“Supporting and protecting victims of human trafficking is a way to fight it” Interview with Patrick Hauvuy, Director of ALC

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The French association ALC received the French 2014 Crime Prevention Award for its scheme titled Ac.Sé (accueil sécurisant, secure support), which offers support and protection to victims of human trafficking. Interview with Patrick Hauvuy, Director of ALC.

Patrick Hauvuy receiving the Crime Prevention Award

Patrick Hauvuy receiving the Crime Prevention Award

How does the Ac.Sé scheme contribute to preventing and fighting human trafficking?

One of the ways the scheme fights against trafficking in human beings is by caring for victims, protecting them and making sure they are physically kept far away from the traffickers who threaten them.

Over the past ten years or so, we have developed a training programme for the identification of victims of trafficking, as part of a European project led by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This training module is targeted towards voluntary sector organisations and care agencies, the police and magistrates. More than 1200 people have been trained.

The 70 organisations that are partner in our network act as local “resource centres” and contribute to local policies related to trafficking.

This scheme is founded on a remarkable partnership, which is one of the reasons why you were distinguished by the jury. Tell us about it.

Most of our partners are accommodation and social rehabilitation centres (Centres d’Hébergement et de Réinsertion Sociale, CHRS). They care for one victim each year (some centres can take more than one person).

The voluntary associations and institutional agencies that are in contact with victims inform the coordination, which then seeks a place in protected accommodations. Partners provide the network with accommodations. They are all invited to two national seminars each year and receive constant support from us.

This network is based on accommodation structures that were originally generalist and then specialised in victims of trafficking, which was our choice.

The award will thus go to all the partners of our network. They do a remarkable job, every day, to help victims.

“The project carried out in 1998 with Efus paved the way. Indeed, it was based on a multidisciplinary approach and bilateral relations between countries of origin and of destination.”

You have received a €10,000 prize. Do you already know what aspects of the scheme you will develop with this money?

The full amount will be allocated to our fund for victim support. It will finance professional training projects, legal aid, and transport for those who need to travel. Financing will be allocated after consultation with the partner organisations and depending on each, individual project.

We must emphasise that victims of human trafficking are entitled to receive support from the Compensation Board for Victims of Crime (Commission d’indemnisation des victimes d’infractions, CIVI). Unfortunately, most cases are judged for “pimping” or “aggravated pimping”, which prevents victims of human trafficking from being beneficiaries.

You will represent France at the European Crime Prevention Award. During the French award ceremony, you mentioned that a programme led by the European Forum for Urban Security contributed to this project. What is the added value of a European approach on this issue?

It is a great responsibility and an honour to represent our country and the actors of our network at the European level. The need to work on this issue and to take into account its transnational nature became clear as soon as people from central and eastern Europe began to appear in the French prostitution scenes, for example in Nice. Human trafficking affects both the countries of origin and of destination (supply and demand, legislation on migration, fight against organised crime, public spaces and public order…).

The project carried out in 1998 with the European Forum for Urban Security (Secucities – Women Victims of Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation and Transborder Cooperation) paved the way. Indeed, it was based on a multidisciplinary approach and bilateral relations between countries of origin and of destination.

Sharing good practices, exchanging and crosschecking information, judicial cooperation: all of these elements are key when fighting human trafficking and supporting victims.