The Cornerstone of Assistance & Protection - The Chisinau Assistance and Protection Centre
Caring for the survivors of human trafficking after their return is one of the biggest challenges facing the social workers and psychologists who work on the frontlines. In September 2001, IOM Moldova opened its first-ever rehabilitation center in Chisinau. The rehabilitation center makes available a private, protected and welcoming environment for repatriated women and children. Survivors of trafficking are on a voluntary basis offered safe accommodation, medical assistance and psychological counseling. Survivors are given lodging, food and medical care. Licensed Moldovan gynecological practitioners conduct examinations, and the center provides appropriate treatment, if necessary. Vocational training is also available, including dressmaking, hairstyling, secretarial, computer, and foreign language training.
National Referral System for protection and assistance of victims and potential victims of trafficking in human beings (NRS)
"NRS is a collaboration framework between State authorities and the civil society in the fight against human trafficking"(Galina Balmos, Minister of Social Protection, Family and Child, NRS National Conference, June 2007)
The Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child (MSPFC), that in October 2009 became the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family (MLSPF), is steadily increasing its ownership of the rehabilitation program, and part of the running costs of the CAPC has already been funded from the state budget since August 2008. For this purposes the CAPC was established through the Government decision # 847 - 11.07.2008 as a public institution. These achievements further supported gradual institutionalization of the Centre into the NRS, being one of the key elements within the assistance infrastructure. The target is that the Government will be responsible for at least 70% of the funding of the CAPC by 2011.
Since 2006, NRS has carried out activities contributing to the development of collaboration between Government bodies, non-governmental and international organizations working in the area of prevention of trafficking, as well as identification, repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of Trafficking in Human Beings. NRS proves to be a key instrument to implement social protection policies through the creation of a systematic approach and the consolidation of ail counter-trafficking actors' efforts. NRS institutionalization will become an important contribution to the constitution and development of democratic institutions and rule of law in Moldova, ensuring protection of fundamental rights and freedoms through a system of social, political and legal warranties. The adoption of this strategy will bring a significant contribution to the fulfillment of international commitments assumed by the Republic of Moldova.
Arrival Assistance in Moldova
In most cases, Chisinau Center for Assistance and Protection represents the first contact point in Moldova for persons, which return home after their horrible experience of trafficking. Upon arrival to Moldova, the Protection & Assistance Centre staff will receive the returnees at the airport or border-crossing points. The staff will provide detailed information about different support programmes and arrange onward travel to the shelter or home. It is therefore very important to notify the Protection & Assistance Centre Manager in advance of the return, including the flight details (through the hotline or by email).
Reintegration and Social Assistance
Participants in the IOM Prevention and Protection Programmes are eligible to reintegration assistance. While staying at the Protection & Assistance Centre, a reintegration plan is usually developed by the returnee with the support of the Centre's staff. The plan may involve different types of activities: counseling and psychosocial support, medical assistance, socio-economic empowerment professional development, formal and informal education, etc. If a returnee cannot go home after completion of the crisis intervention programme at the Centre, the Centre's staff can assist with referrals to institutions that provide long-term assistance. Similarly, reintegration assistance is implemented through the National Coordination Centre referrals to NRS partners at local level, including governmental and non-governmental agencies. IOM, in partnership with MLSPF, is currently expanding this referral network throughout Moldova.
Medical and Psychological Assistance
The Rehabilitation Center offers a one-stop-shop with all facilities under one roof in order to facilitate the recovery of the survivors. There are separate accommodations for adults and minors as well as mothers with children in order to cater for the specific needs of each group. On a voluntary basis, HIV tests are also administered. Mothers who have been separated from children often need family-oriented counseling. The Rehabilitation center undertakes psychological diagnosis of repatriated victims. If additional counseling or therapy is needed, the center provides group or individual programs. Social workers provide assistance in parenting skills and psychologists teach coping skills to mothers and children.
At the Rehabilitation Center, beneficiaries have access to legal counseling on matters related to identification (which survivors often lack), child custody, divorce as well as civil and criminal litigation. Beneficiaries also receive counseling on participating in prosecutions against their traffickers, including witness rights. Protective custody is also available depending on the threat profile against the survivors.
The Protection & Assistance Centre is open to trafficked persons and their children, unaccompanied minors, and individuals at-risk of trafficking. The staff at the hotline and/or IOM, in cooperation with MLSPF local focal points, can assist with interviewing a (potential) victim in order to determine whether referral to the Centre is the best solution depending on the actual needs of the individual case.