ERRC Conference Facilitates Stakeholder Discussion of Trafficking in Romani Communities
10 December 2010
BUDAPEST, 10 DECEMBER 2010: At a conference hosted on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, experts provided feedback on the results of a study by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and People in Need Slovakia (PiN) indicating that Roma are over-represented among victims of trafficking in several central European countries.
The research, conducted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, indicates that Roma are highly vulnerable to trafficking due to structural forms of discrimination and poverty which result in low socio-economic status, low educational achievements and high levels of unemployment. Based on information gathered during primary interviews with law enforcement authorities, anti-trafficking service providers and Romani and non-Romani NGOs, Roma are perceived to represent 50-80% of trafficking victims in Bulgaria, 40-80% in Hungary, 70% in Slovakia, up to 50% in parts of Romania and up to 70% in parts of the Czech Republic. At the same time, very few Roma were reported to access victim prevention and protection services in the target countries and general social protection systems are failing to reduce the extreme vulnerability of Roma to trafficking.
During the conference, ERRC Executive Director Robert Kushen explained, “It is clear that trafficking exists in Romani communities and its impact is grave. But this issue has been highly politicised and used by prominent public figures to spur negative public opinion against Roma. Our aim is to raise awareness and depoliticise this issue to ensure that the systems in place begin to work effectively to combat this practice in Romani communities.”
During the conference, the experts present provided input on the draft report and contributed to the formulation of recommendations to the governments of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. In 2011, the ERRC will publish the final results of the study, which was supported by the European Commission's Daphne III Programme.
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ERRC Media and Communications Officer