Joint programme of UNHCR, UNODC and IOM to Combat Human Trafficking in Serbia

Project Duration: 
1 June 2010 - 31 October 2012
Project Partners: 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Government of Belgium, Government of Switzerland, UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT)

The Joint Programme (JP) to Combat Human Trafficking between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Serbia, under the auspices of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) is the very first joint initiative by UN agencies in the field of anti-human trafficking in Serbia and in Europe.

It has been developed in broad consultation with all relevant national and international counterparts, with the aim of creating a programme based firmly on the needs of the national partners and the beneficiaries respecting the 4 Ps principles: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. The JP was implemented from 1 June 2010 to 31 October 2012 with the funds of the Government of Belgium (USD 680,000), Government of Switzerland (USD 200,000) and the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking –UN.GIFT (USD 530,000), with a total budget of USD 1,4 million.

JP is designed to provide support to the Serbian authorities in implementing the obligations from the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Council of Europe Convention on action against human trafficking. The Programme is building on the achievements of existing initiatives and institutional arrangements, as well as on the acquired expertize of implementing (UN) agencies in this field. The principal partnership between the JP and the Government of Serbia is established through the Government’s line ministries (Interior, Justice, Labour and Social Policy) and with the lead of the Ministry of Interior due to the position of the National Anti–Human Trafficking Coordinator, which provided appropriate office space for the programme team as an in-kind contribution. Through the Joint programme partnership has been established between the Government of Serbia, implementing (UN) agencies and the civil society. The JP’s overall objective is to operationalize the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings through its four interlinked specific objectives:

  1. To strengthen national capacities to implement NAP and to improve coordination within NRM;
  2. To create a sustainable framework for systematic prevention of trafficking in human beings among particularly vulnerable groups;
  3. To strengthen the criminal justice responses of the Government of Serbia;
  4. To improve mechanisms for protection and (re)integration of potential and actual victims of human trafficking (children and adults), including those identified within the asylum channels.

Key JP Achievements

  • 277 social workers trained on the specific role of social welfare in countering trafficking under specialized programme accredited by the Ministry for Labour and Social Policy covering 72 centres for social welfare that is ½ of the total number of centres for social welfare.
  • 160 judges, prosecutors and police officers attended specialized trainings endorsed by the Judicial Academy.
  • 3 Legal clinics on anti human trafficking were established at the Law Faculties in Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad, attended by 90 students.
  • A network of 6 social welfare centres was established and equipped in order to enable rapid response to the needs of victims of trafficking at the field level.
  • financial support was provided for shelters for victims of trafficking in Nis, Novi Sad and Belgrade managed by government-NGO consortia assisting 85 actual victims of trafficking.
  • provision of experts assistance in drafting a by-law on the transformation of the Agency for coordination of victim assistance to the Centre for protection of victims of human trafficking (MoLSP).
  • provision of experts assistance in drafting a Special protocol on acting of judicial bodies in protection of victim of human trafficking.
  • 900 counselling sessions with asylum-seekers were organized in two reception centres.
  • 5 prevention campaigns were implemented targeting populations at heightened risk of becoming prey to human traffickers including children with disabilities, Roma living in informal settlements, refugees and internally displaced and asylum-seekers. At least 4,500 direct and estimated 9,000 indirect beneficiaries were reached through innovative approaches such as forum theatre, games and songs.

Project Status: 
Branded tram as part of the anti-trafficking campaign, Belgrade, October 2012