2000 CEE/CIS: Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe
Author: Gronow, J.
The countries of Southeastern Europe (SEE) reviewed in this report are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. These countries serve as points of transit, origin and destination for the trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Children are also trafficked from Albania into Greece for the purposes of forced labour. The issue of trafficking in human beings has recently become a high priority for the member states of the European Union and other regional bodies. Unfortunately, the willingness of most governments in SEE to acknowledge it as a problem has been weak.
Purpose / Objective
This report aims to provide an overview of the situation and responses to the trafficking of human beings from a human rights perspective in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), including Central Serbia and Vojvodina, Montenegro and the UN Administered Province of Kosovo, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The report primarily examines the trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation and also includes an overview of the trafficking of children for the purposes of forced labour from Albania into Greece and Italy.
Desk review of various secondary sources, including UNICEF project documentation.
Key Findings and Conclusions
This report shows ample evidence of a wide range of national and regional anti-trafficking initiatives being planned and/or implemented. However, there is a distinct lack of coordination and cohesion around the number of responses taking place. The most comprehensive policy guidance has emerged from the regional bodies of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE) and from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR). The establishment of the Trafficking Task Force under the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe will hopefully serve to provide the much needed overall co-ordination, support and guidance for anti-trafficking activities in SEE.
A number of areas emerged as providing obstacles to the provision of protection and support for the victims of trafficking. Lack of appropriate legislation and law enforcement remains a major constraint. In SEE, trafficking continues to be viewed by the police and judiciary as illegal migration for the purposes of prostitution rather than a flagrant violation of human rights. Most countries, however, are in the process of reviewing current legislation to include trafficking in human beings in their Criminal Codes. In some countries, this review will include legislation pertaining to the treatment of trafficked minors.
Service provision and support to the victims of trafficking is provided by international agencies and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and requires development, capacity building and support. Many victims of trafficking are presently falling back into the trafficking cycle due to the gaps in service and support provision. Access to reliable data and research is also problematic, particularly information regarding the trafficking of children. More accurate information is needed to assist in the development of appropriate responses.
Access to health, reproductive health care and education is almost non-existent. There are no information or education campaigns regarding safe sex, safe drug use and HIV/AIDS for either sex workers or customers.
The political dimensions and complexities in effectively addressing trafficking in human beings mean it will not be an easy task to develop integrated and operational structures to provide an effective solution. However, a number of areas of action are presented for consideration in this report to provide the basis for more effective solutions at the regional and national levels.
Detailed recommendations are given concerning: Prevention; Protection and Assistance; Law Enforcement; Legal Reform; and Coordination and Cooperation. In some countries, some of these measures are already being implemented but need to be strengthened; in other countries, they are only in the planning stages and, in others, they are yet to be addressed. The development of effective solutions to trafficking will depend greatly upon a clear understanding of the root causes, the scale and dimension of the problem, and a multidisciplinary and integrated approach at both the national and regional levels.
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