SOS Hotline: +381 11 785 0000     e-mail: sos@astra.rs

First anniversary of ASTRA SOS helpline for missing children

 

May the 25th is marked all over the world as the International Day of Missing children. This year, the memorial day comes in the wake of missing teenagers’ Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight saga. The statistics are devastating – every two minutes three kids go missing in the United States. Situation in Europe is not any better – only in UK 140 000 reports on children disappearances are made on annual bases.

Great number of missing children paired with deficiencies of the search mechanism in the country motivated us a year ago to introduce harmonized European number for missing children 116 000. Thanks to ASTRA, Serbia became the first non-EU country where this form of support is available to missing children families.

The goal of ASTRA SOS Helpline for missing children is to secure immediate action after receiving missing children report, which includes helping the police in the searching quest, supporting the family and, in case the child found had been exploited, providing it with comprehensive means of support in the process of recovery and (re)integration. For the exploited children ASTRA can secure psychological, legal and medical assistance, counseling, alternative accommodation, support in continuing education and providing other necessities.

Helpline 116 000 can be of particular use in case a child is gone missing abroad or suspicions exist it has been transported to another country. Firstly, the number is the same in 23 European countries. This makes it easier for parents to remember who to contact for help. In addition, reporting a case through this service activates a network of specialized organizations that are operating the Missing children helpline throughout Europe. This helps overcoming the issue of slow, bureaucratic communication between institutions that is a particular burden in international cooperation.

ASTRA SOS Helpline for missing children is available 24/7/. Calls made through the landline telephone or via Vip, Telenor and MTS mobile operators are not being charged. As of today, all citizens of Serbia can give their contribution to efficient searches in missing children cases by joining Facebook group ‘ASTRA SOS za nestalu decu 116 000’. Here, they can check photographs of children who disappeared and report if they have any knowledge about their whereabouts or some other useful information that can lead to the child’s finding and safe return to the family.

In the process of introducing the harmonized European number for missing children, ASTRA was supported by the company Vip Mobile that secured means for the purchase of a modern telephone swichboard necesarry for the parallel functioning of two hotline numbers run by ASTRA – the missing children number and ASTRA SOS Hotline 011 785 0000 specialized in human trafficking. ASTRA was also greatly supported by the Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that operates with the missing children helpline in Greece.

 

Marčelo in ASTRA campaign Stop Labor Exploitation!

 

marcelo-cep

 

Over half a million people, mainly women and children, fall victim to trafficking every year. This problem particularly hits the Balkans, owing to the militarization of the region in the previous decade, its geographical position and the difficult economic situation. Today, Republic of Serbia is a country of destination, transit and origin of the trafficked victims.

ASTRA is a Belgrade-based local grass-root anti-trafficking organization established in 2000 as the first actor to raise the issue of human trafficking in Serbia. As a leader in the counter-trafficking effort in Serbia, since it was founded, ASTRA has applied holistic approach to the human trafficking problem, i.e. it has been dealing with all forms of human trafficking and all categories of survivors – women, children and men, focusing its activities concurrently on prevention, education, public awareness raising, direct victim assistance and reintegration, research and networking. ASTRA runs the first SOS hotline service in Serbia specialized for the problem of human trafficking, i.e. for preventive support and for assistance and support to victims of trafficking.





New publication



Position of Trafficking Victims in Court Proceedings



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