Regional Conference on Public Health Concerns, Services, Assistance and Prevention with Emphasis on the Needs of Victims of Trafficking (2002 - 2003)

Geographical Coverage: Hungary

Duration: November 2002 – April 2003

Donor: USAID

Status: Completed

Summary: The program aimed at providing a higher and more comprehensive level of assistance to victims of trafficking and at promoting international cooperation on public health concerns in the region. Trafficking in human beings is recognized to be a serious problem in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Much action has been taken to date to provide protection and assistance to trafficked victims, and to prosecute traffickers. However, not enough attention has been given to the serious health concerns that arise from trafficking. In addition to the obvious risks associated with potential exposure to sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS and re-emerging infectious diseases, trafficked victims also face psycho-traumatization, as well as physical and emotional abuse. At the initiative of the United States Embassy, the IOM Regional Mission in Budapest, with the sponsorship of USAID, organized a conference to address these issues. Together with health and counter-trafficking officials and experts from regional governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, conference participants drafted recommendations on providing a higher standard of health assistance to trafficked victims, and initiate a coordinated health policy. The conference also raised much-needed public awareness of this serious issue.