On 18 October IOM marked the EU Anti-Trafficking Day with partners and counterparts in the town of Telavi in eastern Georgia. The event kicked off with a workshop with local stakeholders to discuss various forms of trafficking in human beings, such as children exploited in begging and strenuous labour that have recently surfaced in an IOM study of the problem. Sanja Celebic Lukovac, IOM Chief of Mission in Georgia, remarked that “We have gathered today here in the city of Telavi to share our perspectives on the combat of trafficking in human beings and how through multi-disciplinary actions we can increase the impact of our joint work”.
The second part of the event was dedicated to the opening of the outdoor exhibition “Invisible in Plain Sight” in front of Telavi’s medieval castle. “The Invisible in Plain Sight” campaign is implemented by IOM jointly with the State Fund for Protection and Assistance of (Statutory) Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Georgia. It is an art-installation, presenting real stories of trafficking victims as posted on wooden figures of women, men and children. The campaign was first introduced by IOM in Ukraine in 2014, afterwards extended to Belarus and Moldova and made its debut in Georgia in 2018.
Over the past decade, the EU and IOM have been supporting the Government of Georgia in growing capacities to successfully prosecute traffickers, protect and assist victims of trafficking and prevent the crime from happening in the first place. Thanks to consistent EU support this capacity building on counter-trafficking action will continue in the years to come.