La Strada Czech Republic o.p.s. is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization which works to solve problems caused by human trafficking.
La Strada CR is the only specialist organization in the Czech Republic to focus alone on offering help to trafficked and exploited individuals.
The organization's goal is to help work towards the abolition of human trafficking and exploitation. It offers support and protection to those who have been trafficked and/or exploited, and to those who run the risk of being trafficked and/or exploited.
La Strada Czech Republic o.p.s. has been active in on Czech soil since 1995 - first as a project run by the ProFem organization. Since 1998, it has been registered as its own legal entity. In 2004, it co-founded the La Strada International Association with member organizations in eight other European countries (Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and Macedonia). The association's international secretariat is in The Netherlands.
Who our services are for
Who our services are for
HAS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING HAPPENED TO YOU, OR ANYONE YOU KNOW?
- Were you forced to carry out work that you did not want to do?
- Do you work in demeaning conditions?
- Have your documents been confiscated?
- Have you failed to receive payment for your work?
- Have your movements been monitored?
- Have you been injured?
- Have you been deceived?
- Have you been threatened?
- Has your employer dismissed you unfairly?
- Do you need help communicating with the authorities because the conditions mentioned above have led you to live in the Czech Republic illegally?
- If you have answered yes to at least three of the questions above, you are - or someone you know is - most likely a victim of the criminal offence of human trafficking, or you face the risk of being trafficked and/or exploited. In this case you can use the social services provided by La Strada CR.
THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFERED BY LA STRADA ARE INTENDED FOR:
- Trafficked and exploited individuals - meaning those who were deceived and/or forced to work or provide services, including prostitution, which others exploited. (Crisis Aid, Sheltered Accommodation, Expert Social Counseling)
- Individuals who experienced trafficking and exploitation, or those who find themselves in the proximity of trafficking and exploitation. (Crisis aid, Expert Social Counseling)
- Individuals who are in a close relationship with those who were, or are, trafficked and exploited. (Expert Social Counseling)
- Individuals looking for work or traveling abroad, and others who are interested in information on how to minimize the risk of human trafficking and exploitation. (Expert Social Counseling)
- Services are offered to individuals over 18 years of age of Czech or foreign citizenship.
Anyone, however, can call La Strada - even if you are not sure whether our services are for you.
We cannot promise to solve all of your difficulties and concerns. We can, however, promise that we will use all of our skills, knowledge and legal possibilities to help you resolve your situation.
Within the services offered by the organization (Crisis Aid, Sheltered Accommodation, Expert Social Counseling) we offer the following assistance (link to 'Services We Offer'):
FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL AID, INCLUDING MONEY FOR FOOD
FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL AID, INCLUDING MONEY FOR FOOD
Food aid (paid in regular installments), basic clothing and shoes, transportation costs, mobile phone credit, costs for prescription medication and funds to pay for visits to healthcare facilities, basic hygiene requirements and more, according to individual needs.
ARRANGEMENT OF WORK AND LEGAL ADVICE AND/OR REPRESENTATION
We can arrange employment and legal advice for you for free, and legal representation provided through a contracted lawyer's office or non-governmental organization.
ARRANGEMENT OF HEALTH AND PSYCHOLOCIGAL/PSYCHIATRIC CARE
We will arrange for you, and in necessary instances, cover the costs of medical treatment, psychological and psychiatric care (medication to treat anxiety, aid sleep etc.)
We offer accommodation in two crisis shelters; one for women, one for men. We can also arrange accommodation at a hostel or in a specialized facility (a detox center, for example, or psychiatric facility, sheltered home for mothers with children, etc.)
TRAVEL HOME AND THE ARRANGEMENT OF SUBSEQUENT CARE IN YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Help solving a current crisis situation, ongoing information on how to solve your situation, help having your rights and the interests to which you are entitled upheld, help making contact with other organizations/institutions that can help. Help selecting other services offered by our organization, the possibility of sharing and consulting on the topic of your problems and successes with a social worker. Help processing your proof of ID, benefits and the legalization of your residency in the Czech Republic. Help drafting claims, complaints, statements and opinions according to the needs of the client. Assistance and aid when negotiating with various authorities and organizations. Consultation and help to clear (real and imagined) debts, interpretation and more.
Social counseling is offered in three forms:
- Over La Strada's INFO and SOS Hotlines at the first point of contact with our organization
- In a low-threshold advice bureau for those who have not been paid for their work
- In La Strada's advice bureau for those who use the services of our organization on a longer-term basis
- And more...
Our services are offered for free, in some cases anonymously.
If you are interested in using the services we offer, or if you want to consult with us about your situation, call our SOS or INFO Helplines:
(+420) 222 71 71 71
Mon: 10.00 – 16.00 (in Czech and Russian)
Tues: 10.00 – 16.00 (in Czech and English)
Thurs: 10.00 – 16.00 (in Czech)
|800 077 777 (Toll Free)|
Weds: 12.00 – 20.00 (in Czech, Russian and Romanian/Moldovan)
Outside of hotline hours, an answer-machine is available on which you can leave a message and we will call you back.
HOW WE WORK
HOW WE WORK
It is the client who decides on the concrete form of cooperation undertaken within the framework of services offered by our organization.
A social worker will draw up an individual plan with the client, which sums up future areas of cooperation. Into this plan are incorporated the needs of the client and the concrete aims of cooperation, referred to as 'commissions.'
A 'commission' is a concrete formulation and a goal of cooperation. From a well-formulated commission one can see the timeframe of the cooperation, what exactly should change or occur in the course of the cooperation and who is involved in the cooperation.
- An important principle of social work in our organization is the value of empowerment. We respect the life decisions of clients and we approach them without prejudice or moral judgment. Every individual who uses our services has the right:
- To dignified and professional treatment
- To be informed about every step taken to benefit him/her; no steps are taken without the client's express consent
- To decide for him/herself regarding further action to solve his/her case
La Strada upholds its clients' confidentiality.
Answers to 'frequently asked questions' are merely orientational. It is always important to consider concrete situations. For more information, contact us, and we will happily address your individual question.
1) I've made enquiries with firm "XY," which offers work in Ireland. Should I take this recruitment agency seriously?
La Strada does not have the authority to investigate the way a recruitment agency operates. This is the duty of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. We can, however, advise you about the sorts of information you should gain, and what to pay attention to, before you go abroad. We can also offer contacts at the Embassy and other helpful organizations in your destination country.
When you are negotiating with a recruitment agency, there are important indicators which can help you take a measure of how serious that agency is. To this end, it is important to find out the following: is the agency registered? Does it offer its clients contracts? What do these contracts say, and so forth?
2) My daughter is going to France to be an au-pair. How can I find out that the family is okay and what she should do in the event that she is not happy there?
There are certain general conditions defined for work as an au-pair (age, duration of stay, workload, the possibility of attending a language course, pocket-money), but their concrete form can vary from one country to another.
If you are in direct communication with the family, it is a good idea to ask about these conditions and sign a contract before departure.
3) I've been offered a photo-shoot abroad and I don't know whether it's safe?
In this situation it is important to find out whether the firm is registered, look over your work contract and find out as exactly as possible what the photo-shoot will consist of. If you are still a legal minor, then find out whether the agency offers an adult to accompany you and check up on this person.
It is suspicious if an agency offers modeling work (or work as a dancer) and doesn't require you to fulfill the normal criteria for this type of work. In the case of modeling, this means a certain height and weight, in the case of dancing, this means a certain dance background etc.
In any case, we recommend that while you are still in the Czech Republic you find contacts for the Czech Embassy and a local non-governmental organization which could help you in case of emergency.
4) I'm a Ukrainian citizen (or a citizen of a non-EU country) and I'm looking for work. Can you help me find a job?
We can help advise you how to go about looking for work. We can offer you general information about the conditions which must be met for a foreigner to be able to work in the Czech Republic. We can tell you the documents you will need. We can also tell you what to beware of when you are looking for work (see Question 1). But we cannot arrange a concrete job for you.
5) I worked in the Czech Republic for a 'client' who has not paid me in three months. Can you help me reclaim the sum I am owed?
One of the ways you can recoup the money you are owed is to take the matter to court, which can be a rather long and arduous process. Another option is to contact your employer, or the agency which set up this work, with a claim to resolve the debt amicably. What is important to know is that you can always do this – even when you did not sign a contract.
6) I am working for a 'client' who is threatening to cancel my visa. He/she also insists that I can't work for anyone else with the type of visa that I have. Is this true?
It's not true. If you are working for a 'client,' he or she can, in certain conditions, cancel a work permit or dismiss you from your place of temporary residence in the Czech Republic (in the case that he or she organized this accommodation). But they cannot annul your visa. If you have a work visa (visa 61), you also have the right to work in the Czech Republic without an agent ('client').
7) In "XY" nightclub a woman is working involuntarily. Her false name is Sandra. She has long black hair, is smaller in size, and has bruises all over her. Can you help her so that she doesn't have to be there against her will?
In such instances, we normally advise you to hand our information and contact details straight to the woman in question. She is then able to consider on her own whether she needs our help and indeed whether to contact us. From our experience it transpires that it is also very important to pass on our information and contact details safely, so that the person in question is not put in any danger.
8) I worked as a prostitute in a club where the conditions were very bad. My employers confiscated my documents and I wasn't able to leave the club. I was able to escape, but now I have nowhere to go. Can you help me?
Yes, we can offer you our free social services. It is up to you which services you would like to use. If you have nowhere to go and are worried for your safety, you can use our accommodation in our organization's sheltered apartment at a secret address which has a night staff. A social worker from our organization, with whom you can have regular meetings, can help you solve your difficult situation. We can also offer you social, health and psychological care and legal help.
Get informed before you travel abroad!
Get informed before you travel abroad!
Working abroad is an exciting challenge, but it also carries with it certain risks. The following ten points offer you basic guidelines regarding what to look out for so as to lower those risks. If you would like more information, or would like to consult on specific details of your employment abroad, then contact us.
TEN KEY POINTS TO ENSURE SAFE WORK ABROAD:
1. Be in possession of exact information about the place that you will stay and an exact description of the type of work you will be doing in the given place.
2. Leave at home a copy of your work contract and an address or contact for the place where you will be staying in the given country.
3. Arrange and then maintain regular contact with a trustworthy person at home.
4. Leave a photocopy of your passport and some recent photos at home.
5. Keep your passport with you at all times in the given country. Do not give it to someone else to look after.
6. In the European Union your ID Card is also a legal document, take it with you alongside your passport.
7. If possible, arrange to have your wages paid into an account and not cash-in-hand.
8. Do not accept from your agent or employer any presents or loans.
9. Follow the behavior of your agent or employer carefully – for example, if there is a sudden change of departure date, a postponement of formalities until some unspecified time, or pressure on you to accept other changes etc.
10. Take contacts for the Czech Embassy in the given country with you, numbers for helplines in the given country and contacts for helpful non-governmental organizations.
Comments and suggestions from our clients are valuable feedback for us and they help us improve our services. We would therefore be happy if you chose a way of sharing with us the causes of your unhappiness.
You can share complaints:
a) Directly with the social worker in charge of your case (or indeed with anyone else whose work you are unhappy with):
Social workers are obliged to write your complaint into our activity log and try and resolve it; social service workers are obliged to inform other key social workers.
If the situation does not improve, you can inform the head of social services in writing, over the phone, or at a meeting organized in advance. He/she will investigate your complaint within five days (if crisis aid is involved) and 15 days (if it is a matter of sheltered accommodation). Following on from this you will be given verbal notice (and at your request written notice) of the result of investigations into your complaint. This notification will be written into your case notes, which you always have access to, and which acts as a trusted resource for other La Strada employees.
Should you remain unhappy in this situation, let the director of the organization know in writing or over the phone; she will react to your complaint within 15 days. Thereafter, you will be notified in writing how the investigation into your complaint was concluded.
b) By email or telephone:
The consultant who receives your complaint is obliged to note its contents down and hand it to the head of social services.
The deadline for reacting to your complaint is the same as if you made it in person (see Point A). You can receive the response to your complaint by email or post. In the event that you are not happy with the way your complaint has been resolved, the next set of steps available to you are the same as those mentioned above for complaints submitted in person.
In the case that you register your complaint by email or phone, the reaction to your complaint is placed on the organization's web pages, as are the deadlines and behavioral directives put in place for those involved in the complaint.
In the event that a mistake was made on the part of the organization, measures will be taken to rectify the situation. Should you have gone through all of the possibilities mentioned above and still feel unhappy about the way that your complaint has been handled, we recommend you contact:
- La Strada's Executive Board (Správní rada organizace La Strada). You can contact the board in writing at our own organization's address.
- Prague City Hall's social work division at the following address: Magistrát Hl. města Prahy, Odbor sociální péče MHMP, Charvátova 145/9, Praha 1, 110 01, Praha 1
c) Anonymously (without your signature) by posting them into one of the boxes provided, which can be found in the sheltered accommodation with night staff on duty or in the organization's advice bureau. You can even send your complaint by post to:
La Strada ČR, o.p.s.
P.O. Box 305
11 21 Praha 1
The box situated in our sheltered accommodation is checked once monthly by the head of the shelter. This is who will deal with your complaint. Notification of the way your complaint has been resolved will then be posted on the notice board at our advice bureau. The box in our advice bureau is also checked once a month, in this case by the head of social services, who will deal with your complaint. Notification of the way that your complaint has been resolved will also be posted on the notice board in our advice bureau.
NB. – The deadlines for resolving your complaint in this case run from the time the boxes are emptied.
d) Through the representation of someone you choose:
You can use La Strada's interpreters to help you submit a verbal complaint. You can submit a written complaint to us in the language you use when you communicate with your social worker.
If you have any recommendations to help us improve our services, then you can also submit suggestions. You can share or address your suggestion to your social worker or indeed the head of social services. The person you address will be the one who follows up on your suggestion. He or she does not have to respond formally to you, however, with news of how your suggestion was handled.