Trafficking in human beings is when a person is bought and/or sold in order to be exploited through forced prostitution/sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced labor (including domestic work), theft or similar crime, forced marriage etc.
In order to exploit a person, traffickers use force, threats, intimidation, deceits or abductions or abuse her/his difficult position or vulnerability.
This person usually consent to an offer of a job or some other work arrangement (including sex work) at the beginning or accept help in search for a better life, especially when such offers come from people she/he knows and trusts. Only later come intimidation, threats, constant control and surveillance, confiscation of personal documents, coercion into taking alcohol and drugs, and very often physical or sexual violence in order to persuade the victim to be obedient and not to try to escape or ask for help. Sometimes traffickers promise the victim to let her/him go as soon as she/he pays off the “debt”, i.e. money they invested in her/him by allegedly helping her/him to find a job or a better life. However, such promises are false because traffickers are always looking for ways to increase that debt by adding alleged costs of housing, food and clothes or fines that the victims has to pay for her/his misbehavior, making it impossible to ever be paid put fully.
It is important to keep in mind that people do not fall victim to trafficking because they are stupid, greedy or naïve, but because they have been deceived and their trust has been abused. As a severe violation of human rights, trafficking in human beings is prohibited by law. What has happened is not victims’ of trafficking fault; hence they have right to assistance and protection and to life without coercion and violence.
If you recognize your experience in what you have just read, one of the ways to get informed about your rights and available support and assistance is to call ASTRA SOS Hotline 011 785 0000 or 0800 101 201 that are open 24/7. All calls are confidential. After the first call, every further step will be made with your consent, whereby your safety comes first.
What you can get by calling ASTRA SOS Hotline?
– Psychological assistance and support in overcoming the consequences of human trafficking experience through counselling, individual or group therapy.
– Legal aid, including information on your rights and corresponding procedures and legal representative (lawyer) if you decide to testify against people who exploited you in court.
– Medical assistance when your health is impaired as a result of trafficking and you need urgent medical care.
– Help in acquiring personal documents, as well as help in gaining access to child benefits, social benefits and the like.
– Information on programs that will enable you to go back to school or find a job, as well as the possibility to get involved in other programs that may interest you (sports, culture, entertainment), as well as support for participating in such programs.
– Transportation from/to your home when you have to visit institutions/organizations that are not near to your place of residence in order to obtain specific support or assistance or necessary documents.
– Assistance when you are returning to your country – preparation of documents, transportation etc.
– Interpretation services when Serbian is not your mother tongue.
ALL ASTRA’S SERVICES ARE COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE.
As a person who survived human trafficking, you have certain rights, including basic human right to life without violence and coercion.