Life Beyond the Shelter aims to ensure positive long-term integration for third-country national victims of trafficking in the host society by reinforcing support in the transition from shelter life to independence.
Integration is the process of recovery, social and economic inclusion in the host country following a trafficking experience. It is one of the most important and yet complex aspects of assistance to the victims.
It involves living in a safe and stable environment, having access to reasonable standards of living, enjoying mental and physical well‐being, having opportunities for personal, social and economic growth and having access to social and emotional support.
Due to various factors such as illiteracy or vulnerability, third-country national survivors can face different types of barriers in accessing services such as bureaucratic hurdles, administrative requirements, practical challenges and personal issues -e.g. shame or discomfort about seeking help, pessimism about the likelihood of receiving assistance, mistrust of authorities. Without access to long-term services and comprehensive integration support, many struggle as they seek to move on with their lives and they become prone to re-victimization.
Whereas, in virtually every Member State there is a support system in place providing for the immediate and short-term needs of victims, longer-term assistance can be a challenge. Short-term assistance alone is generally insufficient to support integration.
The EU-funded project Life Beyond the Shelter aims at ensuring positive long-term integration for survivors in the host society by reinforcing support in the transition from shelter life to independence through practical, innovative and empowering tools and solutions.
By creating an intervention kit to help social workers identify the needs of victims after shelter life and the available services to address them.
Through dedicated telephone help-lines for clients transitioning from shelter to independent living.
By developing a training curriculum that teaches independent living skills and offer survivors guidance for everyday life on topics such as budgetting, household management, self-care, safety, social skills, job and house-hunting and navigation of public administration systems.
Through a peer mentoring program matching clients leaving the shelter with former victims of trafficking who have successfully integrated or local volunteers to promote social inclusion and independent problem-solving.
In Antwerp, Belgium, to facilitate clients in their transition to independence by offering temporary residence that accommodates their special needs and provides them with centralized support services to reinforce their self reliance.