HESTIA project presented at the Nordic-Baltic Network of Policewomen conference
22.10.2015. On 7-8 October 2015 the Ministry of the Interior hosted the Nordic-Baltic Network of Policewomen conference “Gendered Violence – Nordic-Baltic Dialogue” in Riga, and it was with the participation of police officers and experts of the field from Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, and Latvia. The conference touched upon challenges in areas such as violence in close relationships, hate crimes, prevention and combatting of human trafficking, violations of human rights, and crimes of sexual violence in countries affected by military conflicts and natural disasters.
During the event Lāsma Stabiņa, National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (Ministry of the Interior) and Manager of the HESTIA* project, informed about Latvia’s experience and good practice in the prevention and combating of sham marriages and human trafficking, as well as the HESTIA project, especially about the study and its significance in the promotion of policy recommendations on the level of the EU.
After the conference she indicated that this international meeting provided possibilities for improving international cooperation, exchanging the experience and good practice of countries, as well as identifying the most significant challenges in the eradication of human trafficking. “It was a great opportunity to inform the participant states of the conference about the sham marriage and human trafficking problem, Latvia’s unique experience in studying and reducing this phenomenon, as well as the interstate initiative – HESTIA project – which is already providing answers and explanations regarding the nature of the problem, and will ensure practical instruments for future activities in order for all of the states to be able to join forces and address sham marriages and human trafficking,” L. Stabiņa underlined.
Since 1 April 2013, Section 285.2 of the Criminal Law ** has come into force, and 38 criminal proceedings have been initiated in general. In 2015, 3 criminal proceedings have been initiated regarding human trafficking: two regarding sham marriages and one regarding sexual exploitation. Currently state-funded social rehabilitation services are being provided to 7 human trafficking victims (3 – Ireland, 2 – Cyprus, 1 – the USA, 1 – Latvia) at the “Resource Centre for Women “Marta””. Whereas in 2014, the society “Shelter “Safe House”” provided state-funded social rehabilitation services to 38 persons – eight men and 30 women – out of whom 12 were included in the state programme in 2013, and 20 – in 2014.
It is indicated in Europol’s THB Financial Business Model report that women are paid between 300 and 2,000 euros on average for knowingly concluded sham marriages, whereas the organised groups of criminals earn approximately 10,000 euros for the services of sham marriage promotion.
The conference was organised by the State Police of the Republic of Latvia with support of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia.
*Project "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Grant Agreement Nr. HOME/2013/ISEC/AG/THB/4000005845. #HESTIA_THB
HESTIA project partners: Ministry of the Interior (Latvia), NGO "Shelter “Safe House"" (Latvia), NGO "Mittetulundusühing"" "Living for Tomorrow" (Estonia); NGO "Caritas Lithuania" (Lithuania); Immigrant Council of Ireland (Ireland); Ministry of the Interior of Slovak Republic (Slovakia); European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control of the United Nations (HEUNI) (Finland). Project associated partners: The State Police (Latvia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Latvia), Department of Justice and Equality (Ireland).
The information was published 15.04.2016. by: Rasa Saliņa, Public Relations Specialist of the project HESTIA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org