Deputy PM Tsvetanov and Mr Anthony Hassiotis opening jointly the FREE ME Exhibition

Deputy PM Tsvetanov and Mr Anthony Hassiotis opening jointly the FREE ME Exhibition

Postbank's CEO Mr. Anthony Hassiotis and the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Mr. Tsvetan Tsvetanov, saw the ingenious exhibition "FREE ME", dedicated to combating the trafficking in human beings and exposed in The Art Center of the New Bulgarian University. They were hosted by University Rector Assoc. Prof. Plamen Botchkov, and Mrs. Judy Boyle, creator of the international initiative The NO Project.

"We are here as people, as parents", said Mr. Hassiotis in the beginning of the press-conference at the presentation of the exhibition and specified: "The issue if human trafficking is global and affects millions of people around the world, regardless of gender, age or nationality. And while our children make up a big part of the potential victims, we must take all the necessary steps for them to be informed and to know how to protect themselves". "Our bank supports The NO Project as a part of its overall policy of corporate social responsibility and its long-term commitment to young people in the country. If through this project we manage to save even just one child, our efforts will be worth it", Mr. Hassiotis added.

"I agree with Mr. Hassiotis, that if we manage to save a human life, our efforts will be rewarded", Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetanov stated during the press-conference. He presented the following data for last year with regard to human trafficking: "During 2011, 542 people in Bulgaria have become victims of the human trafficking business. 116 people were convicted with sentences of imprisonment of 8 to 10 years." 

Eighteen students from the New Bulgarian University participated in the 10 day workshop, during which they had the chance to express their points of view with regard to trafficking in human beings. Their creative approach was encouraged by Mrs. Boyle at the time of an interactive seminar, in the frames of which she presented to the young people the scales and consequences of the modern slavery. The NO Project creator implemented her project in Bulgaria at the invitation of Postbank and with the partnership of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (www.antitraffic.government.bg and the New Bulgarian University (www.nbu.bg).

The New Bulgarian University Art Center exhibition is opened for visitors until the end of this month from 8:00 to 20:30 h in working days and from 9:00 to 17:00 h over weekends. The NO Project first stage in Bulgaria was held by conducting three interactive workshops in the New Bulgarian University, the National School of Fine Arts "Ilia Petrov" and the American College in Sofia. The Project founder, Mrs. Judy Boyle, succeeded in engaging the attention of scores of pupils and students by involving them into the magnitude of the trafficking in human beings problem over the world. The Bulgarian dimensions of the problem were presented at the seminars by experts from the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

Postbank is implementing The NO project as a part of its overall corporate social responsibility policy thus demonstrating once again its continuous commitment to the young people in our country. High school students are also the focus of the project "High Start", in which the bank has been investing for the past 7 years, and recently the institution issued the first Bulgarian report on corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, prepared in accordance with the international standard G3 of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and certified by an independent external auditor.

The NO project is an independent initiative that aims at creating awareness and critical thinking on the issue of human trafficking. The project specifically targets youth awareness through music, the arts, education and social media. The NO Project values the power and skills of young people to influence attitudes and change behavior. More about the project can be found at www.thenoproject.org.

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