The most common forms of child exploitation in Georgia are forced begging and sexual and labour exploitation. Children, often below the age of 10, can be forced to beg by their parents, siblings, guardians, or even by criminal gangs. Child beggars work long hours and are often abused. Among victims of forced begging are migrant children who come from impoverished areas.
To mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons and raise public awareness about the crime of trafficking and forced begging, IOM and the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, supported by the EU, are highlighting the often invisible dangers that child beggars face.
To connect with the broad public, including youth, IOM partnered with Gagosha, a Tbilisi-based street artist, whose work raises awareness on social issues, including forced begging and lack of access to education for children. The mural produced for IOM by Gagosha (which can been seen in Tbilisi Underground) was transformed into posters that carry crucial awareness-raising messages. These have been strategically posted on billboards and bus stops in Georgia’s major cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Telavi.
A targeted awareness-raising video, inspired by IOM Ukraine's “Black Cube Campaign”, was developed by IOM Georgia and will be broadcast by commercial and public TV stations and through social media channels during the coming weeks.
With the use of social media, especially during the times of COVID-19, lockdowns and economic hardships, traffickers have unique opportunities to reach out to potential victims at an unprecedented scale. IN resposne, IOM has developed an informative video on the topic of human trafficking over the internet and shared it with its more than 16,00 social media followers.
"With this multi-media campaign, IOM is determined to lift the curtain on the dangers of human trafficking and show the negative consequences that may ensue from misinformed actions", said Sanja Celabic-Lukovac, IOM's Chief of Mission in Georgia.