ASTRA is regularly invited to numerous public sessions, seminars, conferences, workshops, roundtables and training programs organized by various GOs and NGOs. We always readily respond to such invitations, finding them very useful for informing broader public on the problem of human trafficking.
JAZAS celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a roundtable held in Belgrade on 28 June 2011. On this occasions, the results which this organization has achieved with regard to the protection of rights of sex workers and in the implementation of the project “Power of Prevention – A Steal Ahead”, aimed at HIV prevention among populations at higher risk for HIV, especially sex workers (in cooperation with SOAIDS from Holland). ASTRA representative presented the work of ASTRA as a partner organization in providing assistance to trafficking victims.
Two lawyers from ASTRA’s Legal Team attended the meeting of the COMP.ACT project coalition in Berlin on 15-17 June 2011. The COMP.ACT project, carried out by La Strada International and Anti Slavery International with their partner organizations from 14 EU states, addresses the problem of compensation for trafficking victims in Europe. It combines practical work – research, test cases and development of guidelines for experts; with international advocacy and campaigning for the improvement of access to justice for trafficked persons. Topics discussed at this meeting include the possibilities for access to compensation for trafficked persons, different models of compensation fund and the improvement of the position of victims in criminal proceedings.
ASTRA representative had a presentation at the international roundtable “Compensation for Trafficking Victims: experience of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine” which was organized by La Strada Belarus in Minsk, Belarus on 10. June 2011 In the last three years, these three states have undertaken a range of measures for the purpose of introducing compensation mechanism for trafficking victims. This roundtable aimed at consolidating efforts at regional level in order to enable systematic and sustainable approach to the compensation of damages to trafficking victims.
ASTRA representative participated the training on global and EU indicators for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution no. 1325 in Serbia, which Women in Black organized in Radmilovac on 2-3 June 2011. The main goal of the training is support to civil society organizations as a stakeholder in the implementation and as a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Resolution 1325. Resolution 1325 refers to women, peace and security. Its provisions are inviting women to take full part in all aspects of peace building, from negotiations to post-war reconstruction. The UN Security Council Resolution no. 1325 reaffirms the role of women in peace building and indicates to underestimated and poorly used contribution which women gives in preventing conflicts, sustaining peace, conflict resolution and peace building, stressing the importance of their equal and full participation as active actors in peace and security.
ASTRA representative attended the Transnational workshop held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 27-29 June 2011 within the Enhancing Transnational Cooperation on Trafficking Cases in South-Eastern Europe (TRM-II). Central topic of the workshop, organized by ICMPD with USAID’s support was trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labor exploitation, i.e. current challenges in detecting and prosecuting these cases. Participants from Serbia were the representatives of ASTRA and the police.
ASTRA representatives attended a planning workshop, which was organized in Belgrade on 17-18 May 2011 by German agency for international cooperation GIZ on the occasion of launching a regional project in the field of anti trafficking and social protection that will be implemented in Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the program is strengthening of decentralized social protection services aimed at combating human trafficking. The program will attempt to identify causes and to reach out to as many as possible vulnerable/marginalized groups through different social programs that should have the effect of long-term social integration
The Association of Public Prosecutors and Deputy Public Prosecutors of Serbia, with support of the Delegation of European Union (EIDHR) organized four seminars “Working Network and Serbia’s Experience in Combating Human Trafficking and Protecting Victims” – in Vrnjačka Banja on 13-15 May, in Subotica on 3-5 June, in Kladovo on 23-25 September and in Kopaonik on 21-23 October 2011 – within the project “More Efficient Protection of Trafficking Victims – Judicial Response”. The project aims, inter alia, at strengthening the capacities of judicial professional associations in Serbia in the promotion of protection of the human rights of trafficking victims and at creating a legal network of civil society organizations at local level for the purpose of advocacy for a comprehensive protection of trafficking victims. Lecturers at the seminar were the representatives of the Court of Appeal, the Superior Court of Cassation, Prosecutor’s for Organized Crime Office, Prosecutor’s for War Crimes Office, the Forensic medicine Institute, the Police Organized Crime Department, the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies, NGOs Counseling Center against Family Violence and ASTRA. Participants were public prosecutors, deputy public prosecutors, senior prosecution associates, prosecution associates and trainees.
Trade unions representative from Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine gathered at the Subregional Trade Union Conference which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 27-28 April 2011. The main focus of the conference, organized by ITUC-PERC, ILO and the Azerbaijan Trade Unions Confederation was trade unions’ cooperation in the field of migrations, development and protection of migrant workers’ rights. The participants of the conference were addressed by the experts form ITUC, OSCE, IOM and NGO ASTRA, as well as by the representatives of the Azerbaijan government. At this meeting, trade union leaders agreed on, inter alia, spreading the struggle against precarious work in the fight against human trafficking, strengthening the role of labour inspection to prevent exploitation, forced labour and discrimination, cooperation with NGOs to prevent trafficking and support migrants, integration and reintegration of migrant workers, rehabilitation of workers, victims of human trafficking; identifying and bringing to justice those organising human trafficking.
ASTRA representative attended the ENPATES European NGOs Platform against Trafficking, Exploitation and Slavery neeting and La Strada International NGO Platform Meeting. The meetings were held in Rome, Italy on 5-7 April 2011. The ENPATES meeting aimed at creating a new anti-trafficking network in Europe. It brought together more than 50 participants from 38 NGOs from all across Europe, who worked on need analysis, on defining the statement and guiding principles and on the Platform’s prospects. The participants of the La Strada International NGO Platform discussed the following issues: migration (how can anti-trafficking organizations incorporate the issue of (safe) migration in their daily work?); demand (how can NGOs tackle demand while emphasizing the diversity of exploitative purposes for which people are trafficked?); role of NGOs as watch dogs (how can NGOs monitor and report on the possible negative side effects of anti-trafficking legislation and policies?); identification (what are the main areas for improving current identification methods for establishing the ‘perfect’ identification model?); compensation (COMP.ACT); monitoring tools (how can NGOs monitor their own activities? Can we set up joint monitoring /peer review groups?).
ASTRA representative attended a workshop on access to justice for trafficked persons organized by ODIHR Anti-trafficking programme in cooperation with Bilgi University Istanbul on 28 – 30. March 2011. The workshop sought to look at the issue of access to justice from a wide perspective, discussing the concept of access to justice, pre-conditions for an effective access to justice as well as specific rights (such as the right to information and the right to compensation), as well as various mechanisms for accessing justice (including criminal, civil, administrative and informal avenues at the national and international level). It brought together lawyers and NGO representatives from countries of origin and destination across the OSCE region, including Central Asia, the Caucasus, South Eastern Europe, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, enabling them to share and discuss their experiences, good practices and challenges in providing legal assistance to trafficked persons.
ASTRA representative attended the First Transnational Seminar “Enhancing Transnational Cooperation on Trafficking Cases in South-Eastern Europe” organized by ICMPD and supported by USAID whichy was held on 16-18 March 2011 in Budapest, Hungary. The objectives of the seminar were to present the results of the assessment phase; to agree on concrete future steps for the second project phase and to exchange information and share ideas about future steps towards broader transnational cooperation. Participants were members of the national implementation teams – officials, experts and members of the NGOs from participating countries from South-East Europe – and representatives from destination countries outside the region.
On the occasion of 18 October – European Anti-trafficking Day the Conference “Fight against human trafficking in the Republic of Serbia” was held in the Serbian Parliament. It was organized by OSCE and IOM-UNHCR-UNODC Joint Project to Combat Human Trafficking and coordinated by the Serbian Parliament. The Conference was organized in four sessions and gathered a number of important actors engaged in fight against this social problem. Participants included Minister of the Interior, Speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Head of the IOM Mission to Serbia, Serbian Coordinator for combating human trafficking, the representatives of national and international NGOs, experts, representatives of the Serbian judiciary, diplomatic core, MPs in Serbian Parliament and others. Among other topics, the Conference aimed to discuss improvement and strengthening of the national anti-trafficking mechanism by adopting policies based on international documents ratified by the Republic of Serbia and awareness raising of the general public about this dangerous social problem.
ASTRA representatives took part in the International conference “Monitoring mechanisms in the fight against human trafficking” held in the Dutch House of the Representatives, in The Hague, The Netherlands on October 15, 2010. The Conference has been organized by the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings. In addition to the plenary sessions which were addressing the issues of human trafficking in the context of human rights, the role of prosecution and international cooperation, possible course of the human trafficking in the future and presentation of the ten years of work of the Dutch National Rapporteur, four workshops were also held: financial and digital investigations; non punishment and immigration laws; monitoring and awareness rising; prosecution and trials; and perpetrators and facilitators.
Autumn meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was held in Palermo, Italy on October 8 – 11, 2010. It marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of Palermo Convention. At the session dedicated to the fight against human trafficking the speakers were Interpol Assistant Director Trafficking Human Beings, OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, OSCE PA Special Representative on Human Trafficking Issues. A representative of ASTRA gave a presentation to the parliamentarians about the current situation in Southeast Europe and emphasized the challenges which the victims frequently face after they escaped the human trafficking chain.
ASTRA presented its work at the Fair of Civil Society Organizations organized in Belgrade on June 10-11, 2010 by the Agency for Cooperation with NGOs and European Harmonization. The aim of this Fair was the promotion of the role of NGOs in the process of EU accession. The Fair was also an opportunity for establishing and enhancing partnerships between the civil society, business and public sectors. Numerous NGOs and foundations presented their work to the citizens of Belgrade at more then 60 stands, while some city municipalities, the Secretariats for Environment, Social Welfare, Culture and Public Health and the Youth Office presented their cooperation with civil society organizations. Besides presentations at the exhibition area, side program included conferences, roundtables and workshops in the City Administration building.
During May 2010, final year students of the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies had an opportunity to learn more about different aspects of combating human trafficking., lectures were given by the National Coordinator, Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime and the representatives of the Criminal Justice Police, the law and order and anti-trafficking police departments, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims and NGO ASTRA.
ASTRA, Child Rights Center and Center for Youth Integration representatives attended the training “Child Rights Programming and Child Participation” Training organized by Save the Children in Tirana on May 24-25, 2010 within Child Trafficking Response Program III for its Country Coordinators and Implementing Partners. The objectives of the training were to teach participants how to define child rights programming, analyze the various components of child rights programming, define the level of participation in their everyday work, identify methods to advance child participation in their own work and to come up with a plan on how to advance child participation in the future work.
ASTRA representative was one of the participants at the roundtable organized in Belgrade on May 11, 2009, for the purpose of drafting the Law on the Rights of the Child. Adoption of this law was one of the recommendations the Committee on the Rights of the Child gave in their concluding observations to the Initial Report of the Republic of Serbia on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The roundtable gathered representatives from relevant ministries and other state authorities, representatives from the judiciary, members of the Child Rights Council, and representatives from nongovernmental and international organizations. The debate sought to identify legal gaps and inconsistencies in the existing legal system in the area of the rights of the child, as well as to discuss the goals and contents of the future law.
ASTRA member attended the Concluding Conference of the PERC/FNV project “Promoting the rights of and representing workers engaged in informal labour relations”, organized by European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Pan-European Trade Union Council (PERC) in Budapest on February 10 and 11, 2010. The aim of the meeting was to assess the course of the national actions and to further build up a PERC agenda in the area of informal economy. The conference was also used for an exchange between unions, workers associations of mostly self-employed workers’ unions and other NGOs active in the field or friendly to unions. The participants discussed through several thematic sessions: governmental policies to reduce informal economy; social dialogue as the means to address the informal economy challenge, outreaching and organizing workers: changes in union strategies and structures; and interests of and services to special groups of workers: domestic, self-employed, migrants, etc.
Child Rights Center organized a roundtable titled “(Non)Compliance with the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child” in Belgrade on January 26, 2010. The aim of this roundtable was to present the Alternative Reports on the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Speakers at this event were the representatives of the Child Rights Center, Youth Integration Center and ASTRA, as well as children – members of Children’s Coalition.
These Alternative Reports, prepared by the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Monitoring the Rights of the Child, were presented to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva on February 2. Child Rights Center and ASTRA representatives discussed with the members of the Committee the best practices and future plans in the follow-up to the Committee’s concluding observations, as well as the UN human rights system in general.
ASTRA representative also attended the the 54th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on May 26, 2010 when the Government Delegation of the Republic of Serbia (Permanent Representative of the Republic of Serbia to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva and representatives from the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Coordinator for combating human trafficking) presented the Initial Report on the Implementation of Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on the Participation of Children in Armed Conflicts.
ASTRA representative was one of the participants at NGO platform meeting under the title “20th years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – where do we stand?”, organized by La Strada International in Berlin on November 9-10, 2009. Participants – relevant European anti-trafficking organizations – discussed how NGOs to cope with current realities in the anti-trafficking work and how to best serve the interests of trafficked persons within the system. A starting point was a need to redefine where we stand and how to set standards relating to prevention, stereotyping (which images to use), shelter and safety rules, the establishment of national referral mechanisms, external cooperation with partners, data collection and protection, transparency and democracy.
On October 22, 2009, ASTRA representative held a lecture on the human trafficking issues in conflict areas at the “Triple Course” (military staff course, police course and civilian UN course) organized by Swedish Armed Forces International Centre/SWEDINT.
ASTRA representative attended a Regional Workshop which took place in Bucharest, Romania, on October 13-15, 2009. The workshop was organized by the International Trade Union Confederation/Pan-European Regional Council (ITUC-PERC) and Anti-Slavery International in the framework of a two-year joint initiative against trafficking for labour exploitation in Europe, supported by the European Commission. The initiative is hoping to bring together NGOs and trade unions across Europe, to raise awareness; share good practice; foster communication and development of an integrated strategy for workplace action on trafficking and the protection of trafficked people.
ASTRA representative attended the fourteenth OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, which took place in Warsaw from 28 September to 9 October 2009. This meeting brought together a great number of participants – government representatives, experts and human rights defenders – from the OSCE area and partner countries as well as international organizations. Organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), it aimed at reviewing the implementation of the broad range of OSCE human dimension commitments.
Regional workshop on fighting against trafficking in human beings in the Western Balkans took place in Tirana, Albania on September 10-11, 2009. The event was organized by the European Commission within its TAIEX Project. The workshop aimed at facilitating exchange of information with a view to encouraging cross-border cooperation between authorities involved in the fight against trafficking in the Western Balkans and at promoting a regional approach in suppressing this problem among Western Balkan countries and with neighboring countries. On this occasion, the representatives of participating countries presented the latest figures and facts on local human trafficking situation. Serbian participants at the workshop were the representatives of the Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry, Ministry for Labor and Social Policy and NGO ASTRA.
The conference under the title “Easier Said than Done” was organized in London on June 11-12, 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Institute of Child Health. The conference, inter alia, sought to evaluate theory and practice, assess the value of the CRC on the ground and devise multi-faceted approaches to meet new challenges. Through numerous panels and exchange of experiences among international organizations, NGOs, lawyers, policy-makers, academics, experts, practitioners, and professionals working with children, it aimed to identify greater synergies between all players and reach recommendations for more responsive implementation measures. ASTRA representative attended this conference, where one presentation was given by the representative of Belgrade organization Child Rights Center
Newly founded NGO ANTOS from Kraljevo organized the Anti-Trafficking Week in this town on May 25-27, 2009. On the first day, a public session was held in the Multimedia Center “Kvart”, where the representatives from ASTRA and UNODC Belgrade office and Dušan Vojvodić, author of the documentary “Illegal Migrations – Human Trafficking- Child Trafficking” talked about the problem of trafficking in human beings. On this occasion, a photo exhibition of the members of Kraljevo Foto Kino Club on the topic of human trafficking was opened. On the second day, the representative from the local social welfare center gave a lecture about trafficking in children. On the third day, the coordinator of the Counseling against Family Violence talked at the panel for the judiciary, the police and the education system about trafficking in women. The entire manifestation was accompanied by the screening of thematic documentaries and street actions, were educational material was handed out to the citizens of Kraljevo.
The Anti-Trafficking Alliance’s launched a short documentary “Behind the Smile” in London on May 19, 2009. This documentary, featuring exclusive testimony and insightful analysis, aims to raise awareness amongst young men of the causes and consequences of sex trafficking and the role they play in perpetuating or tackling this human rights abuse. According to ASTRA representative, who attended the premiere, this film talks about the human trafficking phenomenon in an original way and brings a new approach to this topic.
ASTRA representative attended the Sofia International Forum on Combating Child Trafficking: Challenges, Promising Practices and Cooperation, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 7-8, 2009. The event was organized by the Bulgarian National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and UN.GIFT. The goal of the Forum was to share promising practices in the field of combating child trafficking and to address present and future challenges in order to come up with effective solutions to fight this crime. The participants also had the opportunity to hear something about the Austrian-Bulgarian model to reduce the number of trafficked children, which was developed and advanced over the past several years. Regional UNODC Coordinator Carla Chivarella said that children were the key group in human trafficking in Southeastern Europe. Namely, child trafficking in SEE countries is higher compared to the rest of Europe. The most vulnerable are minority groups and especially Roma children. According to Ms. Chivarella, the problem that impedes an effective fight against child trafficking in Bulgaria is the lack of data and information, because these children do not even have a formal registration in the relevant institution.
For the third year in a row, the representatives of the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies, ASTRA and the police gave a three-hour lecture on human trafficking within the Criminalistics Course at the Kragujevac University Law School on April 23, 2009. The aim of the lecture was to discuss with the students about human trafficking as a criminal offense and what had been done thus far in the area of prevention, suppression and punishing of this crime in view of domestic and international practice.
Documentary series “The Tree of Life/A STRANGE FOREST”, produced by Olivera Miloš Todorović, was presented at the press conference in Belgrade on February 27, 2009. On that occasion, the author and the representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and NGOs Child Rights Center, Family and ASTRA talked about the project and on the better protection of children. One episode of the documentary, which was aired on TV Studio B, addressed the topic of child trafficking.
During February and March 2009, ASTRA presented, at the press conferences in Media Center Belgrade, the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina in Novi Sad and Media Center Niš, “Human Trafficking – Manual for Journalists” published with support of OSCE Mission to Serbia. Speakers at the conference were the representatives of OSCE Mission and ASTRA, as well as some of the authors (Saša Leković, Olivera Miloš Todorović, Svenka Savić and Miša Stojiljković).
CARE International organized a Conference on Poverty in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 9-12, 2008. One of the sessions, where ASTRA representative had presentation, addressed the human trafficking problem as a direct consequence of poverty and conflict in society. The session analyzed the roots and dimensions of a trans-national problem and proposed effective NGO responses to it.
ASTRA representatives attended the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Vienna on October 8-17, 2008. This type of Conference has been established under the Convention itself in order to improve the capacity of State Parties to combat transnational organized crime and to promote and review the implementation of the Convention. On October 13, a full day was given to sharing information about human trafficking, especially protection of victims and witnesses.
In the organization of Slovenian NGO Society Ključ, a regional roundtable on the human trafficking problem took place in Ljubljana on July 10, 2008. ASTRA representative presented the problems in combating human trafficking in Serbia with emphasis on work integration of trafficking survivors. This roundtable is part of the project “You Too Are A Part of This World”, which is coordinated by Association Sloga and financially supported by the European Commission.
Conference “Sexual Violence – Overcoming Institutional and Personal Obstacles” took place in Zagreb on June 12-14, 2008.The Conference sought to provide information and to discuss international documents governing sexual violence against women, to present statistics and examples of good practices and services, as well as of good campaigns and laws in the UK. The Conference also provided an opportunity to analyze, in small groups, situation and possibilities for combating sexual violence against women at national levels.
The third meeting of the members of civil society organizations – target group women, within the project “Contact Organization of Civil Society for the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)” took place in Belgrade on June 6, 2008. The meeting, attended by the representatives of women’s group working in the social welfare area, aimed at the exchange of information on key processes of the social policy reform, with emphasis put on the standardization of social services and the process of decentralization of the system in the context of the position of women’s NGOs service provides; another goal was to do an oral evaluation of the project.
The third regional seminar of the Program to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms for Trafficking Victims in South East Europe was held in Rome, Italy on May 19-22, 2008. The aim of the seminar was to present the results of the third phase of project implementation, to test TRM guidelines on international case studies and to close the third phase and discuss future steps within this Program. It has been decided here to continue the Program for the next one-year period through specific transnational activities and further testing and final implementation of the guidelines. The seminar was organized by ICMPD and USAID.
On May 14, 2008, ASTRA representatives gave a lecture on the problem of human trafficking to teachers and staff of the Grocka High School. Besides basic aspects of trafficking in human beings, participants had the opportunity to hear something about peer prevention-educative workshops conducted by ASTRA Peer Education Team. This lecture sought, inter alia, to train and encourage teachers to initiate preventive-educational activities within their regular work at school.
Within the Program to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms for Trafficking Victims in South East Europe, carried out by ICMPD and USAID, the second workshops were held in Belgrade on May 9, 2008. The workshop, which sought to provide training for the use of TRM Guidelines, focused on presenting how this mechanism worked to the representatives of the social welfare system, the police, the judiciary and prosecutor’s offices from the whole territory of Serbia.
ASTRA participated in the Civil Society Organizations’ Fair that took place in Belgrade on May 7-9, 2008. The CSO Fair gathered together interested Belgrade-based nongovernmental organizations which had the opportunity to connect, exchange experiences, promote civil activism, organize presentations, roundtables, workshops, exhibitions and the like; thematic working meetings related to different fields of civil activism were organized, as well. The Fair was organized by the Agency for Cooperation with Nongovernmental Organizations and EU Harmonization of the City of Belgrade Administration.
For the third year in a row, ASTRA representative gave a lecture on trafficking in human beings to the participants of the NORCAPS Balkan CIMIC Course 2008 that was held in April 2008 at the Peacekeeping Operations Center of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, based on the Cooperation Program within NORDCAPS – Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support and in cooperation with the Danish Army Logistics School.
On March 20, 2008, ASTRA representatives, together with Professor Žarković from the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies, gave a three-hour lecture on the problem of human trafficking within the Criminalistics Course at the Kragujevac University Law School. The aim of the lecture was to present to students, through discussion, human trafficking as a criminal offense and what had been done thus far in the area of prevention, suppression and punishing of this crime in view of domestic and international practice.
Young Women’s Christian Association of Belarus, within the framework of La Strada program, organized an international seminar “Anti-Trafficking Prevention: Measuring Success” in Minsk on March 18 and 19, 2008. The seminar aimed at exploring how to evaluate awareness raising and educational programs in the area of human trafficking prevention, strengthening skills and knowledge of NGOs in measuring quality of preventive strategies and exchange of good practices of anti-trafficking prevention in the countries of origin. ASTRA representative presented the study “Human (Child) Trafficking – A Look Through the Internet Window” and discussed advantages and disadvantages of using the Internet for preventing trafficking in human beings.
ASTRA representative gave a lecture at a two-day seminar “Child Trafficking – A Threat and A Reality”, which was held in Vranjska Banja on March 11-12, 2008, for the representatives of the judiciary, the police, the social welfare system and nongovernmental organizations. The seminar was organized by Save the Children UK and was intended for organizations and institutions whom this organization correlate with.
Within the third phase of the Program to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms for Trafficking Victims in South East Europe, carried out by ICMPD and USAID, the first of two planned workshops were held in Belgrade on March 7, 2008. The workshop, which sought to provide training for the use of TRM Guidelines, was delivered by the members of the National Implementation Team, including ASTRA representative, while workshop participants were the representatives of the social welfare system, the police and the judiciary.
The second two-day seminar for the members of civil society organizations – target group women, within the project “Contact Organization of Civil Society for the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)” took place in Belgrade on February 22-23, 2008. On the first day, Dejana Razić from the Project Team for Annual Operational Planning of the Government of Serbia talked about the concept of annual operational planning, planning cycle for 2008 for ministries’ activities to be carried out in 2009, about a survey for stakeholders in the planning process, as well as about the best way for the inclusion of women’s NGOs into the process. Jasmina Kijevčanin from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Team for the Implementation of PRSP presented different techniques for monitoring the implementation of public policies and talked about drawing up monitoring reports (technique, impact possibilities). On the second day, participants were discussing activities of collecting “experiences” of influencing public policies, as well as local public events under the title “Women – Poverty – Development” that were to be organized throughout Serbia in the coming weeks.
The Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking, as a part of the UN.GIFT initiative, was held at United Nations Headquarters in Vienna on February 13-15, 2008. On that occasion, different aspects of three major themes – vulnerability, impact and action – were addressed through plenary sessions and a series of panels and workshops: (1) demand for forced labor and sexual exploitation; corruption and human trafficking; communities in crisis; profiling the traffickers; trafficking in persons for the removal of organs and body parts; (2) quantifying human trafficking; consequences of sexual exploitation; health and human trafficking; the role of media in building images; transnational organized crime; (3) repatriation and reintegration of victims; legal frameworks and anti-trafficking legislation; employers’ organizations, business and trade unions combating TIP; national and regional responses – action plans; protection and prosecution; technology and human trafficking; supply-chain management; proactive prevention – what works; criminal justice response; building bridges – CSOs/law enforcement cooperation.
ASTRA representative was one of the official speakers at the workshop “The Role of Media in Building Images” which was aimed at fair and balanced media coverage of human trafficking victims in order to avoid them being re-victimized and suffer any undue hardship arising from media interventions in the future. The workshop addressed three general themes: uncovering human trafficking stories (what the practical constraints faced by journalists when trying to find a story about a human trafficking victim are and whether the journalist can and should remain a detached observer, upholding the highest ethical standards); towards a more balanced and fair representation of human trafficking (what can be done to help generate a full understanding and fair reporting of the issue in the media and how to avoid clichés and stereotypical representation of human trafficking in the media); and sensitivity and responsibility when interviewing victims (how journalists can ensure that victims and the full context of their situation are truly understood, how human trafficking story can be empowering and how this can be applied to photographic accounts of human trafficking).
On December 13, 2007, OSCE Mission to Serbia organized the presentation of the English translation of the National Anti Trafficking Strategy of Serbia and the latest trafficking trends. National Coordinator for combating human trafficking and the representatives of ASTRA, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, NGO Atina and the Police Academy talked about the role of the state in combating human trafficking, assistance to and protection of victims and criminal prosecution of perpetrators.
On December 3 and 4, 2007, a regional conference titled “Combating Human Trafficking in Central and Southeastern Europe” was held in Thessaloniki, Greece, as a part of the HERA Project, which is implemented by the European Public Law Center with support of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, i.e. Hellenic Aid. On this occasion, delegations from 11 countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) presented their national reports on the human trafficking situation. The National Report for Serbia was created by Marija Anđelković and Tamara Vukasović, Co-Coordinators of ASTRA, Mitar Đurašković, Head of the Department for Combating Cross-Border Crime of the Serbian Interior Ministry Border Police Directorate, Snezana Nikolić-Garotić, judge of the Belgrade District Court and Violeta Beširević, Professor at the European University and Union University Law School.
ASTRA representative attended Regional Training on Monitoring in the field of TRP, which took place in Sarajevo on November 21 and 22, 2007. The training was organized within IOM’s regional project aimed at building the capacities of nongovernmental organizations and government staff in South Eastern Europe to adequately implement legislation in the field of temporary residence for victims of trafficking and to monitor this process in order to improve procedures and institutionalize mechanisms for victims’ protection.
The second regional meeting of the Programme to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM) for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe was held on November 13-16, 2007 in Sarajevo. The meeting sought to present the results of the national implementation phase in each country (the results of national workshops etc.), to agree on timelines and responsibilities and considerate the implementation of the TRM guidelines in transnational cases during the test run phase, and to exchange experiences and discuss cooperation with countries outside the SEE region for the transnational referral of victims during the test-run phase.
The second Summit of Human Rights Defenders took place in Bečej on November 7-11, 2007, in the organization of Incest Trauma Center. This Summit served for the continuation of discussion on women’s groups policy, through two topical units: the drafting of a joint document and facing the past, and threats to the self-organizing of women by misusing their sexuality. The Summit was attended by 33 women – members of women’s NGOs from Serbia.
ASTRA representative attended seminar “How to Help Roma Children in School”, which took place in Belgrade on November 10 and 11, 2007, in the organization of Group 484. Some of the topics discussed include the Strategy for the Improvement of Roma Education in the Republic of Serbia, causes for the underachievement of Roma children, how to support and motivate them, as well as a pedagogic view to the inclusion of Roma children into the education system.
ASTRA representative participated in a workshop which International Organization against Torture (OMCT) organized in Geneva on November 6-8, 2007. The workshop gathered a small group of NGO advocates from around the world, aimed at equipping participants with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to prepare and successfully litigate cases involving violations of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment before the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Committee against Torture. The training included interactive group discussions, case studies and skill/development exercise, based on the Volume 4 of the OMCT Handbook Series – Seeking Remedies for Victims: a Handbook on the Individual Complaints Procedures of the UN Treaty Bodies.
Since May 2007, the Autonomous Women’s Center, in cooperation with ASTRA and Voice of Difference, was acting as a Contact Organization of Civil Society for the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Designed as a project for creating mechanisms for the exchange of information between government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, and under the auspices of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Team for the Implementation of PRSP, the process of establishing relationship between the NGO sector and ministries relevant for this Strategy. Having recognized this as a good opportunity to exert influence on government policy, on October 5 and 6, 2007, the above organizations held a meeting with women’s organizations – cluster members with a view to presenting the whole concept and agreeing on the principles and mechanisms of communication between organizations.
Within the series “Man is A Teacher to Man”, a public session titled “Family Violence – Conspiracy of Silence” took place in the Jewish Cultural Center on October 24, 2007. On that occasion, Rabbi Isak Asiel, Ljerka Mezga – Ćurčin, consultant from the Autonomous Women’s Center, Jeca Nedeljković, psychologist from the Social Welfare Center Zemun and Ivana Radović, coordinator of ASTRA Education and Prevention Program talked about family violence and the problem of trafficking in human beings.
ASTRA representative attended a conference “Childhood without Violence”, dedicated to the protection of children from all forms of violence in Southeast Europe. The Conference took place in Belgrade on October 18 and 19, 2007, organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The Conference, attended by some one hundred participants – representatives of relevant ministries, institutions and NGOs – was aimed at the exchange of experiences among national experts regarding the protection of children from all forms of violence and creating grounds for further cooperation between the members of different organizations dealing with children protection in the region.
ASTRA representatives attended the OSCE supplementary human dimension meeting on combating sexual exploitation of children, which was held in Vienna on October 18 and 19, 2007. The meeting sought to review how participating States implement the OSCE commitments as well as other international standards on combating sexual exploitation of children, preventing this crime, and providing social protection and assistance to victims. The following areas were in focus: understanding and addressing vulnerability to exploitation, legislation and its implementation: social protection and criminal law; and good practices in prevention and protection. Two side events accompanied the meeting, one dedicated to a large, but rather unrecognized problem of exploitation of males in sex industry and the other aimed at drawing up a Framework Action Protocol on Child Abuse in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a result of the Catalan experience.
On the occasion of October 18, the day designated as the EU Anti Trafficking Day, regional seminar titled “Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings: Measures to Protect and Promote the Rights of Victims” was held in Belgrade on October 18 and 19, 2007. The seminar was organized by the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia. Around one hundred participants, experts, Council of Europe representatives, the representatives of governments of participating countries and NGOs from the region discussed the measures to combat human trafficking, victims’ protection and new modes of cooperation. Participants had the opportunity to hear something about measures for the protection of trafficking survivors prescribed under the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as measures undertaken nationally in Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. Methods for protection and promotion of victims’ rights range from psychological and practical assistance, security and protection, to their recovery, including non-punishment provisions applying to victims who were forced to participate in illegal activities.
ASTRA representative attended the meeting of an NGO Platform on Trafficking in Human Beings 2007 “Responding to Root Causes and Creating Equal Opportunities” which took place in Skopje, Macedonia on October 15 and 16, 2007. The event, which gathered the representatives of all La Strada members and other NGOs from 27 countries, consisted of group workshops (a total of 12), bilateral meetings and a concluding presentation of working groups’ proposals. The roundtable discussion focused on the Platform’s proposals and situation in the Balkans, in particular in Macedonia.
Within the project “Programme to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM) for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe”, carried out by ICMPD in cooperation with USAID, the second national workshop took place in Belgrade on October 12, 2007. The workshop aimed at further adaptation of the preliminary version of the Guidelines for the establishment of this mechanisms to the measures which exist at the national level and discussing the possibilities for their enforcement.
ASTRA representative attended the first US/Balkan Forum on Missing and Exploited Children, organized by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and The Smile of the Child in Athens, Greece, on October 10, 2007. The Forum, comprised of roundtable discussion sessions, sought to explore the scope of the problem of missing and exploited children in the United States and in the Balkan region and discuss the demand-side and supply-side aspect of the problem of child trafficking, current and emerging issues and the opportunities for and necessity of collaboration and cooperation among agencies and organizations and across borders. UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked annually worldwide.
ASTRA representative participated at the regional seminar “Providing Assistance to Trafficking Victims with Temporary Residence Permit” which took place in Belgrade on September 25 – 26, 2007. The seminar, organized within International Organization for Migration’s regional project, sought to enhance the capacities of NGOs and state institutions in South East Europe for adequate implementation of TRP legislation, as well as for the monitoring of the process of permit issuance, aimed at successful protection of trafficking victims. The seminar was delivered by Belgian NGO PAYOKE, in coordination with IOM Mission in Belgrade and other IOM regional missions.
Within the project “Programme to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM) for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe”, carried out by ICMPD in cooperation with USAID, the first national workshop took place in Belgrade on September 21, 2007. The participants – including ASTRA representative – discussed TRM Guidelines, the enforcement of the TRM and the adaptation of the Guidelines to the national level.
ASTRA representative participated at the seminar which the Child Rights Center organized for nongovernmental organizations that deal with children and the rights of the child, aimed at establishing a coalition of NGOs that would take part in writing the alternative report on the rights of the child situation in Serbia. The seminar took place in Belgrade on September 10-14, 2007.
Within its working visit to Belgrade, organized by the Victimology Society of Serbia, during September 2007, the representatives of the Section of Safe Houses and Maternal Homes of Slovenia from Celje visited the Victimology Society of Serbia, Atina, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, Counseling against Family Violence, Youth Integration Center, Maternal Home and ASTRA.
Three representatives from the association “Woman to Woman” from Doboj, visited ASTRA on August 30, 2007, where they had an opportunity to learn more about the activities ASTRA carries out towards combating trafficking in human beings.
On July 20, 2007, NGO Atina organized a roundtable in Belgrade to address the issue of cross-border cooperation between organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and mechanisms and procedures for monitoring the cases of human trafficking. Besides the representatives from eight organizations that operate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the roundtable was attended also by the representatives from the Republican Institute for Social Protection, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, NGO ASTRA, NGO Counseling against Family Violence, NGO Atina, Serbian Interior Ministry, OSCE and IOM.
In the organization of Incest Trauma Centre, the Summit of Human Rights Defenders involved in the promotion and advancement of the position of women was held in Iriski venac, on July 4-7, 2007.
The Summit, which gathered leaders of 25 women’s NGOs from Serbia, including ASTRA, aimed at enhancing a joint voice of the coalitions of women’s groups and working on different topics in connection with the problem of violence against women and children and the current policy of women’s NGOs towards the state and state authorities.
This event was supported by Canadian International Development Agency and Reconstruction Women’ Fund.
On June 7, 2007, NGO ASTRA and OSCE Mission to Serbia organized in Belgrade an international roundtable “Working with Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings: Standards of Assistance and Alternative Measures”. Topics discussed included (1) standards in working with trafficking victims and alternative forms to shelter accommodation and (2) work with children victims of trafficking and adjusting to the best interest of a child and participation by the child. Participants at the roundtable were the representatives of NGOs – direct victim assistance providers from Europe and the USA. Roundtable sessions were opened by Hannelore Valier, Head of Democratization Department in OSCE Mission to Serbia and Tamara Vukasović, President of ASTRA Managing Board.
ASTRA representative gave a lecture on trafficking in human beings to the participants of the NORCAPS Balkan CIMIC Course 2007 that was held in June at the Peacekeeping Operations Center of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, based on the Cooperation Program within NORDCAPS – Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support and in cooperation with the Danish Army Logistics School.
At the Regional Conference on Trafficking Prevention titled “Community Strikes Back – Cross Border Anti-Trafficking Action” that was organized in Krk, Croatia, on May 21-24, 2007, by the STAR Network of World Learning, and with support of Zonta International and Tides Foundation, ASTRA representative made a presentation of ASTRA’s anti-trafficking activities. The Conference gathered the representatives of local partner organizations, Zonta Clubs in Europe and government offices with whom the STAR Network of World Learning has actively cooperated in anti-trafficking work.
On April 23-26, 2007, the first regional seminar within the Program to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM – understanding between different countries about cooperation in the cross-border transfer and assistance to victims of human trafficking), carried out by USAID and ICMPD, was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. The seminar aimed at discussing and validating TRM guidelines and the possibilities of its implementation at a national level in participating countries in the area of identification, care in crisis intervention, assistance during recovery period and in the process of reintegration, the organization of return, the penal proceedings and indemnification through litigation. National Team representatives from ten counties participated at the seminar, as well as the representatives of numerous international organizations.
On April 17-18, 2007, in the organization of NGO Safe Women’s House from Podgorica and partner organizations NGO Lara from Bijeljina and NGO ASTRA from Belgrade, Seminar about Human Trafficking for the Representatives of National Employment Services and Employment Agencies, Tourist Inspectors, Labor Inspectors and the Police from Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in Petrovac, Montenegro. The seminar aimed at introducing the above professionals into the problem of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, establishing contacts and putting together recommendations for further actions. This event was financially supported by the STAR Network of World Learning and UNHCR Office in Podgorica.
ASTRA representative took an active part in the regional conference “Harmonization of Governmental and Nongovernmental Work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Combating THB – Lessons We Learned” organized in Sarajevo on November 2 -4, 2006.
On June 13, 2006, a training on the problem of trafficking in human beings was organized for border police officers at the Belgrade Airport. Lecturers were the representatives of: IOM, OSCE, Shelter for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings, ASTRA, and the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime. Movie “Lilja 4ever” was screened on this occasion.
On October 20, 2005, Group 484 organized a panel discussion under the title “Towards the White Schengen List – Asylum, Readmission and Illegal Migrations”. Within this topic, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and NGO ASTRA talked about suppressing human trafficking as a condition for association with the EU.
On October 17 – 18 and December 22 – 23, 2005, two basic trainings on trafficking in human beings were organized in Belgrade for municipal Red Cross organizations. The lecturers were professionals from international organizations, the police, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, ASTRA and other NGOs and Red Cross.
Public session on combating human trafficking in Serbia was held in Kruševac on October 12, 2005, where the representatives of the local police, the Interior Ministry and NGOs Counseling against Family Violence and ASTRA talked about their experiences.
On October 10, 2005, within the project “Strengthening Law Enforcement Capacities for Fighting Human Trafficking in South Eastern Europe”, International Centre for Migration Policy Development – ICMPD organized a training for 120 students of the Police Secondary School in Sremska Kamenica. The lecturers were professionals from the Interior Ministry, the Police College, ASTRA, as well as the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime.
On July 21, 2005, movie “Lilja 4Ever” was screened at the Cultural Centre Šabac. The screening was followed by a public session on “Trafficking in Human Beings in Serbia”, addressing current situation in this area. Key speakers were the representatives of NGOs Child Right Centre and ASTRA.
On June 30, 2005, a roundtable “Trafficking – 21st Century’s Slavery” was organized in Vranje, aimed at preventing, informing and citizens’’ awareness raising regarding this issue. This event, organized by NGO Vranje Human Rights Committee, was attended by the representatives of NGOs and state and local authorities from seven towns of Pčinjski Region: border police, local police departments, municipal and district prosecutor’s offices, social welfare centers, secondary schools and the media.
On June 20 – 25 and September 5 – 10, 2005, four seminars on fighting human trafficking were held targeting social welfare professionals in the organization of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, with the support of UNDP. The lecturers at these seminars were the representatives of institutions, NGOs and international organizations, including ASTRA.
During 2005, Child Rights Center, with Save the Children’s support, organized a series of trainings “Child Trafficking in Serbia – A Threat and A Reality” for professionals from local media, the judiciary, the police, social welfare centers, NGOs, education and health institutions from Raški Jablanički, Zapadnobački, Severnobački, Severnobanatski and Srednjebanatski Region. The lecturers at these trainings were the representatives of the police, the judiciary, NGOs and media.