Breaking the Silence

Trafficking in Romani Communities
Breaking the Silence


Date of publication:  20 Mar 2011 Publisher:  European Roma Rights Center Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The research conducted by the ERRC and PiN in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia indicates that trafficking in persons affects Roma disproportionately. Although relevant official data does not exist, the estimates provided for the perceived representation of Roma among trafficked persons in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania are several times higher than the proportion of Roma in the general population. Research in 2010 for this study indicated that Roma represent 50-80% of trafficked persons in Bulgaria, up to 70% in parts of the Czech Republic, at least 40% in Hungary, 22 around 50% in Romania23 and at least 60% in Slovakia. The research for this study was conducted in three stages. 1. Legal and policy research: A researcher in each of the five countries conducted an initial legal and policy review between May and October 2009. The research team reviewed relevant national legislation and policy related to the prosecution of traffickers and the protection of victims, including their security inside and outside of the courtroom. The establishment and functioning of national coordination bodies and victim assistance policies were reviewed, such as protocols on victim identification, strategies for prevention and awareness campaigns, as well as the provision of a comprehensive package of services for victims, including social assistance, medical care and psychological and legal counselling. Anti-trafficking policies were checked for the presence of measures addressing concerns particular to women, children and the Romani community. Policies designed to improve social inclusion and the situation of Roma were examined for reference to trafficking issues. The anti-discrimination law framework in each country was examined, and relevant policy documents were cross-referenced for issues affecting protected categories such as ethnicity, sex and age. Researchers also examined anti-trafficking policies and policies designed to improve social inclusion and the situation of Roma, analysing whether policy documents on trafficking specifically address concerns particular to women, children and the Romani community. 2. Field research: Between February and April 2010, field research was conducted nationally by a team composed of a lead researcher and a community researcher, using qualitative research methods. All community researchers were of Romani origin with the exception of the community researcher in Slovakia. The field research team was trained on the definition of trafficking in persons, interviewing persons with trauma, and research safety and ethics. The aims of this report are to: 1. Map the purposes and perceived impact and extent of trafficking on Romani persons; 2. Identify vulnerability factors that put Romani individuals at risk of trafficking; 3. Outline what governments and civil society are or are not doing with regard to prevention, protection and prosecution; and 4. Provide credible, evidence-based information on how Romani communities are affected by trafficking in human beings in order to inform rights-based anti-trafficking and social inclusion policy and programming.

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