On 19 and 20 January 2017, TRACKS project partners have met in Brussels to hold the project’s mid-term workshop. The overall objective of this event was to discuss the project’s achievements in 2016 - in particular the findings of the research conducted throughout seven European countries, and to prepare the ground for 2017.
The findings of the research discussed during the mid-term workshop show that much remains to be done in the Member States studied when it regards identification and consideration of victims of trafficking special needs in the asylum process: few countries studied have set up an effective procedure to identify such needs and when they are identified they are generally insufficiently met. The issues of the identification of the victims themselves as well as their access to the asylum procedures also remain challenging in most countries studied although they constitute pre-conditions for harnessing the asylum-THB nexus from a victim-centred and needs-based approach.
Some good practices have however been reported that should be taken a step further to be fully efficient and mainstreamed. The consolidated report presenting the findings of the research is expected to be launched in June 2017. A separate online report giving voices to those survivors of trafficking having been through the asylum process and interviewed for the purpose of the project is to be produced as well during the year 2017. In addition, the partnership of the TRACKS project has held one day working session on the conception of a practical tool to support practitioners in identifying and meeting special needs of victims of trafficking in the asylum process. This working session has been held on 20 January and aimed to discuss the overall objective and common form of the tool in view of its transposition to the various national contexts. Experts from the European Commission, EASO and UNHCR have participated to this working session and have shared really interesting and useful perspectives and ideas with the group in order to maximize the impact of the tool, bring genuine added-value and avoid duplications.
Based on those discussions, it has been decided that the tool would be a tool-box aiming addressed to professionals providing legal and psycho-social support and services to asylum seekers. The tool-box shall support and improve the identification of victims of trafficking special needs in the asylum process and the orientation of victims accordingly. This tool-box has a common outline that will be tailored at national level.
The partnership warmly thanks the experts from the above mentioned organisations who have actively contributed to the mid-term workshop. A follow-up experts’ seminar is to be organised in October 2017.