2020-2022 COALESCE Project
COALESCE: Legal, Psycho-social and economic empowerment for the integration of women third country nationals (TCN) victims of human trafficking (VoT) for sexual exploitation and abuse (Coalesce Project EC AMIF: 958133).
The COALESCE Project was funded by the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and implemented by a partnership consortium comprising the lead partner Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (Cyprus), Cyprus Refugee Council, CARITAS Cyprus, Associazione IROKO Onlus (Italy), Marta Centre (Latvia), European Network of Migrant Women, Immigrant Council Ireland, Solwodi (Germany), Klapeida (Lithuania).
The objective of the project was to provide support to the female migrant victims of trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation in Europe. By providing gender-specific psycho-social, legal and economic support and assistance to third-country national women victims of sex trafficking, the project seeks to develop synergies and complementarities in facilitating needs identification, assistance and support, and improve transnational cooperation among front line professionals and practitioners.
For more information and to read the project’s publications, click here.
In early 2019 we began a pilot project to train a small group of 10 migrants and asylum seekers, the majority of whom are women, in beekeeping. Three of the participants will be selected to continue the pilot and work alongside an agricultural and apiary expert, Davide Lo Bue, to set up our first apiary at the farmhouse we are renovating outside Turin, Casale Del Rio. The others will be supported in their search for a job.
The course, provided in collaboration with the Associazione Parco del Nobile, is divided into an initial theoretical phase and then a series of practical sessions held at the Agriforest Cooperative in Turin and at Iroko’s Farmhouse in Villamiroglio, where we have set up 12 beehives.
The aim of the course is to increase knowledge and awareness of the world of bees and to acquire beehive management techniques for organic honey production.
2019 Kids’ English Club
In autumn 2019 we set up an English Club for around 15 primary school children from migrant families which meets twice a month. The San Giuseppe Cafasso church in Turin offers space for the club to meet and Iroko provides a cultural mediator and a volunteer educator/facilitator. The club aims to supplement the English that children study at school by offering a fun space to play in English and study the language together. The idea for this project came out of the desire expressed by many mothers we met to offer the very best opportunities to their children, so this is also a way to engage with the children’s families.
Upholding Rights! Early Legal Intervention for Victims of Trafficking [‘ELI’] (2017)
This was a pilot research project which aimed to demonstrate the value and importance of providing early and effective legal advice to potential trafficking survivors as soon as anyone recognises them as such. The project was carried out by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, in partnership with the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BRGF), the Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Centre (KSPSC)Lithuania (providing services and support to survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation who are returning to Lithuania), the Legal Services Agency (LSA) Scotland, and the Monika – Multicultural Women’s Association – Finland (later replaced by the ROSA Centre for Women War survivors, Croatia). IROKO participated as a member of the Expert Advisory Council (through the Founder Esohe Aghatise). The final report can be read here.
Prevention of Violence Against Women and Culture of Equal Opportunities
This activity took place in the academic year from 2017-2018 in two schools in Rome. One of our volunteers, a survivor of prostitution, talked to students aged 14 to 19 about violence and gender stereotypes, taking into consideration the Spilabotte bill on regulation of prostitution and its effects.
Training course for Job Placement aimed to Migrant Women and Women Victims of Trafficking and Violence: the majority of the women completed the training course and some of them were included in various workplaces into our network; others have found work in other contexts.
Free Food distribution: in partnership with Banco Alimentare Iroko distributed food to needy people. Since 2013, in cooperation with Pentecostal churches in Turin, we gave help to members of these churches.
Psychological support and ethno-clinic mediation: Iroko relies on psychological assistance centers, mainly the Frantz Fanon Centre, to provide meeting opportunities and psychological support for women who need it. The activity was carried out with cultural mediators from the same countries of origin of the women and it involved a substantial group of women from several nationalities.
Italian language for foreign people: course for learning Italian language supported by our volunteers.
2007: Baby-parking service opened at the former head office in Via Parini 5 in Central Turin, to accommodate children aged 3 months to 6 years. A place where parents could safely leave their children for a few hours.
International Conference on Trafficking and Prostitution (Benin City, March 26-27, 2007): Iroko organised the first conference on trafficking in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and the Nigerian government agency National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Many representatives took part in it, both governmental and NGOs from Nigeria and the Western World (Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, United States, France and Denmark). As a result motions against gender violence, violence against women and children, trafficking and prostitution were submitted to Nigerian Parliament, in order to promote laws against trafficking.
Professional Training Course for Job Placement aimed to Migrant Women and Victims of Trafficking and Violence(2006-2007). The main problem to deal with for Iroko is often to provide job placement for its members. This project, carried out with the financial contribution of Fondazione Unionetica, allowed us to provide training programs to offer women essential tools to find a job. Some of them were immediately hired.
Training course for employees of Bosnian Government and representatives of local NGOs, funded by USAID (2005). The course – lasting a week- included a meeting with the major organisations working against trafficking in Turin, in order to facilitate an exchange of experiences and reflect how to develop the future legislative policies in Bosnia.
Training course for mediators and welfare operators in Cagliari and Messina (2005).
Training day for Equal Opportunities in Turin and Training day for trainers on violence against women organized by Amnesty International.
Training course for assisted women: orientation and acquisition of job skills; we offered a course for chambermaids with Adecco Foundation for Equal Opportunities (2006-2010).
Project Domanda: activities on raising awareness on gender roles and violence against women (especially prostitution), on trafficking and stereotypes, which often are the basis of domestic violence. We worked with some classes of the secondary school “Giordano Bruno” in Turin for three years, in order to raise awareness among young people aged 16- 19 to prevent the occurrence of violence and the demand for paid sex, and to reflect about stereotypes.
1999: Training course for social operators and cultural mediators working at the women’s shelter for victims of trafficking and of gender-based violence, in collaboration with AlmaTerra Association.
1999 to 2009: Iroko was a member of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the United Nations (until 2009 when the Working Group ceased to exist).
1999 to 2013: Regular meetings with various government agencies on new forms of slavery and violence against women and children: in Norway, Spain, France, Nigeria, USA and other countries (until 2013).
March 8, 2003: Organization of a seminar in collaboration with the association Group University Studies On immigration (GUSI) titled “Women for a culture of peace: the development of women as a basis for peace.”
2001/2002: Production of a documentary film named “Journey Of No Return“. Created and produced by Iroko, it denounces the conditions of violence and slavery to which victims of trafficking are exposed in Italy. The movie (translated into English) is distributed in Nigeria with the help of the UPM and in other countries, and also in the United States, thanks to the Salvation Army International.
2000: Participation in the cultural yearly event “Identità e Differenza” (Identity and Difference) in Turin, Italy.
January 22-24, 2004: International Conference on Trafficking and Prostitution (Alba, Italy) within the project “Equality Network for a new life” funded by European Social Fund, in partnership with CISAS, Italian Social Cooperative Con.E.Dis. Scarl and 8 others. Iroko promoted a conference on trafficking in women for sexual exploitation and prostitution. The Conference discussed issues relating to prostitution and trafficking, new European trends on regulating prostitution as a response to trafficking and prostitution in Italy.
Research projects (from 2001 to 2003)
Studies on trafficking and violence, mainly against women and children:
“Research and Case-study on International Trafficking of Nigerian Girls for Prostitution in Italy” (2001-2003), partly funded by the United Nations and carried both in Italy and in Nigeria to know the reasons behind the choose of girls to leave;
“Best Practices in the Inter-Agency Cooperation” (2001-2003), in partnership with London-Change and 3 NGOs within the EU Stop II Program, and dedicated to prevention, control and support of victims against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. An important goal was to build an international network of experts on this field.
“Action to raise awareness of community / migrant families on prevention of female genital mutilation” (2002/2003). It was carried out in partnership with CIES and 7 other organizations within the EU Daphne Programme to combat violence against women and childhood (“Preventive Measures to fight violence against children, young people and women”).