What are the forms of support being offered to people in need in Austria? They’re confidential, and can be found offering a vast array of different services for a wide range of social groups, both in the provinces and right across the country. In our series of articles looking at the forms of support being offered in Austria’s nine federal provinces, we’ve shed some light on a few of these organisations. Because professional networking – no matter whether it’s at the regional, national or international level – is what we’re all about. The crowning glory in our series of articles, meanwhile, are the great advice and care centres operating in Lower Austria, Burgenland, Carinthia and Vorarlberg. With their huge commitment and activism, these four provinces are making an enormously important contribution for people of all genders and origins as they make their way towards a better future.
AUSTRIA’S COMMITTED EAST
Have you ever heard of, or read, youngCaritas? This is the public face of a youth centre run by Caritas St. Pölten, which is dedicated to social justice. The centre offers huge numbers of campaigns, projects and workshops, enabling visitors to experience social issues and communicating information in an interesting way – all totally free of charge, for all political persuasions and confessions, and aimed at young people. One of the workshops focuses on the issue of human trafficking and the breaching of human rights. To do so, it takes a closer look both at the situation in Austria and at national measures for combating modern slavery, in a way suited to the listener’s age, packaged and communicated attractively.
The province of Burgenland is way ahead in the struggle against human trafficking, and this is proven by the Diocese of Eisenstadt and its major commitment to awareness-building. At the beginning of 2022, for example, the diocese invited people in numerous local parishes to the International Day of Reflection and Prayer against Human Trafficking and Slavery.
TWO PROVINCES, ONE MISSION
Austria’s southernmost province, Carinthia, is famed for many things: being home to the highest mountain in the country, enjoying the popular holiday shores of the Wörthersee lake, and even spawning its delicious Kärntner Kasnudeln. In 2022, however, the province made headlines for very different reasons, when its major Project against Human Trafficking won an Ethics Prize – and deservedly so. Over a period of three years, the Caritas Initiative has succeeded in helping 46 women as they have escaped prostitution. And the advice centre for victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution has not just enjoyed huge media attention since winning the award; the associated cash prize will now be bestowed upon victims of human trafficking in the form of comprehensive care and emergency relief.
A criminal trial at Feldkirch regional court involving the human trafficking of five au-pair girls also made headlines. A court case drew attention to the importance of the forms of support being offered to victims of human trafficking – in provinces including Vorarlberg. The Institute for Social Services there, for example, works actively to help people in psychological and social crisis situations in a range of areas of life. From migration through sexuality to work and creating a livelihood, the establishment of free welfare work provides advice on a wide range of issues.
WELCOME TO THE LAND OF OFFERS OF SUPPORT
One thing is clear, therefore: if you’re looking for support, you’re in the right place in Austria – in every one of the nine provinces. A vast range of different associations and organisations offer their support, with some initiatives making an important contribution across the country for people in crisis situations. One thought remains the same throughout, however: Nobody ever needs to overcome a difficult life situation alone!
Translation by Tim Martinz-Lywood, European Exchange Ltd.
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