Protection and Counseling: Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking

Project Name: Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking
Project Type: Protection and Counseling
Project Location: Herat, Afghanistan
Duration of Project: Since November 2010
Donor and Partner of Project: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Status of Project: Ongoing

Afghanistan is a traditional and patriarchal country where women have had limited access to decision-making and resources. Women’s movement and their access to outdoors activities have been limited and mostly dependent on male members of the families. During the three decades of war in Afghanistan and mass displacements of the population, hundreds and thousands of women have lost their husbands or other male supporters; have become themselves the victims of domestic violence and trafficking. As indicated in  International Organization for Migration Field Survey Report June 2008 “Various human rights violation such as forced marriage, child marriage, child abuse and domestic violence are contributing to the creation of an environment fostering or tolerating trafficking in person in Afghanistan”.

Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Trafficking within Afghanistan is more prevalent than transnational trafficking, and the majority of victims are children and adults. As indicated in the IOM Field Survey Report June 2008 that majority of the trafficked victims are adult girls and children.

Trafficking in persons is a process the result of which is control of one human being by another for the purpose of exploitation. Although only a small percentage of trafficking victims go or are taken to shelter/safe house these facilities can play an important part in a comprehensive effort to address human  trafficking that includes prevention, protection and prosecution. The essential services that shelters provide can help trafficking victims recover and move toward reintegration into society. Rehabilitation center or safe house itself is an approach to combating human trafficking.  

Based on the IOM 2008 report Herat has the highest number of trafficked victims because it has border with Iran and Turkmenistan that mostly women have been trafficked to and from Iran and other neighboring countries. HAWCA’s emphasis is that if there is a protection facility in Herat to protect the victim of trafficking for sure it’s a step toward counter-trafficking or at least decrease the number of trafficking cases within the country and the borders.

The rehabilitation and residential house for victims of trafficking has variety of facilities for the victims where they feel as comfortable as home. This house provides them with shelter and three times meals but this is not our only responsibility to provide them with safe heaven. Most importantly, they are receiving psycho-social care and legal assistance. As the rehabilitation of the victims is priority for HAWCA therefore, they are receiving formal and informal education including human rights awareness and vocational skill building training to make them economically empower. We try our best to do the reunification and reintegration of victims to the society and do its follow-up. Beside these activities, there are variety of recreational activities for them inside the house which keeps them entertained and busy which is an approach to forget their pain and misery and to think of new life again. This project is implemented in close partnership with DoLSA and is funded by International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The project has public awareness raising campaign through publishing informative posters on counter-trafficking and prevention of HIV/AID. A brochure will be published on the topics related to the counter-trafficking and prevention of victims from being trafficked or re-trafficking. A book comprised of victims stories will be published both in Dari and English in order to raise awareness through this book but we will make sure not disclose the identity of the victims or put their life at risk. Many existing information sharing structure and mechanisms will help all the stakeholders’ to take serious step in counter-trafficking and combating human trafficking in person. This information sharing sessions will also make the involved government and non-government organization responsible to work in a more coordinated way to find strong approaches and mechanism to work in collaboration to combat human trafficking and protecting the victims by giving them justice.