SecuCities Women: Crossborder cooperation and victims of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, 2001-2003

SecuCities Women: Crossborder cooperation and victims of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, 2001-2003
Duration of the project: 1 November 2001 – 31 January 2003

As a follow-up to an earlier project (SécuCités Women – Crossborder cooperation and trafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation), the European Forum organised visits by two counterparts from cities in Central or Eastern Europe – a representative of a voluntary association and a representative of an institution –to twinned cities in Western Europe.

The project was intended to disclose ways in which the market of sexual exploitation is controlled by coercive organised networks based in Central and Eastern Europe. Its goal was to build on existing information and know-how, to optimize intervention skills and resources, and to implement a genuine social policy, one that would not be restricted to countries within the European Union, through a partnership which would bring together those countries which are known to be centrally involved in the traffic of human beings.
Re-integration of women victims of trafficking in their countries of origin and/or in receiving countries remains one of the most difficult and pressing issues.

Visits to cities:
Seven visits to seven cities in Western Europe were organised. For a whole week, two counterparts from each Eastern or Central European twinned city (one representative of the city and one representative of an association), accompanied by a project coordinator, met with police officers, public prosecution officers, city coordinators, elected representatives, members of NGOs, immigration services, social services, health care services, services responsible for tracking sexually transmitted diseases, and support services for drug addicts.

In each case, the two counterparts asked to visit other municipal services (care of drug addicts, services tracking sexually transmitted diseases, shelters for refugee children, etc.) in order to see what responses have been developed to problems which are becoming increasingly common in the cities of Central and Eastern Europe.

Seven host cities in Western Europe and seven cities in Central and Eastern Europe which had previously been twinned: Frankfurt (D) and Brno (CZ); Nice (F) and Vilnius (Lithuania); Vienna (A) and Györ (HUN); Bologna (I) and Kuçova (ALB); Heerlen (NL) and Lodz (PL); Antwerp (B) and Kiev (Ukraine); Brussels (B) and Sofia (BG).

A two-day closing seminar was organised by the EFUS with the help of the City of Paris. On the first day, the seminar was enlarged to include representatives of voluntary associations; it was held in the Hôtel de Ville and was attended by the Deputy Mayor responsible for Urban Safety.

On the second day, the partners continued their work at the headquarters of the European Forum. Follow-up plans were discussed in order to keep alive the network which has grown out of the three years of cooperation.