A special segment of prevention/education activities refers to the work with young people. Young people in general are highly vulnerable to trafficking, and for this reason, work with them is of great importance.
All ASTRA’s prevention activities aim at informing young people on the problem of human trafficking, at drawing their attention to all dangers associated with this problem, as well as at pointing out to the possibilities of prevention and available methods of protection.
For this reason, ASTRA is present at all events which attract younger population, such as music festivals, concerts, Belgrade fashion weeks…
ASTRA also provides assistance to pupils and students in writing seminar and other papers and master and PhD theses studying human trafficking. High-school pupils, students and PhD students may obtain information on all aspects of human trafficking and assistance in searching adequate literature. Moreover, students have possibility to spend their internship at ASTRA.
Two ASTRA peer educators carried out a workshop/lecture about human trafficking at a four-day training titled “Youth Camp for Legality” which was organized by the Center for Civil Society Development PROTECTA from Niš, as a member of ACRIMA Network, in cooperation with the international civil society network for fight against organized FLARE (Freedom, Legality And Rights in Europe), with support of OSCE Mission to Serbia, in Niška Banja on June 8-11, 2011. The idea of the training is education, strengthening, networking and informing 16 members of youth NGOs from Serbia for advocacy on the topic of fight against organized crime and affirmation of the principle of legality.
During April and May 2011, final year students of the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies had an opportunity to listen to a series of lectures about different aspects of human trafficking from actors directly involved in the prosecution of perpetrators and the protection of victims. Lectures were delivered by police officers, Deputy Prosecutor for Organized Crime and ASTRA representative.
A thematic public session addressing the problem of human trafficking was organized in Novi Sad on March 30, 2011. This is the first in a series of public sessions to be organized within the project “Prevention of Violence and Abuse on the Internet”. It was intended for the teams for combating violence and abuse which have been formed in every school and to the pupils of Novi Sad secondary schools. Panelists were the representatives of ASTRA, UNICEF and Novi Sad police, as well as the hosts of the event – a member of Novi Sad Town Council for Education and the representative of the Center for Preventing Deviant Behavior in Youth.
Within the project “Protection of Trafficking Victims’ Rights through/and the Provision of Legal Assistance“, implemented with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MATRA Program), ASTRA organized a training seminar for graduated law students and students of the final year of law schools in Belgrade on March 10 and 11, 2011. At this interactive and practical seminar, students had the opportunity to learn more from eminent experts in this area about the problem of human trafficking, victims’ rights and their protection in crminal, civil and other proceedinsg, as well as to acquire skills for monitoring and reporting on the respect of these rights in practice. The best participoants joined ASTRA’s team for monitoring trafficking trials.
Peer education training on human trafficking prevention organized by the Sombor Education Center (SEC), member of the ACRIMA Network, was held in Sombor on November 26 – 27, 2010. The aim of the training was to promote fight against organized crime. The project was also supported by the City of Sombor, as an activity from the Local Action Plan for Youth. It is supposed to be the first phase of the training for peer educators, who will subsequently start education activities on the topic of human trafficking in their communities. ASTRA members participated as lecturers, together with the representatives of PROTECTA, the Sombor Police Department, SEC and Counseling for Youth Sombor. Ten high school and university students participated at the two-day training and were quite interested to actively discuss the issues posed in the course of lectures and workshop.
The first youth camp focused on the fight against organized crime and corruption “The Youth of Serbia for Legality” was held in Sićevo on August 17 – 21, 2010. The event was organized by NGO Protecta from Niš, a member of FLARE Network. The participants – young people from eight Serbian NGOs – had the opportunity to hear various lectures on different aspects of fight against organized crime. ASTRA representative delivered a lecture on the problem of human trafficking in Serbia. This event was used as an occasion to establish the ACRIMA – AntiCRIMinalAction, the network of youth organizations in Serbia that wish to join fight against organized crime and corruption and for legality.
On June 23, 2010, a group of about 30 students of the Metropolitan University College in Copenhagen, Denmark, visited ASTRA. These students who study social work in an international/intercultural perspective are currently working on a project on human trafficking, At two presentations at ASTRA, they had an opportunity to learn more about the problem of human trafficking in general, comparative situations in Serbia and Denmark, as well as about ASTRA’s and ASTRA SOS Hotline’s experience in preventing human trafficking and providing assistance to victims during their recovery and reintegration. Three months later, at the end of November, we hosted another group of students and teachers from the same College.
During May 2010, final year students of the Academy for Criminalistic and Police Studies had an opportunity to attend lectures about different aspects of combating human trafficking 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.
In March 2010, ASTRA representatives had a presentation at the Ćuprija Gymnasium within a campaign “People Are God’s Creatures and NOT Commodities”. The campaign was launched by the three pupils of the Ćuprija Gymnasium with a view to raising awareness of their peers of the size and significance of this problem. Their ultimate goal was to reduce the number of victims in future. At one-day seminars, through workshops, presentations, documentaries and lectures delivered by experts, interested high school pupils had the opportunity to learn something about the problem itself, its forms and traffickers’ traps which young people should be aware of.