Free2Link project aims at connecting organisations working in asylum systems, integration programmes and support to victims of trafficking across Italy, Greece and Poland to increase the ability of their frontline staff, as well as public and private networks, in the early identification of victims of e-trafficking. Despite being on the rise as one of the main methods to lure and force women and girls into trafficking in Europe, e-trafficking remains poorly understood and therefore poorly addressed in the receiving countries. It is paramount, in the rationale of the action, not only to link frontline staff, private and public bodies already operating in support of victims of trafficking, but to provide them with updated knowledge of its new manifestations and innovative tools to contrast it, with the aim of promoting dialogue, support and policy-making.
Through the F2L project a solid multi-stakeholder network that includes civil society organisations and public authorities join forces to elaborate and disseminate knowledge to promote the early emergence of e-trafficking, including e-learning modules and an awareness-raising online platform. A special attention will be posed on:
- Build updated and accessible knowledge on e-trafficking;
- Create an online, multi-language, multi-user platform on e-trafficking accessible by staff and stakeholders to enhance early identification of victims of e-trafficking and e-recruitment;
- Train frontline staff, public and private actors (including local authorities and law enforcement officials) on the use of the platform through face-to-face courses and e-learning modules;
- Raise awareness on the phenomenon of e-trafficking. Dedicated dissemination and communication activities in Italy, Poland and Greece will be organised to mainstream the experience collected on e-trafficking among local actors and relevant European stakeholders, including regional authorities and representatives from other EU countries of destination.
Free2Link (F2L) brings together civil society organisations and local authorities of diverse sizes and expertise from three European contexts to increase the ability of their respective frontline staff, as well as of their public and private networks, to early identify victims of e-trafficking, and connect them to relevant support.
Online priming, e-recruitment and e-solicitation, use of the dark web, but also common social media, apps and sites to blackmail and force women in sexual exploitation are analysed, and mitigating measures provided to staff and agencies in contact with potential and former victims are taken. While allowing for an increased referral to dedicated services, the programme focuses on the early emergence of trafficking or attempted trafficking cases and the development of updated preventive measures, instead of post-exploitation protection.
The result is strengthened identification and assistance to victims of trafficking in receiving contexts, and a competent international community of practice supported by dedicated tools and training.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) of the European Commission, and it will be completed in 2 years.