Aisha Khan writes about her recent trip to Palermo in Sicily for the start of a new Erasmus+ project on human trafficking

I recently went to Palermo, Sicily for a Kick-Off meeting for a new two year Erasmus+ project called ‘IRETI’ which means ‘Hope’ in Yoruba.

This four (Italy, UK, Romania & Spain) country partnership project which is being led by HYRO – HUMAN RIGHTS YOUTH ORGANIZATION ASSOCIAZIONE in Sicily, has been developed to support women affected by human trafficking.

Europe is one of the most common destination for victims of human trafficking. According to Eurostat, between 2010 and 2012there were 30,146 victims. Italy holds the record with 6,572 victims, followed by England (4,474), Romania (3,243) and Spain (1,984). Among them, the largest number is of Nigerian nationality. 80% of the Nigerian women arrived in Italy are victims of human trafficking. These women are recruited with the promise of a better life.

Most of the victims come from Benin City, are aged between 17-28 years and have a low level of education and come from poor families. Once they arrive in Europe, they are forced into prostitution. They live on the margins of society and are often victims of violence and social exclusion. Many believe that they have no chance of escaping prostitution or finding support that will help them explore limited opportunities that are available to them in the area.

The aim of the project is to bridge the gap between these women and the labour market.  We will aim to offer these women an escape from exploitation through skills in community enterprise which can help them to start up their own businesses.

The Kick-Off meeting was comprised of four coordinators and a staff member per partner organisation. It helped to lay the groundwork for the project and allowed us to get to know each other. The other organisations involved are "AUR"- Asociatia Nationala a Specialistilor in Resurse Umane and Biderbost, Boscán & Rochin

This meeting allowed us to discuss the organisation and management of project roles, project delivery timings and actual activities.

So watch this space for future updates on IRETI!

Roy Edgeworth