01 February 2016

La Strada Program was launched in our country 15 years ago. The first and the most important stage of its work was opening of a hotline on safe travel abroad and support for victims of human trafficking in January, 2001.

ls1During these years our volunteer efforts and initiatives were not only supported at the state and the international levels, but also evolved into a wide national program for promotion of safe migration, support for victims of human trafficking.

Today La Strada is the program which is being implemented in Belarus by the International Public Association “Gender Perspectives”. We are a competent member of the International La Strada Association which includes 8 countries – the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Macedonia.

Today La Strada Belarus Program means:

• The informational toll-free telephone hotline (a short number 113) on all migrational issues: employment abroad, marriage with foreign citizens, travel and study abroad

• Opportunity to ask for support in a case of a crisis situation when abroad from any point of the world via e-mail, and since 2016 via a system of on-line consulting

• The best experts in sphere of safe migration and counteracting trafficking in human beings

• The programs of support for victims of human trafficking: provision of free medical, legal, psychological support

• Participation in preparation of the national legislative acts, monitoring of the processes of implementation of the international norms and standards and the standards at the national level

• The network of trainers, who work all across Belarus with various target groups: students, school pupils, teachers on issues of prevention of human trafficking, informing about legal ways of employment and traveling abroad.

In 15 years around 25 thousands appeals from citizens were sent to La Strada Program on issues of safe traveling and staying abroad.
51% – via e-mail, 49% of appeals – via the free telephone informational hotline 113. Now one can call this number to ask any question connected to safe traveling and staying abroad. The work of the 113 infoline is supported by two organizations: the IPA “Gender Perspectives” and the PA “Club of Business Women”.

Information requested the most contained of various questions connected to employment abroad. 70% of appeals were requests for such information. Around 26% of consultations were connected to different aspects of family and marital relations with foreign citizens, 20% were requests for useful addresses and phone numbers abroad, 13% were questions about passport and visa issues. 6% of applicants asked questions about studying abroad. Tough and crisis situations amounted to around 8% of appeals.

According to the monitoring, the most popular among our citizens destinations are Russia (11,5%), Turkey (11%), the USA (10%), Germany (8,5%), Italy (5,5%), Poland (4,5%), the United Kingdom (4,5%). All together the “geography” of migration of the Belarusians covered more than 100 countries of the world during these 15 years.

Around 6% of appeals to La Strada Program were from citizens of other countries, mostly from the CIS. They are interested in opportunities of moving to Belarus, of obtaining the permanent place of residence in our country.

Ever since the foundation, one of the main goals of our organization is to consult and support clients in crisis situations abroad. Such situations are human trafficking, exposure of facts of recruitment, domestic violence abroad, loss or theft of documents abroad, search of disappeared people, violation of migrants' rights.

More then 1000 crisis appeals were received by La Strada Program in 15 years. The biggest part (25%) contains of appeals concerning search for missing relatives, acquaintances who left abroad. 19% of appeals were connected to the facts of violation of migrants' rights, 12% - to the facts of domestic violence in international marriages. During these years 12% of appeals concerned loss or theft of documents abroad.
Special attention is being paid to the cases of trafficking in human beings. The number of such appeals received during the period of La Strada Program's work is 15%. We helped more than 340 victims of such crime. They received medical, legal and psychological support within the organization. When needed they were supported to return home, provided with a temporary shelter.

Required and useful “guide” on the subject of safe traveling abroad is the web-site of La Strada Program www.lastrada.by. It is designed for potential migrants, and also for people who appeared in a crisis situation abroad, or who want to know how to avoid one. At the web-site we share news, describe how to act in tough situations, introduce important details concerning work, study abroad, marriage to foreign citizens, holidays in exotic countries and countries aren't familiar to the Belarusians. Information about safe migration which is accumulated at the web-site is used not only by the Belarusians, but also by citizens from other countries. Since the beginning of the web-site's functioning it's been visited by more than 885 thousand people. And in 2016 La Strada Program within the informational campaign “Ask while Here” launches on-line consulting on issues of safe migration and crisis situations abroad at the web-site www.lastrada.by.

The important part of our work are seminars, training, lectures. During 15 years specialists and trainers of La Strada Program hold more than 4 500 issue-related events on the subject of safe migration for almost 66 000 people in different towns in Belarus.

The subject of safe migration is also promoted by La Strada Program via popular social networks: Vkontakte, Facebook, Twitter, where interesting and important news on the subject of migration, useful information about different countries are published. Besides, users can apply to consultants and ask their questions using their accounts in social networks.