More than 100 participants in Local teams for prevention and combating human trafficking meeting

More than 100 participants of relevant government institution and civil organizations took part in the annual meeting of Local teams for prevention and combating trafficking in Human Beings, which was held on December 15, 2021 through the Zoom platform. The meeting was dedicated to mapping the challenges that local Anti-Trafficking Teams had during the pandemic, as well as promising practices and mechanisms to overcome them. 

The meeting was organized as part of International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) project Strengthening capacities and partnerships for migration management in Serbia implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, with the support of the Swiss Confederation.

The discussion was conceived and moderated by Jelena Hrnjak, program manager of the NGO Atina in the direction of recognizing effective responses to human trafficking during the pandemic, discovering available resources to improve the victim protection system, and creating recommendations to encourage decentralization and wider application of good practices in overcoming challenges.

On behalf of donor and organizer, Jovana Mihajlović, coordinator of the migration and employment program of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Jelena Ribać, IOM project manager in Serbia, addressed the audience.  

Results in the fight against trafficking in human beings in the previous year were presented by Mitar Đurašković, Head of the Office for Coordination of Activities in the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings at the Police Directorate, Ministry of Interior and Miroslav Jovanović, Head of the Coordination Service for Coordination for labor, employment, veterans and social affairs.

Ms. Jelena Stojanović, Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights and Gender Equality, presented the planned amendments to the Law on the Protector of Citizens in the part related to human trafficking, ie the establishment of the Institute of the National Rapporteur on these issues within this independent state body.

Deputy Senior Public Prosecutor in Pančevo, Olivera Sekulic Šošdean and lawyer Tijana Kostić presented two examples that changed the jurisprudence in Serbia during the pandemic: a 20-year sentence for trafficking (one of the largest sentences in this area), and a Constitutional Court ruling on compensation to victims of trafficking.

Milja Krivokuca, representative of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, and Mirjana Majstorović, representative of the Council of Europe, presented activities dedicated to the problem of child trafficking in education, including revising the list of indicators for preliminary identification of victims of trafficking and their use locally. level. Vesna Vajs, director of the school "Ištvan Sečenji" and a representative of the Local Team in Subotica, presented as an example of good practice the way in which this school deals with education and prevention of child trafficking in this city.

The meeting was assessed as very useful by the participants because it enabled the exchange of important information on current events and challenges in preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, access to rights and protection of victims. Insight into various practices and positive examples in local responses to these challenges provided guidelines and recommendations for further work of local teams, as well as recommendations for better work of all actors at the local and national level.