16
bars that were raided in the towns of Tetovo and Gostivar.
Unfortunately IOM's partners in the Macedonian Government, the department
for migration and the organised crime unit, were not immediately informed
and as a consequence some sixty women were expelled from the country by
police who seemed to be acting on their own.
Despite IOM and OSCE awareness raising efforts, some elements within the
Macedonian police continue to see victims of trafficking as illegal
prostitutes. This is in contrast to the strong government stance against
trafficking. The FYR of Macedonia has just signed the Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
This Protocol states that the victims of trafficking must be protected and
assisted and their human rights must be respected.
On 13 December in Palermo, Italy, an "Anti-Trafficking Declaration" was
signed by Government Ministers from the countries of the Stability Pact for
South Eastern Europe, recognising the "pressing and growing importance" of
the problem of trafficking in human beings in the region and launching
regional action and co- operation. The Declaration was signed on the
margins of the UN Conference on the signing of the International Crime
Convention and its Optional Protocol on Trafficking in Human Beings by
Ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey,
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and representatives from Kosovo and
Montenegro.
Although the women will be home in time for the holidays, they've told IOM
that the living conditions they will find will be no better than those that
existed when they decided to leave their countries in search of better
opportunities abroad. The girls blame the existing conditions of abject
poverty as the reason why many young women from Eastern European countries
respond to dubious job offers in Western Europe. On the way, they fall into
the hands of unscrupulous traffickers who buy and sell women for the purpose
of sexual exploitation.
IOM Skopje provides protection and safe housing, medical and psychological
assistance, procurement of travel documents, and reception upon arrival.
Once back in their countries, IOM and partner NGOs provide counselling and
offer a reintegration package for the victims, which includes continued
medical and psychological assistance, professional counselling and
vocational training and micro credits, job-referral and/or subsidised
employment. While alleviating some of the reintegration difficulties much
more needs to be done to provide basic conditions making their social and
economic reinsertion feasible.
Recognising the magnitude of the problem and IOM's work on behalf of the
victims of trafficking, the Kingdom of Belgium has contributed 414,000 Euros
to the IOM Skopje trafficking project. Since the IOM assistance programme
was set up last August, the IOM office in Skopje has directly assisted 110
victims of trafficking to return home. Working with the IOM office in
Pristina, IOM Skopje has assisted 115 women who had been trafficked to
Kosovo.

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