Fourth Steering Committee Assembly of the Anti-trafficking Motion in Serbia

The action “Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Serbia” held its fourth meeting of the Steering Committee, attended by the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Mitar Đurašković, representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Union delegation in Serbia, the line ministries and the state Labor Inspectorate and civil society organizations involved in and benefiting from the activities.

Mitar Đurašković informed the committee about the latest developments in the country and in particular about the imminent adoption of action plans and measures to combat trafficking in human beings for 2021-2022, the increase in the number of identified victims and convictions for the crime of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, This is a consequence of the increased capacities of the beneficiaries of the action and the compensation of the victims of human trafficking. Mr Đurašković underlined several points that deserve further attention, such as the need to better take gender specificities into account in the fight against trafficking in human beings and to better protect victims’ rights, including the right to compensation.

Maja Ilić, representative of the Labor Inspectorate, stressed that all labor inspectors in Serbia have completed basic training and are equipped with tools to identify signs of human trafficking and labor exploitation. Milja Krivokuća, representative of the Ministry of Education, announced that a working group had recently been set up with the support of the action to revise the existing indicators for the preliminary identification of children, potential victims of human trafficking. Aleksandra Ljubojevic, from the Center for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking, said that although its capacity has been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the center continues to work on the professional development of its staff and work with other actors to combat trafficking in human beings.

The action has also helped lawyers (judges, prosecutors and law students) learn more about human trafficking and ensure that victims’ rights are protected. It has given grants to civil society organizations to run awareness campaigns among the general public and in some particularly vulnerable categories (children, youth, construction workers) through social media and meetings in local communities in order to reach as many people as possible.

The Steering Committee received a short presentation of the 10th Annual Report of the Council of Europe’s Expert Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). After taking stock of the activities and results since the last meeting in October 2020, the upcoming activities in 2021 were announced and the Steering Committee expressed great satisfaction and support for the action due to its relevance, reactivity and cross-sectoral involvement in the fight against human trafficking and protection of the Victims’ rights in Serbia.

The action “Preventing and combating human trafficking in Serbia” is part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II” program, a cooperation initiative co-financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.

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