Press Release – 25.02.2021 Human Trafficking is Hidden in Plain Sight

 

PRESS RELEASE

Human Trafficking is Hidden in Plain Sight.

February 25th, 2021 – “Shine a Light on Slavery” Day

 

Globally, over 40 million* people suffer from exploitation. Be it sexual exploitation, forced labour, minor trafficking, forced marriages or other forms of human trafficking, the victims of the phenomenon end up profoundly traumatized and, often without the protection and the services that they so desperately need.

 

Romania continues to be one of the main source countries for victims of human trafficking in Europe, 2880 people having been identified in the latest Eurostat Report**. We firmly believe that this will not change unless all relevant actors work together and coordinate efficiently on the issue, not only at national level but also at international level: state institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations, and the general public.

 

Human trafficking knows no borders and does not take into account nationality, ethnicity, gender or age. Too many times, the burden is placed on the victims instead of calling out the phenomenon for what it is: organized crime and a grave breaches of fundamental human rights.

 

Seven embassies in Romania, Embassy of Canada, Royal Danish Embassy, French Embassy in Romania, Embassy of Israel in Romania, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Embassy of Sweden, The British Embassy in Bucharest, join efforts with eLiberare and thirteen other NGOs in the global awareness campaign End It Movement and mark on the 25th of February 2021 ”Shine a Light on Slavery” Day by saying a firm ”No!” to human trafficking and modern slavery.

 

The campaign is also joined by the following organizations: Abolishion, Institutul Bucovina, Fundația Missio Link International, Armata Salvării România (The Salvation Army Romania), LibertatED, JRS România, Acțiunea Catolică România, Asociația Centrul Creștin Betania, Asociația Dorcas România, Asociația Act Integration, Patrir, Open Doors and LOGS Grup de Inițiative Sociale

 

„Human trafficking and all forms of child exploitation is a horrific abuse of human rights and impacts all of us. Wherever it occurs human trafficking violates every value we stand for. Defeating it must unite us all in the fight to protect our most vulnerable citizens.” – Ambassador Annick Goulet, Embassy of Canada

 

“Human trafficking is an abomination, an affront to basic human dignity. There must be zero tolerance towards any form of modern slavery. To this end, we must shore up resources to ensure effective law enforcement at every level – locally, nationally and internationally.”  – Ambassador Søren Jensen, Royal Danish Embassy in Bucharest

 

“France is very concerned by the trafficking in human beings, which is predominantly a European issue; 70% of the identified victims and suspects in the EU are EU nationals. Most of the victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation are female nationals coming from Central and Eastern Europe. France is committed to work on common solutions to eradicate this phenomenon.” – Ambassador Laurence AUER, French Embassy in Romania

 

“The Embassy of Israel in Romania joins with determination the #EndItMovement. Throughout history, our people have endured many sorrows. From ancient times until only decades ago, when our brothers and sisters were exploited by a regime that regarded them as disposable slaves.  Shedding light on the subject and relentlessly promoting education and understanding are the means through which we can build together a brighter future. We invite everyone to join hands and say ¨No!¨ to human trafficking and modern slavery.” Ambassador David Saranga, Embassy of Israel in Romania,

 

“The Netherlands Embassy firmly supports efforts to fight trafficking of human beings. We can all agree that improving cross border cooperation is vital to better disrupt the business model of criminals, to help identify victims, to give them the necessary care and support and to prevent people from becoming a victim in the first place. Without a doubt, more effective implementation of policies is needed to push back on this terrible and highly profitable phenomenon. The Netherlands Embassy stands ready to work with Romanian governmental and non-governmental organizations to make this happen.”  – Ambassador Roelof Sander van Ees,  Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest

 

“The Swedish Embassy firmly supports efforts to fight trafficking in human beings. This is a global problem and we stand ready to support the #EndItMovement.” – Ambassador Therese Hydén, Swedish Embassy in Bucharest

 

This common awareness effort accompanies other concrete actions that the seven embassies are currently running in Romania, alongside civil society actors and state institutions: capacity building sessions, exchange programs, awareness campaigns, aftercare support and a clear focus on the issue in all the interactions with the Romanian state.

 

We are #InItToEndIt! #StopSclaviei #EndItMovement

 

*Global Slavery Index
**Third report on the progress made in the fight against trafficking in human beings

Contact person: Ioana Bauer, eLiberare President,  Tel: 0745902699

 

State of Emergency COVID-19 Response

We promised transparency, and we did. We have been at the forefront in this period, aligning and meeting the needs of the most affected by the pandemic that has hit the world.

We have responded in new ways to new challenges!


Starting with March 2020, just before the establishment of the state of emergency and until now (end of state of emergency – May 15, 2020), the Romanian Salvation Army mobilized exemplary in the fight against the effects of the pandemic and its impact on the disadvantaged population in the localities where we operate and also of other nearby localities.

The support provided consisted of:

  • 2,358 emergency food aid;
    • Hot meals
    • Food packages
    • Sandwiches
  • 947 of people to whom we served food packages;
    • Most of these people were either elderly people who could not travel to buy necessities, or children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds or families in self-isolation due to returning from abroad.
  • 7,904 clothing and footwear distributed to people in difficulty;
  • 1,268 educational support sessions for disadvantaged children (lessons in Romanian, Mathematics, English and French, music and creative arts) held online through various platforms;
  • 650 support phone calls and emotional counseling for people in solitary confinement at home;
  • 140 social counselors;
  • 38 medical consultations offered on the street to homeless people;
  • 494 packages of hygiene products, sterile masks and medicines distributed on the street, to homeless people, but also to disadvantaged people;
  • 16 Support groups for different ages: children, young people, adults and seniors. (Prayer, Bible study, children’s club, Sunday school);
  • 700 of participants in online support groups;
  • 258 showers for the homeless and disadvantaged;
  • 140 plush toys offered to children from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • 510 coffees and sweets;
  • drinking water,
  • furniture and small items that can have a major impact on the lives of those who are missing.

All these were obtained through the organization’s projects, sponsorships of companies or their employees (Amazon Romania, SOS Ploiești, ArhiDesign, Aprozărești Ploiești, 5toGo), own funds but also through hours of volunteering offered by brave and courageous people under the guidance of The Salvation Army officers and our employees.

Hope is greater than fear

We are in emergency because of this virus, Covid-19. It looks like an image taken from the movies. We continue to believe and hope that it is not real, that only too much is done, that we find excuses, that we can move to the online environment, exactly what we did not want, maybe we can avoid as much as possible, but, it is as real as possible and we are called to isolation, which makes everything very difficult, because man is created to socialize, to enjoy interpersonal relationships and to stay together!

However, the human being adapts quickly, God created us in a wonderful way!

Thus we have meetings and activities online, from young people and children, to adults and the elderly, who have adapted to modern times. We hold hands online and pray more than ever to see a future!

Our hope must be greater in this darkness that has been left over our world.

People need spiritual support as well as food and medicins. Several colleagues, officers and volunteers from the locations where the Salvation Army operates, have made huge efforts to reach those with such needs.

Salvation Army Mobile Team continues to look through Bucharest for homeless people, to help them reach the open shelters to receive them during the day.

The social laundry in Iași is open daily for the Rossetti center, the homeless people and the medical staff in hospitals. Everything is done with the necessary protection measures.

Because the school is not over and the children are still “going” to the online school, and we believe in continuing education, the SMART project has moved its after-school activities online. This is not only about education, but also about the need for a healthy socialization offered by our specialists, educators and social workers.

These days we are trying to remove the fear that has comprised humanity, with the hope we have in the good God. We do this through our actions and activities, taking all the protection and safety measures, obeying the recommendations given by the authorities and trusting God that #everythingwillbefine !

In closing, we quote a statement of the hope offered by Max Lucado, in his book “Unshakable Hope”.

“We are building our lives on the promises of God! Because his Word is unbreakable, our hope is unshakable. We do not stand on the problems of life or the pain in life. We stand on the great and precious promises of God.”

Ionuț and Roxy Sandu
Regional Leaders
The Salvation Army Romania