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Nordic-Baltic knowledge overview

Action plan for removing obstacles to health care access in sexual trafficking

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In accordance with the agreement at the Roundtable Meeting of the Ministers of Social Affairs of the Baltic Sea Region in 2006 to co-operate on the social consequences in the fight against sex trafficking, the Nordic Council of Ministers for Social Affairs and Health (MR-S) initiated the project Nordic-Baltic knowledge overview and action plan for removing obstacles to health care access in sexual trafficking. The project consisted of three parts, a Nordic-Baltic expert meeting to review the current knowledge, a Nordic-Baltic case study conducted in all eight countries, and a concluding international conference in Riga 2010. The project focused on the damage of both physical and mental health as the consequences of sexual exploitation in trafficking. As sex trafficking crosses borders joint frameworks are needed for tackling the problem and to improve access to health care for the victims, both during the act of trafficking as well as post-trafficking (”Safe Return”). The report reveals that every country has chosen its own way on how to apply international legal measures into their national legal systems, and that there is a need of policies for long term rehabilitation. Further, a more in-depth knowledge on prevalence and types of mental and physical disorders over the different stages of sexual trafficking is needed for tailoring the health care.

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Summary

The project “Nordic-Baltic knowledge overview and action plan for removing obstacles to health care access in sexual trafficking” reveal that every country has chosen its own way on how to apply the mentioned international legal measures into their national legal systems including the given definitions. This was clear both within the Nordic Baltic region case studies as well as in discussions during the expert meeting at Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg, Sweden, and in the international conference in Riga, Latvia. The project emphasized the damage of not only physical health but even more on mental health as the consequences of sexual exploitation in trafficking therefore forming a request for proper policies for long term rehabilitation. Until now the existing governmental action plans do not respond to the need of long term treatment for victims of trafficking especially in the Baltic countries. The sensitive health aspects should be taken into account during the legal proceedings and the time needed for rehabilitation should be respected. This leads to the conclusion that the governmental anti trafficking units could be more effective and functional providing assistance for victims of trafficking if they involve health professionals into their work. As Sex trafficking crosses borders the joint frameworks are needed for tackling the problem and to improve access to health care for the victims, both during the act of trafficking as well as post-trafficking (“Safe Return”). A more in-depth knowledge on prevalence and types of mental and physical disorders over the different stages of sexual trafficking is needed for tailoring the health care.

English

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