WINGS: a new project to fly beyond the prejudice and to create new job opportunities

As Follow Up Of The HEAL Project, This New Project Is Focused On Strengthening Linguistic And Psychological Support, Job Inclusion, And New Opportunities For Women Victims Of Trafficking 

Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious crime and major violation of individual fundamental rights and dignity. Given that the most widely reported form of THB within the EU is sexual exploitation (67%), and that the vast majority of THB victims are women and girls (95%), it is clear that the issue must be addressed through a legal and policy framework which places focus on the need for human rights-based and gender-specific approaches, which is exactly what the WINGS project aims to do.

Many women victims of human trafficking are isolated and lack the resources necessary to escape this exploitative market, much to the detriment of their overall well-being. Because they are involved in an illicit activity, they are unable to access the labour market through legal means, especially in the case of third-country nationals. Additionally, victims are often kept under strict supervision by their traffickers and are intentionally kept separated from the broader social system of their host societies. Therefore, women victims of trafficking are often unaware of the rights they are entitled to and the social service systems at their disposal. While the specific nature of trafficking in human beings differs between EU countries, the above-mentioned repercussions on women victims of trafficking remain the same. Although the countries of southern Europe report high levels of THB (perhaps due to the geographic vicinity with countries of origin in the trafficking business), they often do not have the instruments and knowledge necessary to fully counteract this phenomenon and rehabilitate victims in order to ensure that they live happy, productive and peaceful lives.

WINGS – Supporting Women Survivors of Trafficking through a Comprehensive Integration Programme  was created to help address this issue. WINGS is an innovative project – financed by EU funds dedicated to Asylum, Migration, and Integration – which aims to provide local work, linguistic support, psychological help, counselling, and personalised internships to victims of human-trafficking (VoT).

The project’s main elements will be adapted to the specific needs of each woman involved in the program, and, having taken inspiration and good practices from other projects like HEAL, TOLERANT and Symfos, will involve several European countries (Italy, Greece, Belgium, and Spain) as well as other partners that will help develop the activity. 

National campaigns for employers’ awareness and engagement will be implemented in each country, through offline and online channels. The aim is to inform employers of local companies on the importance of providing support to vulnerable groups, promoting an inclusive workplace model and advertising the database for the involvement of both women who want to participate and entrepreneurs who want to get involved.

Project Activities:

  • Language instruction courses will be designed for women with a low level of education and will help familiarise participants with the culture and society of their new country and facilitate their integration. The project will operate in a protected environment to ensure that therapeutic interventions (ethnopsychology) can be carried out to help them overcome their traumatic experiences.
  • Through the use of tested methodologies, individualised internship opportunities will be identified. Women will receive personalised training, and psychologists and/or language experts will be available to assist wherever needed.
  • Simultaneously, national campaigns to bring awareness to employers will be implemented through offline and online channels. The aim is to inform local employers of the importance of providing support to vulnerable groups and promoting an inclusive workplace model.

Project Objectives:

  • Help VoT women develop language skills, better communication skills, and a deeper cultural understanding of their new country to help them integrate into the workforce
  • Implement a protected spaces, gender-sensitive approach, and provide psychological support for VoT women to help overcome their trauma through storytelling experiences and start creating relationships and networks
  • Provide personalised job advice and create ad hoc paths for VoT women in the workforce, as well as create work opportunities and connect them with local employers. This is a sustainable way to develop an economic base for women and their families.
  • Find 15 jobs or internships for VoT women in each partner country (Italy, Greece, Belgium and Spain)