06 Mar 2018

Maltese Students Bond with Former Slave Laborers

Ahead of International Women's Day, six Maltese and foreign human trafficking survivors shared their stories as they got their hair done in a unique bridge-building event.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Source: Lovin Malta
Maltese Students Bond with Former Slave Laborers - NewsMavens
Haircut. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Critical reports of NGOs about the insufficient infrastructure in Malta to tackle human trafficking are commonplace. The initiative at Dar Merhba Bik shelter is a much needed practical attempt at addressing this issue.

During the event, students offered haircuts to human trafficking victims.

The fact that one of the students shared her experience as a pregnant young woman fleeing domestic violence is a powerful example of the bridges such initiatives build.

The story is one of the most personal accounts in the Maltese media about the humanity of the survivors. 

Maltese law is not on the side of forced laborers: they can be jailed for prostitution, and seldom get access to interpreters. While the current laws are still in place, initiatives like this one, that foster stronger bonds with the local society, could turn out to be instrumental in offering life-saving protection to victims.

violence, genderwomen's issues

Details from the story:

  • Last week, parliamentary secretary for reforms, Julia Farrugia Portelli, and the students of Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (MCAST) organized an event ahead of International Women’s Day. It took place at the Dar Merhba Bik shelter and targeted six survivors of forced labour -- both Maltese and foreigners -- who had been trafficed to Malta.
  • Malta is a destination country for human trafficking for forced labour as well as sex slavery.
  • The shelter for women who have experienced violence is reportedly filled to the brim.
  • Last year, key NGOs pointed out that no perpetrator had been convicted for human trafficking since 2012. Furthermore, Malta lacked appropriate screening of persons sentenced for prostitution, even minors, and did not ensure access to interpreter services.
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