The general director of the Civil Guard (one of the biggest groups of the Spanish law enforcement), Félix Azón, and the director of the abolicionist association A21 Spain, Loida Muñoz, presented an awareness campaign against human trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation.
The aim of this campaign is the prevention of human trafficking by raising awareness and protecting victims in shelters and transition homes.
It also pursues the prosecution of traffickers and the strengthening of the legal response, as well as the association with security forces, individuals and corporations, law enforcement and state and other organisations.
The general director stressed the importance of promoting, through initiatives such as this one, the elimination of any type of forced work that comes from the perverse action of criminal organizations and groups.
Azón thanked A21 for responding to those needs, as well as for its collaboration with the Civil Guard.
He also addressed the victims, to whom this campaign is essentially oriented, to help them be aware of their situation of vulnerability and encourage them, where appropriate, to denounce.
Passport To Indicators Of Trafficking
The police branch and A21 also presented an information leaflet for possible victims, called “Passport to indicators of trafficking”, in which the main indicators of human trafficking are explained in a simple way, so that victims can recognise them and be aware of their circumstances.
Along with the indicators, the brochure makes an invitation to the victims and to all those who are aware of any case of trafficking or slave labor, to inform the Civil Guard about it.
It has a passport format and the content is translated in nine languages (Spanish, English, French, Romanian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Russian, Chinese and Arabic), all included in the same brochure, so that it can be distributed to all types of people, all across the country.
The languages have been chosen based on the languages spoken by the victims of human trafficking in Spain, since many times they do not speak Spanish, due to the isolation brought by the traffickers.
The distribution will be carried out by the Civil Guard, during inspections in particularly sensitive places, rural areas or brothels, as well as in places where foreigners usually go, such as ports or airports.
A21 A21 has been collaborating with the Civil Guard in a very active way, since they began their activity in Spain, providing information on human trafficking that has led to investigations and, above all, working with other NGOs to protect and serve human trafficking and exploitation victims released in the Civil Guard operations.
In recent months, its support has been key to the relocation of numerous victims. An example is the UROFORT operation, against a criminal organization that offered temporary crews to work on the olive harvesting campaign.
Twenty people were arrested and 13 victims of Romanian and Moldovan nationality were released, who got their rights restored through resources managed by A21.
68 Victims Released In 2019
The Civil Guard published “Forced labor” in January, a documentary that makes this problem, the suffering of the victims and the work of the Civil Guard, visible.
So far this year, the Civil Guard has carried out 952 inspections in places throughout the country where there might be slave labor, and has informed a total of 5,056 people of their rights.
Furthermore, 20 investigations have been carried out, 68 victims have been released and 38 perpetrators have been arrested.
Since 2010, the Civil Guard has carried out a total of 13,678 actions against labor exploitation and human trafficking, has informed 87,588 people of their rights and has arrested 2,096 people for such crimes in 625 investigations. It has freed 2,916 victims.
The international cooperation with other countries and other police forces, with which the Civil Guard works closely, is key in the persecution and eradication of these criminal groups.
A21 is an international non-profit abolicionist organization that has 14 offices in 12 countries and aims to rescue slavery and human trafficking victims, to restore their rights.
This is carried out through an integral work in the processes of detection and accompaniment to victims in all its forms. Its strategy is based on three pillars: reach, rescue and restore.
They aim to reach as much people as posssible “through events, making presentations to students and developing educational programs, so that we equip people to report tips to national hotlines when they suspect trafficking”.
This year in Spain, more than 2,000 people have participated in its events.
The rescue takes place “working closely with law enforcement on the ground, assisting in the prosecution of traffickers, representing survivors in court proceedings, and collaborating with governments and other NGOs to eradicate slavery at every level”.
The asssociation also works “face to face with each person in our care, providing them with access to housing, medical treatment, counseling, education, employment and repatriation”, to restore them. Every year they organise the Walk for Freedom event. In 2018, more than 50 countries took part in this silent march to raise awareness about human trafficking. In Spain there were events in 22 cities.
Loida Muñoz, A21 Spain Director
In an interview, Loida Muñoz, director of A21 Spain, pointed out that “the church worldwide is being a pioneer in human trafficking issues”.
“The biggest response to this still very unknown reality is coming from evangelical Christians”, she added.