Early Legal InterventionUpholding Rights! Early Legal Intervention for Victims of Trafficking aims to establish best practice in securing the protection of victims of trafficking (VoT) through early legal intervention, thus enhancing their social recovery and their role as witnesses. The project builds on the existing international consensus that the fight against trafficking must include a rights-based approach to protection of the victims. The EU has strengthened this position by adopting priorities and objectives that clearly outline the legal rights of VoT, and support the prompt collaboration between the State and civil society in upholding these rights. The ELI Partners are: Immigrant Council of Ireland (Lead Partner), LSA Glasgow, AIRE London, MONIKA Finland, BGRF Bulgaria and KSPSC Lithuania.

An essential component in securing the human rights and dignity of VoT is the provision of understandable correct information on the legal and administrative options available. The concept of Early Legal Intervention (ELI) incorporates the provision of confidential advocacy at the first encounter between victims and authorities, risk assessment of immediate protection needs, decision on the best/most appropriate route for protection by State, ensuring recovery and reflection (R&R) prior to interviews, assessing criminalisation risks e.g. immigration offences, alternative protection route in case the exploitation is not part of a human trafficking crime, in the full legal term.

The concept of ELI is an important part of international treaties and it can be found under Articles 6(2) and (3) of the UN Protocol from Palermo (2000) and under Article 12 of the Council of Europe’s Convention(2005).

The project will identify and analyse ELI for victims of human trafficking in the EU. The key aim of the project is to impact on national and EU anti-trafficking responses to enhance the support and protection of victims, incl. for their key role as witnesses and to improve the civil society/state cooperation in upholding the victims’ human rights.

The methodology for this project is based on a combination of comparative research and key informant interviews to inform the pilots and their implementation with advisory committee supervision.

Some information about our Partners:

The Immigrant Council of Ireland

With over 12-years experience the Immigrant Council of Ireland is the leading voice in securing improved rights and protections which benefit Irish citizens, migrants and their families.

As an organisation we pride ourselves on being pro-active. We offer support, advice and information, while also achieving positive change through strategic legal action and engagement with lawmakers to make immigration laws fit for purpose. Ensuring access to justice is the cornerstone of all our work. We are committed to supporting individuals and families often at a vulnerable stage in their life.

Much has been achieved thanks to our supporters and investors, but there is more which must be put right.

Since 2001 we have been at the forefront in developing responses to Ireland’s changing society and the emergence of issues such as human trafficking. Our work in this area has benefitted more than 50 migrant women. The Immigrant Council and its Independent Law Centre has represented a third of all victims of sex-trafficking identified in Ireland.

In addition to information and legal support the Immigrant Council of Ireland has also taken a lead role in strengthening Irish law against human trafficking and the organised crime which lies behind it.

We are one of the founding members of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, which is a coalition of 68 Irish organisations with over 1.6 million members seeking to end sex trafficking by targeting demand. To date our efforts have secured cross political support with the Oireachtas Justice Committee unanimously supporting our call for laws targeting the buyers of sex. Now we must get the Government to act.
See more: http://www.turnofftheredlight.ie

ICI is also the lead partner on STOP Traffick!, which is a transnational project on the reduction in demand for the sexual services of victims of trafficking. This project explores different attitudes of buyers and potential buyers to human trafficking, its context and impact in order to inform demand reduction awareness raising initiatives, implemented through a partnership of civil society, public and private enterprises.
See more: http://www.stoptraffick.ie

Through our work with lawmakers, academics and in the media the Immigrant Council of Ireland has secured a number of improvements which directly assist the victims of trafficking in Ireland.

  • Extension of Recovery and Reflection period for victims to 60 days
  • Improved conditions for child victims, including temporary residence rights
  • Improved long term residency permits for adults
  • Ireland opting in to EU Directive on Human Trafficking which improves legal representation and access to services for victims.

In addition we have been recognised by the Department of Justice as having expertise in the area of trafficking. The ICI has developed 8 training modules for Gardaí and has been involved in the training of public servants as well as legal practitioners.

Contact: Heilean at heilean@immigrantcouncil.ie 

Legal Services Agency

Legal Services Agency (LSA) is Scotland’s largest law centre tackling the unmet legal needs of those in disadvantage. It does so through the provision of legal advice, representation in courts/tribunals, research, publications, seminars and education. LSA undertakes work in the following areas:

  • Protecting the rights of refugee and migrant women and children through its Women and Young Persons’ Department.
  • Preventing homelessness, defended eviction and mortgage repossession through its Court Department.
  • Mental health, dementia and social welfare law through its Mental Health and Legal Representation Projects.

LSA has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Greenock.

The Women and Young Persons’ Department employs 5 solicitors who provide legal advice and representation to:

  • Refugee and migrant women who have suffered gender based violence through its Women’s Project; and
  • Refugee and migrant children and young people (up to age 25) through its Young Person’s Project.

Both Projects have a wider policy remit to improve outcomes for its client group in Scotland and offers:

  • free second-tier advice to lawyers, organisations and individuals who are assisting or supporting this client group; and
  • contributes to training, research and policy in issues that directly affect its client group at a local and national level.

In the area of human trafficking, the Department has a specific remit to provide an enhanced legal service to victims of human trafficking. In the last year, the Department worked with 78 women and young people who disclosed that they were victims of human trafficking.

In terms of policy and research, the Department is part of national and local working groups on this issue working in partnership with key statutory and non-statutory partners. It is a member of the Sub Group on Victim Care and Support which feeds into the Scottish Government Progress Group on Human Trafficking. It is also a member of the Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking in the Scottish Parliament.

Contact: Kirsty Thomson, Head of Women and Young Persons’ Department, Legal Services Agency. kirstythomson@lsa.org.uk

AIRE London

The AIRE Centre is a UK based charity whose mission is to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights. Our work involves providing advice to individuals and legal advisers with regards to EU free movement law and the application of the European Convention of Human Rights. We also provide training to legal advisers and key stakeholders so as to increase awareness of using European Law to assist marginalised individuals. More details about our work can be found here:
The AIRE Centre has previous experience in working on issues relating to human trafficking. We undertake UK based advocacy and litigation that specifically covers areas of law relating to human trafficking. Details on this work can be found here:
We are currently managing two projects, in addition to our work on the ELI project, which tackle issues of Human Trafficking. Our project on sexually exploited and trafficked young people, funded by Comic Relief, has focused on providing training for advisors working with young victims. We have also been able to undertake a legal project on trafficking and domestic violence with funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Details of these projects can be found here:

Contact: Matthew Moriarty (The AIRE Centre, Legal Project Manager) at mmoriarty@airecentre.org


About Monika – Multicultural Women’s Association

  • Non-governmental organization, established in 1998
  • Umbrella organization for several associations for women of ethnic minorities
  • Provides and develops services to migrant women and children, who have experiented violence
  • Expert role in addressing issues around multiculturalism, ethnic relations, empowerment, social integration as well as violence towards migrant women
  • Lobbies decision makers and provides training to eg. social and health professionals

The work against human trafficking in Monika

  • Identifies and helps victims of trafficking as part of work against violence
  • Statistics on cases with suspects of human-trafficking in MONIKA:


  • International co-operation, EU: ISEC 2012 – 2014 STOP Traffick! , advocacy work For more information, please see www.monikanaiset.fi
  • MONIKA participated in the first phase of the Early Legal Intervention project, and has currently completed its involvement in the project.

BGRF Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, established in 1998, is an independent, non-profit NGO, registered in public benefit with the goal to contribute to the achievement of gender equality and equal opportunities in compliance with international universal and regional standards of Human Rights. The BGRF works since its inception in 1998 on research, awareness raising, education , monitoring and proposing legislation and policy in the field of gender equality and protection of women against violence in all its forms – domestic violence, trafficking in women, sexual harassment at the workplace, etc The BGRF works for the protection of Human rights and gender equality through, research, advocacy campaigns and proposals for legislative changes, provision of education, training and consultations for professionals and working in wide networks in cooperation with other organizations, public institutions and experts. Our vision is the recognition of the organisation as an established international center of professionals in the field of gender equality, antidiscrimination law, domestic violence and reproductive rights. The BGRF has branches in Plovdiv, Haskovo, Gorna Oryahovitza. Since 2001 the BGRF has a youth program.

The BGRF presents alternative reports to the UN human rights bodies such as CEDAW and Universal periodic review procedure. In the field of trafficking in human beings the organisation provides research and trainings for lawyers.

Contact: office@bgrf.org

KSPSC Lithuania

Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Centre, Lithuania has a vision where women, children, and
families are socially and psychologically safe. In order to meet the social security and mental health
needs of children, youth, women, and families the centre provides professional staff and volunteers.
In addition, the centre raises civil responsibility. The centre works in cooperation with National and
international NGO’s, along with the Department of Social Support in the Klaipeda Municipality.

Centre for Women War Victims – Croatia

Centre for Women War Victims (CWWV) is a non-governmental, feminist organization, founded in 1992 with the aim of supporting women in opposing war violence against women. As one of the oldest women’s organizations in Croatia, the work was always devoted to sensitizing the public and promoting women’s rights through direct aid to women, sharing knowledge and experience, networking with women’s organizations and lobbying to influence state institutions and legislation in favour of women.

At the beginning of 2001 the Centre for Women War Victims started a new project; Project against Trafficking in Women, based on long-term experience in working with women who survived different forms of violence. The main reasons for establishing this project was the fact that trafficking was not recognized as an emerging problem in Croatia and that there was a lack of support for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation at that time.

The Centre initiated an SOS hot-line against trafficking in October 2002. The line was at first not toll free. In February 2003, a toll free number was provided through National Action Plan against Trafficking. The main aim of the line is to give victims the opportunity to call for support and report crime, but mostly it is used as an awareness raising tool. According to the formal agreement signed between the Centre and the National Coordinator’s Against Trafficking Office, monthly reports are sent to the Ministry of Interior and to the National Coordinator Office about the calls and reports of citizens to that line. Connected to that, the Centre’s staff provides direct support to women victims and Croatian citizens through case work, counselling (psychological, legal) and legal representation at courts (depending on financial possibilities).

CWWV was one of the first to recognize that in opposing trafficking NGO community has to take steps as well, so in 2002 its staff began establishing the PETRA Network (today consisting of 13 women’s NGOs from different regions of Croatia) for fostering local counter-trafficking activities, as well as regional and international networks. PETRA members also participate in raising public awareness in order to strengthen the capacity of the society to introduce prevention programs and psycho-social support for survivors. CWWV is coordinating the work of this Network and fundraising for its activities.

Through the years The Centre cooperated with many different organisations which made reports on situation of human rights in Croatia and trafficking in women in particular: UNICEF, OHCHR/ODIHR, OSCE, US Embassy for TIP report and the European Commission (GRETA).

Contact: Nela Pamukovic and Durdica Kolarec at cenzena@zamir.net

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