Microcredit Offers Trafficking Victims New Opportunities
Monday, June 27, 2005 9:50 AM

Organizations are addressing the problem of trafficking at its root by providing microcredit options to those who are at risk of being trafficked, based on their economic and family situation as well as their age. The majority of trafficking victims are women and identified causes of trafficking include poverty and a lack of available jobs. 

Microcredit is becoming an increasingly tenable option for reducing poverty. Traditional loans from commercial banks are often out of reach for the poor. Without access to credit, many are unable to raise themselves out of poverty and look for other unsafe ways to provide for themselves and for their families. Microcredit, however, provides an alternative by extending credit for the establishment or growth of small-businesses to individuals. The individuals typically apply in groups and all agree to act as co-guarantors for the loan, therby providing each other with the motivation to follow through with their goals. Microcredit loans are often given in small amounts, but they have proven very helpful in empowering women in various parts of the world. In fact, based on past success with microcredit, the United Nations has declared 2005 the International Year of Microcredit, hoping to foster sustainable development and also acheive gender equality.

For victims of trafficking and those who are at risk of being trafficked, microcredit assistance may not only be a key to economic security, it also keeps them safe by providing an alternative to the danger of becoming  a sex worker. The ALMINA project, conducted by the Transnational AIDs/STD Prevention Amongst Migrant Populations in Europe Project (TAMPEP) has recognized the potential benefit and offers microcredit training for those at risk of trafficking. The NGO also offers other services, including health and legal services, to those who have become victim to trafficking within Europe and teams up with NGOs in the countries of origin to educate at-risk women on the dangers of trafficking.

Compiled from: Ewa Sobczynska and the Transnational AIDS Prevention Among Migrant Prostitutes in Europe Project, The Advocacy Project, (accessed 27 June 2005).
Vega, Maria, "Microcredit a 'Practical' Way to Fight Poverty," International Year of Microcredit 2005, 21 January 2005.