On the occasion of October 18, the European Day against Trafficking in Human Beings, ASTRA presented a new publication, ASSESSMENT OF THE NATIONAL REFERRAL MECHANISM FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA, prepared by Liliana Sorrentino, a longtime independent expert in the field of human trafficking.
Serbia is primarily a country of origin for victims of trafficking, with many people being exploited within the country’s borders. During the previous years, there has been an increase in trafficking in children and trafficking in Serbian citizens abroad, especially men for labor exploitation and women for sexual exploitation. Since 2015, there has been an increase in various migration flows from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa in the country and the region; in the migrant and refugee population, there are individuals with an increased risk of exploitation and trafficking, mostly women and children unaccompanied or separated from parents or guardians. The state has enacted comprehensive legal solutions, policies, and an institutional framework for trafficking in human beings. The national mechanism for referral and protection of victims of human trafficking did not originate in Serbia. Still, Serbia is one of the first countries to implement the idea of this mechanism. Over the years, the Serbian NMU has functioned in various ways and is currently designed as a centralized system for victim identification and assistance. Its main components are the Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, the Center for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings (CZŽTLJ or the Center), Standard Operating Procedures for the Treatment of Victims of Trafficking (SOPs), special bodies in the criminal justice system and the problem of human trafficking. This report presents an assessment of the functioning of this mechanism in practice, i.e., to identify, assist, and to protect the rights of victims of trafficking in human beings in the Republic of Serbia, with the aim of improving it for the benefit of victims.
- Make clear and public the criteria used by the Center to identify victims.
- Enable those referred to the Center to seek reconsideration of a negative decision regarding recognizing their victim status to protect themselves from making the wrong decision.
- Promote and support the role of first-contact with victims (local police, labor inspectors, asylum and migration authorities, social workers, local NGOs working with vulnerable groups, etc.) in the process of identifying and referring victims.
- Support and promote the work of SOS lines for the identification, counseling, and support of victims and potential victims and migrant returnees…
These are just some of the recommendations that can be found in this release.
In addition to English, the publication is also available in Serbian: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h9YYHRSqOpgNw_u8vz94Zot77Fsmm43D/view