About the Campaign “Open Your Eyes”
From September 2011 to January 2012 the society “Shelter “Safe House”” with the support of its cooperation partner Philip Morris Latvia organized an information campaign “Open Your Eyes”.
Aim: to raise awareness about human trafficking issues by training librarians as potential consultants for general public regarding these issues.
Results: “Within the framework of “Open Your Eyes” a conference “Prevention Measures to Reduce Human Trafficking” took place in Riga. 52 library directors from Riga, Riga District, Municipalities of Tukums, Vecpiebalga, Vecumnieki, Skrunda, Sēja, Smiltene, Dundaga, Tērvete, Talsi, Baldone, Strenči, Salacgrīva, Saldus, Krāslava, Lubāna, Dobele, Limbaži, Amata, Madona, and towns - Valmiera, Preiļi and Jelgava attended it and gained new information. The conference was the first meeting with the library directors who showed a lot of interest in the topic. The audience confirmed that there are library visitors who ask for consultations about the risks when going to work abroad; therefore, the new information obtained will help library directors provide answers to the questions of visitors about the risks of human trafficking.
Within the framework of the campaign 7 seminars for librarians took place in different regions of Latvia. During these seminars librarians were educated about the risks and forms of human trafficking, help available to the victims of human trafficking, identification process, as well as the possibilities of receiving help. 237 librarians from across Latvia participated in the seminars.
“Libraries are a highly useful and up to now fully unused resource for the prevention of human trafficking, particularly in rural regions, where librarians often tend to fulfil the functions of not only a librarian, but also a social worker and a psychologist by listening to the problems and life stories of visitors. Libraries are often visited by people who are planning to go to work abroad. People use free Internet services to find information about the work abroad, to print out airline tickets, etc.; therefore, it is important for the libraries to have available information about the risks of human trafficking and necessary caution measures prior to leaving Latvia. Libraries in rural regions are often the only way to inform general public about human trafficking issues, particularly the most unprotected part of the society: homeless persons, children from socially unfavourable family environment, etc. Upon the conclusion of the campaign it is a true joy and gratification that libraries have shown great responsiveness and interest in solving of human trafficking issues. The most crucial fact is that librarians admit that such training is indeed necessary, since they come in contact with the groups subject to the risk of human trafficking on a daily basis. Taking into account the great interest and responsiveness of libraries, we are planning to continue the training of librarians in future as well,” as pointed out by Sandra Zalcmane, director of the society “Shelter “Safe House””.