Organizations in 12 countries that help victims of human trafficking seek justice, return home and otherwise recover from their ordeal were collectively awarded some $300,000 today in the first grant of a new United Nations fund.
“A unique approach is being employed by the UN to channel severely needed funds to survivors of the horrific crime of human trafficking,” UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Yury Fedotov said, appealing for greater financial support for the Small Grants Facility, launched earlier this year as part of the UNODC-managed UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking.
“There is a critical need for increased donations so that we can step up this assistance. There is no place for human trafficking in the world and the Small Grants Facility has a role to play in eradicating this inhumane act,” he added of a $32-billion global industry, which is currently estimated to be exploiting over 2.4 million people, two-thirds of them women and children.
The 12 projects selected for the first year of the facility cover all major regions of the world and set to be rolled out in Albania, Cambodia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, India, Israel, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Moldova and the United States.
With projects running from 10 months up to three years, the funding assists in several areas, with the ultimate aim of empowering trafficking victims to regain their futures. The services include legal support to allow victims to seek justice against those who enslaved them; facilities to register their identities and return home, and much needed counselling, training and support to ensure they are in a position to rebuild their lives.
The 12 organizations are African Centre for Advocacy and Human Development (Nigeria); Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (US); Damnok Toek Poipet (Cambodia); Different and Equal (Albania); DNI (Costa Rica); Hors la Rue (France); Hotline for Migrant Workers (Israel); Institute for Democracy (Moldova); La Strada (Czech Republic); Shakti Samuha (Nepal), The CRADLE – the Children Foundation (Kenya); and the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation (Nepal/India).
The trust fund, formed late last year after the General Assembly called for greater global action against human trafficking, particularly from the survivors’ perspective, supports on-the-ground organizations and offers the opportunity for governments, the private sector, international organizations, non-government organizations (NGOs) and individuals to work together to help victims in practical and tangible ways.
It is administered by a board of trustees representing different regions and accepts donations to support these organizations working at the forefront of services to trafficking victims.