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European Resource Center

Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the Tier 2 Watchlist again. According to the 2019 State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report the BiH government was not sucessful in taking actions to counter the phenomenon. Potential downgrade to Tier 3 status is detrimental to BiH, thus more needs to be done and very soon, othervise the U.S. government will be forced to restrict providing technical assistance, training, or capacity development to all BiH government institutions!

This situation has been discussed by the USAID Mission Director Nancy Eslick and the State Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in BiH, where the State Coordinator briefed on progress in reforming the referral and coordination mechanism in BiH since the recent adoption of the Strategy for combating trafficking in human beings in BiH for the period 2020-2023 and thanked USAID for its assistance in these efforts. The interlocutors concluded that additional joint efforts are needed to assist BiH's more efficient response to this serious problem.

MFS-EMMAUS, supported by the USAID, through the VICAPT project, organized a webinar for 45 students of the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies, the University of Sarajevo, as targeted training for monitoring of strategic litigations on trafficking in persons.

Read more: Monitoring of strategic litigations on TIP and related crimes - webinar

Students of the Faculty of Law (General program) and students of Criminology and Security Studies of Džemal Bijedić University of Mostar, on Wednesday 15.03.2020 ,received webinar training  on monitoring of strategic litigations on TIP and related crimes within project " Victim-centred Approach to Prevention of Trafficking in Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving Identification, Protection and Access to Justice (VICAPT) organized by the International Forum of Solidarity-EMMAUS, with USAID support.

Eminent faculty lecturers, Mr Elmedin Muratbegović, Mr Denis Pajić, Ms Sunčice Hajdarović ,and Ms Hajrija Hadžiomerović Muftić, former federal prosecutor and CEST educator, enabled this group of students to gain additional knowledge about:

  • the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings and related criminal offenses, criminal elements, forms, and applicable legal provisions on trafficking in human beings in BiH and related criminal offenses, with reference to international standards and European instruments related to trafficking in human beings;
  • victim profiles, victimization and secondary victimization, psychological and health impact of trafficking on victims;
  • procedural elements and actions - court and other proceedings in cases of trafficking in human beings and related criminal offenses, as well as codes of ethics of judicial institutions and procedures on confidentiality and data protection that must be observed during trial monitoring.

Each student will receive the certificate.

Following the first round of consultation with the members of the Working Group on the Development of Manual for lawyers and legal representatives on providing legal aid representation to the TIP victims, organised by IFS-EMMAUS, with the support of USAID through the VICAPT program, through a workshop held on March 16-17, 2020 in Konjic, the work continues. The Working Group, in the light of and adapted to the current epidemiological situation, will continue the consultation activities on the development of the Manual using electronic remote communication solutions. In this way, we reaffirmed our humanity, professionalism, adaptability, responsibility and commitment to the suppression of trafficking in persons as a form of modern slavery. Extraordinary circumstances do not undermine BiH's commitment to combating trafficking in persons and supporting victims.

As Bosnia and Herzegovina, the partner representative of the BAN III –Balkans ACT Now, the regional project supported by the EC, MFS-EMMAUS leads BiH Project Delegation participation in the Conference organised in Belgrade, Serbia, in order to:

  • Review the state of anti-trafficking activities in each of the partner countries and wider;
  • Present findings from the five national pilot reports;
  • Enhance advocacy for the establishment of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings;
  • Present the developed national mechanisms of monitoring of policies and treatment of the THB victims by governmental and non-governmental
  • actors in each of the partner countries.

BIH BAN III Project delegation, which will present the state of play and sit-rep on the project implementation and pertinent findings, consists of: Ms Amela Efendić - MFS-EMMAUS Sarajevo Office Manager, Ms Hajrija Muftić Hadžiomerović- National Working Group Coordinator, Mr Eneid Hasanović National Working Group Member - Expert/MA Political science, and Mr Elmedin Muratbegović - National Working Group Member and author of the Pilot Report /the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies- Criminology Department.

Balkan Act Now III

Today, International Forum of Solidarity - Emmaus (IFS-EMMAUS) was honored to welcome the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, the United States Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Nelson and the USAID/BiH Mission Director Nancy Eslick, with a delegation from Washington, to discuss the seriousness of the situation in the area of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the response of the BiH government and civil society organizations.
Mrs. Glick commended the work of IFS-EMMAUS as a civil society organization that has been active on the suppression of trafficking in persons for over 20 years now, not only in providing direct assistance and protection to TIP victims, but also implementing policy actions, capacity building and awareness raising activities on TIP in BiH.

Read more: Visit of the USAID DA Glick and US Ambassador Nelson

World Day against Trafficking in Persons is marked in the world today.

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally.

This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims.

The 2nd workshop for NGOs to deliver coordinated services to victims of trafficking (VOTs) with accent on cross-border referrals.

The government demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by identifying more forced begging victims and granting compensation to four victims from their traffickers in the first successful civil suit. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period.

The government penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking, in part due to inadequate victim identification practices. Law enforcement and social workers justified cases of potential forced child begging, forced labor, and forced marriage involving Roma as traditional cultural practices. The government lacked victim protection, including victim-centered prosecutions and access to assistance outside of NGO-run shelters, and the strike force was ineffective due to a lack of participation among relevant actors. Therefore Bosnia and Herzegovina was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

As reported over the past five years, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Bosnian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking within the country in private residences, motels, and gas stations. Economically marginalized Romani children are subjected to forced begging and involuntary domestic servitude in forced marriages. Foreign women and girls from European countries are vulnerable to sex trafficking within the country.

The US State Department published  TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report on June 29th . The TIP Report aims at global awareness raising of human trafficking by drawing attention to different aspects of this phenomenon and pointing to individual and joint efforts of the international communities.


This year, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watch list.


“The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.” – Hillary Clinton


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