KISA’s seminar on “Civil Society Exchange & Networking on Trafficking in Human Beings”, organised in the framework of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 of October, met with great success. The Seminar was officially opened on Monday, 21st of October 2013, at KISA’s premises, while the working sessions took place on 22 and 23 of October 2013, at the Cyprus Community Media Centre.
The main objective of the Seminar was to renew, develop and strengthen sustainable networking, exchanges and cooperation among non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil society actors working against trafficking in human beings, in both parts of Cyprus and the main countries of origin and transition of trafficking victims, with the aim of reinforcing and promoting the more systematic, holistic and effective protection and support of trafficking victims, as well as to combating this heinous crime, in the countries of origin, transition and destination.
The welcome opening of the Seminar was addressed by the American Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus, Mr John M. Koenig, and the Chairperson of KISA’s Steering Committee, Ms Anthoula Papadopoulou. In his speech, Mr Koenig noted that “these are huge challenges and governments cannot do this alone. They cannot do the job of combating trafficking in persons or modern day slavery by themselves. It requires close cooperation with NGOs”.
The first session of the Seminar began with the welcoming remarks of the Coordinator of the Bi-communal Support Program, Dr. Juliette Dickstein, while the key speech was made by the Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, Mr George Markopouliotis, who presented the European Commission’s views and actions on the issue. The Head of the Anti-Discrimination Body of the Ombudsman’s Office, Mr Aristos Tsiartas, observed that “NGO’s fill the gaps in existing state policies and programs and may play a very important role in assisting anti-trafficking task forces in preventing trafficking, protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers”.
The Seminar was attended by Greek and Turkish Cypriot NGOs, which presented the perspectives and constraints they are facing in their efforts to raise public awareness and combat human trafficking in both sides of the island. Of critical significance was the participation and contribution of international and national NGOs, from Eastern and Central Europe, focusing on sexual exploitation, as well as from America and Southeast Asia, focusing on labour exploitation.
In parallel, the representatives of the participating civil society organizations had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences, as well as views and ideas in relation to the methods and operation routes of trafficking rings in Cyprus and abroad. In addition, the participants committed to developing and intensify joint actions, in the framework of an informal cooperation network, which will respect the particularities of each organization and based upon their equal representation, aiming to combat human trafficking.
KISA organized the Seminar with the support and financial assistance of the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus.
Notes for editors:
All the material (including press releases, agenda, photos, speeches and presentations) from the Seminar “Civil Society Exchange & Networking Seminar on Trafficking in Human Beings” is uploaded on the webpage: https://kisa.org.cy/trafficking/.