Evaluation of projects on rehabilitation and re-integration of the victims of prostitution and trafficking in women in Lithuania

Jonas Ruškus, Natalija Mažeikienė

Abstract


In 2004, Šiauliai University Social Research Centre carried out research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and aimed at developing a service model for rehabilitation and re-integration of the victims of trafficking in women and prostitution with regard to the peculiarities of the existing rehabilitation and re-integration service system. The new model should foresee the content and the direction of services offered to the victims as well as preconditions for creating the network of systemic services. The following problem questions have been posed: what are the achievements/strengths or weaknesses/ shortcomings of projects dealing with rehabilitation and re-integration of the victims of trafficking in women and prostitution, already implemented and supported by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor? What factors determine or limit the successful integration of the victims into the system of rehabilitation services? How should such services be developed in the future to achieve their higher efficiency? In what way should the system of services to the victims of trafficking in women and prostitution be expanded to ensure a better functioning of all the links of the system? A qualitative research methodology has been applied for analysis: representatives of 12 organizations providing rehabilitation services for trafficking victims were interviewed; in addition, interviews were carried out with members of police, public administration and other specialists. An extra analysis of the documents of several implemented rehabilitation projects and semi-standardized written survey of project administrators was carried out. Social construction and personal empowerment theories constitute the theoretical background of the research. Some weaknesses of the rehabilitation system for the victims of trafficking in women in Lithuania have been revealed: unfavorable attitudes of the potential members of the rehabilitation system towards the victims, the importance and prospects of their reintegration; collaboration among the project partners, mostly NGOs, is not based on the concept of networking; collaboration among various agencies, especially NGOs, police and municipality, is more of an accidental character; getting victims into re-integration system is problematic due to the insufficient collaboration between service providers, police and international organizations as well as to the insufficient community awareness about the services; etc. Strengths: most often the projects are carried out by NGOs, the specific features of which (no negative stereotypes, the understanding of the person and situation of the victim, constant co-existence, confidentiality, etc.) allow them to provide re-integration services successfully. Threats: the departmental separation of agencies dealing with problems of trafficking in human beings and re-integration of its victims on both the highest (ministries) and lower level (concrete institutions) may cause the fact that the essence and the complexity of the problem is overlooked. Opportunities: with the integration of the European humanistic child rearing and education model within the systems of education and social security of Lithuania, the move from segregated institutional towards community model is likely to appear, which in its turn would decrease the number of potential victimizing environments and victims. The researchers’ recommendations have been channeled in two directions. An empowering rehabilitation and reintegration service model for victims of trafficking in women and prostitution has been designed. The model envisages three levels of integration and rehabilitation services: necessary help, social-psychological and educational-professional services. Accordingly, three definitions of trafficking in women and prostitution victim are provided. Besides, the article construes innovative networking model of rehabilitation services for the victims of trafficking in women and prostitution. The model foresees that service providing organizations apply to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour to participate in the network of rehabilitation and re-integration to provide concrete services or to coordinate the network.

Keywords


prostitution and trafficking in women; empowerment of victims; networking of services

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789