Ms Natalja Kurcinskaja, Director of The Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, along with Ms Justina Šerėnaitė and fellow staff members, attended the Conference on “Challenges in fighting Human Trafficking”, 17th September, 2015.
Amongst the delegates were police officers, public prosecutors, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, NGOs and representatives of local administrative institutions, all of whom considered the specific challenges faced in fighting Human Trafficking in Lithuania.
Human Trafficking in its various guises was explored, for example, minors being trafficked in order to steal and minors being trafficked in order to feature in fighting shows.
Delegates learned of the almost impregnable international infrastructure which surrounds and protects traffickers, thus making it more difficult to apprehend the perpetrators.
Considerable time was given to considering the victims of human trafficking and the extent of their traumas. The traumas can be so intense for victims that they are reluctant to make court appearances in pursuit of their traffickers. In many instances, victims are too frightened to testify or when they do and it comes to a final date for a court appearance, they change their testimonies.
The main purpose of the Conference was to maximise the potential of existing legislation to assist the organisations working to prevent human trafficking. It was agreed that victims do not get the essential supports required because of a lack of co-ordination amongst the national institutions and NGOs.
From 23rd – 25th September, another Conference on human trafficking was held at the United States Embassy in Lithuania, again attended by representatives of the Police force, office of the Public Prosecutor, Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, NGOs and local administrative institutions.
US Federal Court Judge, Virginia Kendall, gave the keynote address, drawing from her many years of experience in working to prevent human trafficking.
Clearly there is a concerted effort being made in Lithuania, to combat and prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of persons and it is believed that collaboration and communication amongst all concerned, is key to the success into the future.
Much more information about the Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre at www.missing.lt
Adapted and compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person