ASTRA is an organization dedicated to eradicating all forms of exploitation and trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, as well as supporting the search for missing children.
THE VALUES ON WHICH THEIR WORK IS BASED
- Respect for human rights in accordance with international standards
- Tolerance and respect for diversity
- Striving for the highest standards of work
- Commitment and professionalism
ASTRA was founded in 2000 and is the first to point to the problem of human trafficking in Serbia. As a leader in the field of combating trafficking in human beings in our country, ASTRA has been addressing this issue comprehensively since its inception, ie. treats different forms of trafficking and different categories of victims - women, children and men. At the same time, it works in the areas of prevention, education, public awareness, providing direct assistance to victims, reintegration, research and reporting, public advocacy at the strategic and operational levels, and supports the construction of a functioning and effective system for combating trafficking that fully respects the human rights of victims.
Serbia is the country of origin, transit and destination of victims of trafficking. At the beginning of our work, the entire society - both citizens and state bodies - were unaware of the problem and the importance of suppressing it. Therefore, ASTRA pays special attention to raising public awareness and prevention,
as well as educating
all actors - state and civilian - involved in assisting victims during the recovery and reintegration process, as well as prosecuting perpetrators.
ASTRA has so far led or participated in nine major anti-trafficking campaigns
: "Open Your Eyes" (2002), "There is a Way Out" (2004), "Save Children From Trafficking" (2005), "Trafficking in Children - Our Reality" ”(2006),“ Naked Facts ”(2008),“ STOP Trafficking in Children ”(2011),“ Work Exploitation. Trafficking in human beings. Serious and Organized Crime, "Stop Work Exploitation" (2012, "Prevent, Protect, Reimburse" (2014), "Migrations are OK. These are People" (2017). In addition, ASTRA, as an organizer and / or lecturer, participated in basic and specialized trainings for police officers, judges and prosecutors, doctors, teachers, NGO activists, human rights lawyers and media representatives.
Particular attention is paid to working with young people, who in the general sense are a category at risk of trafficking. Peer workshops, lectures, street actions are organized for them, and ASTRA activists strive to be present at all events that bring together a large number of young people.
The ASTRA SOS Telephone and Direct Victim Assistance
Program was launched in February 2002. It was initially conceived as a telephone service for the prevention of trafficking in human beings, but its purpose was expanded when a month later a first call was received directly in connection with a case of trafficking in human beings. By the end of July 2018, a total of over 35200
calls had been received from 5440
female clients. Of these, a total of 503
persons were identified as victims of trafficking, and 171 of
themwere children. ASTRA SOS telephone is still the only SOS telephone in Serbia specialized in the problem of trafficking in human beings in the field of prevention, direct assistance to victims and support for their families and their close environment. During 2018, ASTRA SOS Telephone was licensed by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' Affairs and Social Welfare.
The ASTRA SOS hotline
for assistance to victims of trafficking and prevention of this problem is +381 11 785 0000
or 0800 101 201 (free of charge for calls from Serbia) is available to citizens every working day from 9am to 5pm.
Since May 2012, ASTRA has also been running the European Missing Child Number 116,000
on the territory of Serbia, which is available 24/7.
Direct assistance to victims is provided taking into account the best interests and individual needs of trafficked persons and with their full participation. Assistance ASTRA is guided by the principles of trust, respect for diversity and individual desires, needs and dynamics of recovery, non-discrimination and the highest professional standards. All cases are managed and monitored according to an individual recovery plan, with full respect for the pace of recovery, wishes and needs of each individual client.
Under the SOS Telephone and Direct Victim Assistance Program, trafficking survivors and their families have access to various types of assistance: assistance and support during the search, identification, recovery and reintegration processes; psychological assistance (individual and group therapy, self-help groups, etc.); legal assistance (legal advice and court representation in criminal, civil and non-contentious proceedings); medical assistance (general and specialist examinations, medical therapy and medical treatments). The ASTRA Mobile Field Action Team is also part of this program, always ready to accompany clients from the moment of identification during their recovery and reintegration, helping them successfully overcome any administrative obstacles they face in achieving their basic human and civil rights. In the process of reintegration, activities aimed at improving the economic potential and employability of clients are also very important. This includes a range of activities - formal and informal vocational training or adult education programs, economic empowerment training, foreign language and computer literacy courses, support and job search assistance.
The reintegration program has been further strengthened through the ASTRA Day Center
, launched in January 2007, which has been operational in the last few years as needed and the availability of resources in the organization. It is primarily intended for victims of trafficking who are not placed in shelters and are therefore left outside existing assistance programs. For them, the Day Center is a safe place where they can participate in various activities that they design and participate in, such as creative workshops, sports and recreational programs and the like. The day care center also houses children from orphanages who are at increased risk of becoming victims of trafficking.
In addition to direct assistance to victims, the ASTRA SOS telephone also has a preventive role
. Preventive calls account for approximately one-fifth of all calls received. Namely, since recruitment of victims of human trafficking in Serbia is usually done through formal and informal business offers, only ASTRI citizens can receive information and recommendations for safe migration, employment and education in the country and abroad, as well as legal advice in the field of employment , ie. checking the legitimacy of the employer, the destination and the contract of employment offered.
In order to provide better quality assistance to its clients, as well as to improve the mechanism of assistance and protection of victims, ASTRA cooperates, through networks or in case work, with numerous organizations from Serbia and abroad. In order to contribute to capacity building of local communities and decentralization, ASTRA has set up a network of cooperative organizations
, consisting of eight independent organizations from Serbia that work, among other things, on trafficking prevention in their cities.
Research and Reporting
is another important ASTRA activity. When ASTRA came into operation, very little was known in Serbia about the theoretical and practical aspects of trafficking. Also, human trafficking is a very dynamic phenomenon, and traffickers are quickly adapting to change and changing their way of maintaining high earnings. The research and reporting program emerged from the need to investigate the changing trends in human trafficking in order to counteract this phenomenon more successfully. In addition, we want to leave a written trace of our experience and knowledge, and thus help anyone who works or will work in the field of combating trafficking in human beings. Since 2004, ASTRA has been publishing a quarterly e-newsletter that provides an overview of all activities in the field of combating and preventing trafficking in human beings in Serbia, distributed to more than 1000 addresses.