(Nicosia, 01/08/19) The project publicity press conference of “LGBTI+ in Freedom of Exploitation (LIFE) Project” which is funded by the European Union under the “Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings” Grant Scheme and implemented by Queer Cyprus Association with the partnership of KAOS-GL was held at Civic Space Premises on 1 August, Thursday at 10:00 am.
The Life Project team gave a start by stating that, “Where Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and beyond (LGBTI+) will be free from exploitation in Cyprus” is the slogan of the new project implemented by Queer Cyprus Association. The “LGBTI+ in freedom from Exploitation (LIFE) Project” aims to contribute to the struggle of LGBTI+s who are trafficked in the northern part of Cyprus. The LIFE Project, started on May 2019 and will last for two and a half years.
The project Coordinator of the LIFE Project, Doğukan Gümüşatam, first thanked the press members for coming to the project first press conference. They then reminded that on 27 January 2014 homosexuality stopped being considered a crime in the northern part of Cyprus. Gümüşatam emphasized the critical issues in the LGBTI+ struggle and stressed that LGBTI+ rights have been gradually more acknowledged due to the activities of the association, created in 2008. Some of these activities have been and are still implemented through the following projects, funded by the European Union: the “Unspoken” project implemented by CCMC in partnership with Queer Cyprus Association and Thomson Foundation (2015-2017); the “Diversity of Colours” project (2018-2021) which started in December and focuses on capacity building; and the “LGBTI+ in freedom from Exploitation (LIFE)” project which started in May 2019.
Gümüşatamexplained that the new project “LGBTI+ in freedom from Exploitation (LIFE) Project” will last 2 and a half years and aims to fight against trafficking in LGBTI+s in the northern part of Cyprus. It also aims to raise awareness of LGBTI+s on sexual exploitation, to support the effective and coordinated fight against trafficking in human beings, and to enhance the access to rights of potential LGBTI + victims and those at risk. The following activities will be organized within the LIFE project: mapping the situation of LGBTI + sex workers in the northern part of Cyprus, publishing and disseminating the report of the mapping study, information sessions on LGBTI + and trafficking in human beings, expert focus group meeting in Turkey, advocacy for a coordinated response on LGBTI+ victims, training sessions for ‘solidarity line’ volunteers, peer worker-to-worker outreach activities, and lastly, mapping of existing social services and providing social welfare services to LGBTI+ victims, potential victims of THB and those at risk.
Last but not least, Gümüşatam expressed his gratitude to Civic Space (European Union funded technical assistance project) for their support and invited all interested parties to the LIFE project launch event, which will take place at the end of September 2019.