Toll-free ‘HelpLine’ for Victims of Human Trafficking
Thursday, September 1, 2005 9:20 AM

 PRISTINA – The Victims’ Advocacy and Assistance Unit (VAAU) of UNMIK Department of Justice and the Post and Telecommunication of Kosovo (PTK) today signed an agreement to establish a toll-free ‘HelpLine’ for victims of gender based violence, including victims of trafficking in human beings.

The HelpLine will ensure access to justice for victims of crime by offering them the opportunity to receive help from la w enforcement authorities. Additionally, it will facilitate victims’ access to medical, legal and psychological services as well as other forms of support available in Kosovo through VAAU and other providers.

In pursuance of its core mandate to ‘institutionalise the rights of victims of crimes’ the VAAU has been particularly active in combating human trafficking in Kosovo from both legal and humanitarian perspectives. Apart from advocating with policy makers and legislative bodies, the Unit has built up a network of Victims’ Advocates across Kosovo who support victims in their involvement with the justice system.

Besides legal advice, VAAU provides victims with other forms of assistance including interpretation, psychological, medical, shelter, training and educational assistance through its Interim Secure Facility (ISF). Since VAAU’s creation in 2002, the Unit has assisted over 1430 victims of crime, mainly victims of domestic violence, sexual offences and human trafficking. Comprehensive support is ensured through VAAU’s close cooperation with other related units of UNMIK as well as Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG), the OSCE, local and international Non-Governmental Organizations and many other stakeholders.

With the PTK now joining the endeavour, VAAU will be able to establish a HelpLine that will be free of charge for victims calling from PTK operated lines. This will complement the existing ‘Hotline’ for victims that VAAU is currently operating.

Published in: "Toll-free ‘HelpLine’ for Victims of Human Trafficking," UNMIK (UNMIK/PR/1402), 18 August 2005.