Funding, Awareness Campaigns, and Information Gathering
The divide between these two sets of organizations led to separate public awareness campaigns made possible by significant foreign funding. The crisis centers unaffiliated with the Angel Coalition increased their focus on spreading discussion of the problem through the Russian women’s movement. In 2002, drawing legitimacy from the U. N. Trafficking Protocol, leading Moscow activists published a second special issue dedicated to trafficking in We/My, a long-standing East-West feminist journal on women.13 They also turned to mainstream media, running a campaign with the Independent Radio Foundation and the news association Internews, similar to the one they had done for domestic violence. In the words of a movement leader:
It has long been understood that the mass media play a key role both in transmitting information, and also in the formation of images. Therefore, we see cooperation between the mass media and the Association as one of the key factors in our activity towards preventing violence against women in general, and in stopping human trafficking in particular. Our cooperation takes place on various levels: bringing in experts from the Association to educate journalists on these issues (through trainings and seminars) or to speak on radio and television programs at the national and local levels, and participating in talk shows. (Abubikirova 2002)
Launched in 2001 with funding from the U. S. State Department, the Internews campaign’s public service announcement “Disappearance” won a grand prize at a Russian public service announcement festival.
In the Far East, projects—all with U. S. funding—have included broad-based media campaigns to raise awareness as well as “training for the trainers” programs for groups considered at risk. In Siberian Altai, for example, the Women’s Alliance crisis center ran a series of educational seminars, dissemination of booklets, posters, stickers, and flyers, and public actions at local universities (200i—2002).i4 Another project focused on training NGOs to work with teachers, schools, and parents to prevent trafficking.!5 These leaders then worked with teachers and youth, coordinating street events and working in summer camps. More recently, programs have provided economic training programs to improve job search skills and self-esteem, seeking to empower at-risk women economically in order to prevent trafficking. The crisis center in Irkutsk conducted educational workshops and media campaigns, collected details about firms and marriage agencies that advertise jobs abroad, and disseminated practical info about how to protect oneself (Stoecker 2005, 23).
Meanwhile, the Angel Coalition/MiraMed was also working to raise awareness of the problem, among women’s organizations, public officials, and the broader public. In the late 1990s, with a grant from UNIFEM, the MiraMed director coordinated one hundred showings of Bought & Sold and co-produced an episode of a popular television program with Vladimir Poznerd6 In 2001, they initiated a multimedia public education antitrafficking campaign in six regional cities and began education programs in schools, colleges, and orphanages. Their message was “Don’t get fooled by false promises—Get the facts!” an effort to help young women go abroad more safely. In 2002, northwestern Russian organizations cooperated with Nordic counterparts in a multinational campaign against buying sex from young women and children (Boichenko 2004). Since 2005, Angel Coalition, with the antiprostitution Coalition against Trafficking in Women and Project Kesher, has targeted the Upper Volga region for a gender violence campaign. In contrast to other crisis centers, Angel Coalition also focused on ending the demand for sex trafficking.
By 2004, some one hundred organizations across Russia were involved in some type of prevention or awareness-raising activity.17 Particularly active were women’s crisis centers and Angel affiliates in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, Kazan, Barnaul, Irkutsk, Nizhny Tagil, Tula, and Karelia, which had conducted some two dozen projects between 1999 and 2005 (Tiuriukanova 2006, appendix). According to the leading Russian expert on trafficking, “[t]o date, NGOs have played the leading role in implementing practical initiatives to combat human trafficking and to provide support to victims” (65). In addition to the women’s crisis centers’ projects, the European Union supported radio announcements, the ILO supported economic empowerment for at-risk groups, and the IOM established some protection programs for already trafficked women. The Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at American University in Washington, D. C., through its Russian affiliates in Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Saratov, and Moscow, solicited Russian experts to produce the first serious academic study of the problem (Tiuriukanova and Erokhina 2002)d8 These international organizations “play a crucial role. . . in Russia. They deliver up-to-date international experience and methodologies, in applying holistic, human rights-based approaches” (Tiuriukanova 2006, 66, 68).