ASSIST – European Event on Human Trafficking

Today, JustRight Scotland spoke at an international event on human trafficking to mark the end of #16Days of Activism and the International Day of Human Rights.

The European Network of Migrant Women held an online seminar, ASSISTING TRAFFICKED WOMEN, on best practices in legal assistance and integration support to female migrant victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Europe. 

JustRight Scotland spoke alongside representatives of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW), OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), GREVIO Committee on the Istanbul Convention, and the European Union’s office of Anti Trafficking Coordinator.

This event is the culmination of a two year funded EU-funded project focusing on long term integration of trafficked women recovering from sexual exploitation as well as empowering survivors to play a leadership and mentoring role in our response to human trafficking at an operational as well as strategic and policy level in Scotland.

The project has produced a report on best practice principles of working with women affected by human trafficking for sexual exploitation and the full report and summary report are noted below.

Download ASSIST report (English) on best practice principles

Summary of Best Practice Principles

JustRight, a part of the ASSIST partnership spoke on best practice and barriers to service implementation, to meet the complex and long-term needs of female migrant victims of the gendered crime of trafficking and a form of violence against women.

Kirsty Thomson, Director of JustRight Scotland comments: –

As the UK leaves the EU, we reflect on what we have gained from this project and that EU anti-trafficking funding streams provide a vital and much needed lifeline to civil society organisations like JustRight Scotland, allowing us to continue our dedicated assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings, while also giving the opportunity for us to explore and exchange best practices among the partnering Member States. We are delighted to have partnered on the ASSIST Project with some of the leading feminist service providers in the EU. As we leave the EU and deal with the impact of a global pandemic –it is important that we continue to work together across borders in the fight against human trafficking; civil society, law enforcement, government and importantly individuals with lived experience.


Notes to editors

About the EU ASSIST Project

The ASSIST Project, funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, is a two-year project led by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), in partnership with the organisations from Germany (SOLWODI), Italy(BeFree), Spain(SURT) and the UK(JustRight Scotland), as well as the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW). It responds to priority 5 of the AMIF call, concerning the Integration of victims of trafficking in human beings.

The project contributes towards the integration of third country national female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. There is a recognised link between the assistance needs of victims and factors including their gender, the form of exploitation they have suffered, and their residence status (Directive 2011/36/EU).

This is particularly relevant to female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, who often have very complex needs and long recovery path (European Commission, Study on the Gender Dimension of Trafficking in Human Beings, 2016; EIGE, Gender-specific Measures in Anti-trafficking Actions, 2018). The gendered nature of human trafficking, which represents a form of gender-based violence stands at the core of the concept and the work programme of this project. In responding to the priorities of the AMIF (5), the project takes into account the implications of the migration developments since 2015, affecting the most vulnerable victims of human trafficking, in particular migrant women and children.

The ASSIST project develops and delivers gender specific legal assistance and practical support to female third country national victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation (trafficked migrant women) in EU Member States in order to contribute towards their integration.

The project partners, comprising support organisations and independent law centres have delivered structured gender specific legal assistance, information and overall support to more than 50 trafficked migrant women to date in areas central to their integration in the respective EU Member States. In particular, this work focuses on addressing special legal needs, on the availability and accessibility of material assistance and safe and appropriate housing, through designated shelters or mainstream services, specialised psychological support, access to training and employment, and overall integration support and empowering aimed at longer terms solutions for such victims.

ASSIST is based on a victim-centred and gender-specific approach, whereas ethical considerations receive the extreme level of attention they deserve due to the nature of the project. Victims of trafficking play a central role in both the conceptualisation and the implementation of the project. On a practical level, victims participate as experts and service providers in the project. Direct victims’ opinions were gathered for the purposes of authentic understanding of the gender-specific needs of trafficked migrant women. Victims were also involved in the design and the production of the information materials of the project. Victims also played an important role in the services delivered through an innovative pilot programme established in Ireland, Italy, UK/Scotland, Germany and Spain/Catalonia, in which survivors were recruited and trained as mentors for peer-to-peer support work.

Press contact

Kirsty Thomson, and 0141 406 5352