Non-Profit Publishes Manual on Human Trafficking Hotline

ASTRA, a Serbian non-profit organization, recently released a manual discussing its trafficking telephone hotline. In 2002, ASTRA established the SOS Hotline, one of the first trafficking hotlines in the region. SOS Hotline was established on several basic principles: accessibility, non-discrimination, anonymity, confidentiality, trust, empathy, equality, autonomy, urgency, and caution. The Hotline provides victims or potential victims of human trafficking in the Republic of Serbia various forms of resources and aid. Since its inception, the SOS Hotline has received almost ten thousand calls. These eight years of experience provide the data and experiences for the manual. ASTRA’s primary goal of publishing the manual was to aid other organizations in creating and implementing similar hotlines to combat human trafficking or other related problems, such as family violence and violence against children.
 
The manual begins by establishing the different definitions of human trafficking and current approaches to combat trafficking. ASTRA ultimately defines human trafficking as primarily a human rights violation. Using that framework, ASTRA discovered that various social factors cause certain persons to be at-risk for human trafficking. The most important factors include: poverty, no access to education, lack of employment opportunity, war, transition, belonging to marginalized ethnic groups, and disturbed or violent family relationships. Statistics from SOS Hotline also show that 92% of all human trafficking victims are women, and approximately half are children under the age of 18.
 
In addition to compiling data and statistics on human trafficking, the manual addresses the daily operation of the helpline. Included in the manual are details regarding SOS Hotline management, team meetings, record keeping, and protocol for answering the calls.