Council of Europe: Ending trafficking and empowering its victims

SARAJEVO, February 28 (FENA) – The progress achieved so far in Bosnia and Herzegovina to prevent and combat labor trafficking was the focus of the round table organized by the Council of Europe.

Measures to address vulnerabilities to labor trafficking as well as to investigate and remediate labor trafficking were discussed by more than forty-five participants, representatives of public institutions, civil society organizations, and domestic and foreign experts.

Labor inspectors, police officers, businesses, civil society organizations but also survivors of labor trafficking play an important role in the fight against labor trafficking which can be effective only if the demand for cheap labor is reduced, sectors at risk are monitored, victims are detected and assisted.

A call to the authorities to improve access to justice and legal remedies for victims of labor trafficking was voiced against the background of the SerbAz case that happened in 2010. The case law of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Court of Human Rights on human trafficking and forced labor was presented.

“It’s not only 700 persons who were harmed in this case, it’s 700 damaged families of our society that suffered the consequences. Adequate prevention and protection mechanisms should be set up as the basis of the state action,” said Marko Tamindžija, President of the Association Novi početak.

“The best mechanism for effectively countering labor trafficking is a well-functioning coordination and partnership between public institutions, civil society organizations, and other frontline professionals, without omitting the international organizations providing us support in this regard. Our goals are the prevention of labour trafficking, the identification of its domestic and foreign victims, the successful prosecution of the traffickers, and the justice and rehabilitation for the survivors”, stressed Stanislava Tanić, head of the Office for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings from the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said from today’s round table.

Bojana Urumova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo emphasized that the path to empowerment of victims of trafficking is through their access to justice and remedies for the harm they suffered.

”That is why the Council of Europe will continue to focus its efforts on strengthening victims’ access to justice and effective remedies, including compensation. In this process, considering the perspective of victims and survivors is essential,” Urumova added.

“Human trafficking is still one of the most serious issues our societies are dealing with. It is a horrible crime that thrives on the most vulnerable members of society. I wish that the new Strategy to Suppress Trafficking in Human Beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2024-2027 will be adopted soon and successfully implemented”, stated Olav Reinertsen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The round table ”Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings for labor exploitation” was organized by the Council of Europe project ”Strengthening antitrafficking action in Bosnia and Herzegovina” providing support toward the implementation of the European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Council of Europe announced.