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Cable reference id: #10BELGRADE282
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Hide header UNCLAS BELGRADE 000282 SENSITIVE SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/SCE (K. GARRY), G/TIP (L.PENA, J. DONNELLY) E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ASEC [Security], ELAB [Labor Sector Affairs], PHUM [Human Rights], PREL [External Political Relations], SMIG [Migration], KCRM [Criminal Activity], KFRD [Fraud Prevention Programs], KTIP [Trafficking in Persons], KWMN [Women Issues], SR [Serbia] SUBJECT: SERBIA: ANNUAL TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT REF: A) STATE 2094; B) 09 BAKU 863; C) 07 BELGRADE 272 D) BELGRADE 210; E) BELGRADE 90 ¶1. Serbia's TIP Situation -------------------------- A. The office of the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Persons and the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, as well as other government ministries and agencies, provide information about trafficking in persons. In addition, the International Organization for Migration, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and various NGOs provide information. Information is generally reliable. B. Serbia is a country of origin, transit, and a destination for internationally and internally trafficked men, women, and children. The government's Agency for the Coordination of Protection of Victims of Trafficking recorded 127 trafficking victims in 2009. Of these, there were 104 females and 23 males; 59 were minors; 114 were Serbian citizens and 13 were foreigners. Trafficking victims were recruited from Serbia - 114, Macedonia - 1, Moldova - 1, Dominican Republic - 2, Albania - 1, Czech Republic - 1, Slovenia - 1, Bosnia and Herzegovina - 2, Romania - 3, and Montenegro - 1. Men, women, and children are trafficked through, to, and within Serbia for the purpose of sexual and labor exploitation, forced marriage, begging, petty crime, and illegal adoption. There were 66 victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, 18 victims trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, 14 victims trafficked for begging, 6 victims trafficked for forced marriage, 2 victims trafficked for petty crime, and 1 victim trafficked for illegal adoption. There was a dramatic increase in the number of identified trafficking victims - over 110% - in 2009. Internal trafficking and trafficking in minors increased. Stakeholders believe the increase in identified victims is due to the combination of increased internal trafficking and greater awareness by officials other than border police. C. Victims were subjected to hard living and working conditions. Victims' documents were confiscated by traffickers. Victims worked long hours, were denied access to health care, and minor victims were denied access to education. D. As in previous years, economic hardship, dysfunctional family situations, gender-based violence, ethnic background, and age continued to be the main factors determining vulnerability to trafficking. Women and children were most at risk, with Romani children being more at risk of trafficking for begging, petty crime, and forced marriage. E. Traffickers tend to be part of small crime groups with international links. They operate amid Serbia's black and gray markets, where it is not uncommon to deal with employers or recruiters making under-the-table deals promising travel and work opportunities. In most cases, friends or family members take part in the trafficking scheme, facilitating contact between the traffickers and victims. ¶2. The Government's Anti-TIP Efforts ------------------------------------ A. The government acknowledges that trafficking is a problem in Serbia. B. There is a National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Persons, based in the Interior Ministry. The Coordinator heads the Republic Team to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which includes representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Human and Minority Rights, Interior, Labor and Social Policy, Justice, Finance, Education and Sport, and Health, the government Council for Children's Rights, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, the Supreme Court, and the Republic Prosecutor's office, as well as non-governmental and international organizations. The Republic Team has four working groups on Trafficking in Children, Prevention and Education, Protection and Assistance, and Prosecution. The Interior Minister leads the ministerial-level Council to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which sets government anti-trafficking policy. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, based in the Labor and Social Policy Ministry, is responsible for victim identification, protection, and referral for assistance to state institutions or NGOs. The Agency also cooperates with NGOs and international organizations that provide protection services. The organized crime police force includes a full-time anti-trafficking unit, and the border police force has a full-time office to combat trafficking and alien smuggling. There are anti-trafficking units in the police stations of every town. Some towns have special anti-trafficking teams that include police, prosecutors, social workers, and health workers, but they are not mandatory, and the teams exist only where local officials took the initiative to form them. C. Lack of resources for victim protection continues to be a problem in the current budget crisis. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims has no budget beyond staff salaries. NGOs that provide services to victims rely on a government fund generated from the government's sale of a special postage stamp in 2008 and funds from their donors; the stamp sale also funded Agency activities. The government committed to providing funding in December 2009 to the two NGO-operated victim shelters when donor funding for both shelters ended and the shelters faced imminent closure. The Interior Ministry also requested long-term funding of the shelters, as described in more detail below (para. 4C). D. The Ministry of Interior publishes information about anti-trafficking efforts on its website ( govina-ljudima.h) and operates a hotline to collect trafficking in persons-related tips for law enforcement and victim information for the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Victims. The Republic Team to Combat Trafficking in Persons meets quarterly and writes periodic reports on anti-trafficking efforts and activities. The National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Persons maintains a database designed to track trafficking cases from arrest through to sentencing; however, it currently only contains arrest and investigation data (see F, below). The Justice Ministry in 2010 is piloting in courts in Zrenjanin new court software that will improve compilation and analysis of prosecution statistics, including trafficking prosecution; the ministry has plans to implement the new software in all courts by the end of 2012. The National Coordinator and the Justice Ministry have begun discussions about integrating prosecution data into the National Coordinator's database. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims maintains a separate database of identified victims. E. The government, in seeking durable solutions for displaced persons, has been working with UNHCR on adopting a law -- Procedure for Recognition of Legal Subjectivity -- to improve procedures for registering previously unregistered citizens and residents. This is a work in progress that would benefit at-risk groups such as displaced persons and Roma. The government, with UNHCR participation, has also established a working group to draft a new Law on Temporary and Permanent Residence. F. As discussed in response 2D, the government is capable of gathering the data for an in-depth assessment of law enforcement efforts, although currently prosecution information is not automated and must be compiled by hand. The new court software program will enable the Justice Ministry to automate data compilation and analysis. In 2009, for the first time the Justice Ministry compiled detailed prosecution data. The Interior Ministry already compiles data on investigations and criminal charges in its comprehensive trafficking database. The biggest gap that remains is inclusion of prosecution and sentencing data in this database. Currently, this gap is worked around through informal exchange of information between the two ministries, but they are taking steps to formalize this exchange. ¶3. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers --------------------------------------------- -- A. The 2006 Constitution identifies trafficking in persons and slavery as crimes. Serbia's Criminal Code (August 2005) specifically prohibits trafficking in persons for both sexual and non-sexual exploitation, covers internal and external trafficking, and differentiates between trafficking in persons and human smuggling. A separate article of the Criminal Code prohibits slavery. Changes to the Criminal Code were adopted on August 31, 2009, and provide for longer sentences for traffickers. B. The August 2009 changes to the Criminal Code introduced tougher sentences for trafficking in persons. The penalty for the basic criminal act of trafficking in persons for both sexual and labor exploitation now ranges from 3 to 12 years in prison, from the previous 2 to 10. The minimum penalty for trafficking in minors was increased to five years from the previous three. If the act of trafficking resulted in death, the penalty is a minimum of 10 years; if it involved serious physical injury, the penalty was increased to 5, from the previous minimum 3, to 15 years. If there were multiple acts of trafficking or if perpetrated by a group, the penalty is a minimum of five years. The changes to the Criminal Code added penalties of six months to five years for individuals who know, or are in a position to know of a trafficking situation and exploit or facilitate exploitation of trafficking victims, for example, clients of prostitution or employees at establishments exploiting victims. In the case of trafficked minors the minimum sentence for this offense is one to eight years imprisonment. The Criminal Code amendments eliminated for trafficking offenses the discretion judges formerly had to hand down sentences less than the prescribed minimum due to extraordinary circumstances. The August 2009 amendments also specified that even when trafficking victims consent to their conditions, activities defined in the Criminal Code as exploitation or enslavement are considered criminal acts. The amendments introduced the criminal act of trafficking in persons committed by an organized criminal group, which is punishable by minimum 10 years. Also new, trafficking in minors up to 16 years of age for the purpose of illegal adoption is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. Punishment for trafficking for illegal adoption by a group is punishable by a minimum of three years. If committed by an organized criminal group, the minimum sentence is five years. As in previous years, the penalty for "slavery or a relationship similar to slavery" is 1 to 10 years in prison and includes anyone who buys, sells, or transfers the victim, anyone who helps in the purchase, sale, or transfer, and anyone who encourages a person to sell his or her freedom or the freedom of a dependent. The punishment for transporting a person held as a slave from one country to another is six months to five years. The penalty for any slavery offense against a minor is 5 to 15 years. C. The Criminal Code does not distinguish between trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking for purpose of labor exploitation. These offenses are covered by a single trafficking in persons criminal act under Article 388, as described above. D. The August 2009 Criminal Code amendments increased the penalties for rape to 3 to 12 years in prison, from the previous 2 to 10 years. The penalty for sexual abuse was increased to 2 to 10 years from the previous 1 to 10. E. The government took legal actions against human trafficking offenders. Article 388 of the Criminal Code was used to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers. The National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Persons reported that there were 51 criminal charges filed against 93 individuals for trafficking crimes in 2009. Of these, 33 criminal charges were filed for trafficking for sexual exploitation, and 9 criminal charges were filed for trafficking for labor exploitation. There were 5 criminal charges filed for trafficking for forced marriage; 4 charges filed for trafficking for begging; and 2 criminal charges for petty crime. In two instances criminal charges were filed for multiple types of exploitation. Of 51 criminal charges filed for trafficking in 2009, 13 are still in investigation, 18 are in ongoing criminal proceedings, 10 are pending, 3 were dropped, 1 was thrown out by the court, and in 2 cases new charges for other offenses were filed. Trials were completed in an additional four cases, as described below. There were 5 second instance sentences against 18 traffickers in 2009. Sentences ranged from acquittal in the case of one individual to 10 years imprisonment. Most of the sentences were in the range of 2 to 4 years in prison. There were 10 first instance sentences against 24 traffickers in 2009. Sentences ranged from acquittal in one case to six years' imprisonment. Four of these sentences were actions based on criminal charges filed in 2009, which represents a decrease in the length of trafficking trials; previously nearly all trials took two to three years or more to complete. F. The government, mainly through programs sponsored by NGOs and international organizations, provides extensive training to police (including police academy students), prosecutors, judges, magistrates, social workers, labor inspectors, teachers, and other officials in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute trafficking and identify victims and refer them for assistance. In June 2009, the Interior Ministry established a Working Group to Coordinate Implementation of the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking 2009-2011. The Working Group is tasked with development of long-term educational plans and programs on trafficking in persons for members of police. G. According to the National Coordinator, the government continues to cooperate with bordering countries and other neighbors on anti-trafficking cases. In November, the Interior and Justice Ministries, in cooperation with UNODC, held a regional workshop on international legal cooperation on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Austria, Romania, and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) took part in the workshop. The government does not cooperate directly with Kosovo's government on any issues, which impedes its efforts to combat trafficking because Kosovo is a major transit country on the Balkan Route from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Interior Ministry, however, does have a cooperation agreement with EULEX, and the National Coordinator told us his office participated in the investigation of trafficking victims from Kosovo who drowned in the Tisza River on the Serbia-Hungary border in October 2009. H. Serbian law now permits the extradition of Serbian citizens. The National Assembly passed on March 18, 2009 a Law on International Legal Cooperation that permits extradition if there is an existing bilateral extradition treaty. Serbia has begun the process of updating its 1902 treaty with the United States and is negotiating extradition agreements with several neighboring countries. I. There is no evidence of systematic government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking. J. The "Jet Set" trial, in which the Novi Pazar deputy public prosecutor was arrested and tried, concluded in August 2008. On August 11, 2009, the Supreme Court confirmed on appeal the first instance sentence, finding Novi Pazar Deputy District Prosecutor Senad Palamar and other defendants guilty of abuse of public office and trafficking in persons. Palamar's sentence - one year suspended with three years of probation - was confirmed. Sentences for the two policemen for abuse of public office were also confirmed - one year suspended with three years of probation. K. During the year, the government deployed around 100 troops in international peacekeeping efforts. There were no instances of troops being involved in trafficking while in peacekeeping missions. L. We are not aware of any child sex tourism or demand for child sex tourism in Serbia. ¶4. Protection and Assistance to Victims --------------------------------------- A. The government has a witness/victim protection service and provides free access to social and medical care for both foreign and domestic trafficking victims. The government partly funds NGOs that provide two shelters and legal, psychological, and reintegration services. B. Serbia has victim care facilities for foreign and domestic trafficking victims, operated by NGOs. The NGO Counseling Center against Family Violence runs a shelter for foreign trafficking victims. NGO Atina runs a shelter/transition house for domestic and foreign trafficking victims. Both shelters are funded by foreign donors. Foreign victims have the same access to care as national victims. There are no specialized shelters for child trafficking victims. Children are accommodated in both NGO-run shelters for women until foster care or other services are arranged. There are no specialized shelters for men who are trafficking victims, but men have access to other government and NGO services. The NGO Astra runs a drop-in center that provides legal, medical, psychological, and other support. The Victimology Society of Serbia has a victim support service that offers all victims of crime emotional support, provides information on their rights and on specialized services available in Belgrade, and refers victims to such service providers. C. By law and in practice, domestic and foreign victims of trafficking can receive free medical assistance in public clinics. NGOs provide victims shelter, medical treatment, psychological counseling, and reintegration assistance (see paragraph 4B). The government funds the salaries of two full-time staff at the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims (approximately $26,000 in 2009). The government also provides grants to NGOs with the remaining proceeds of a special anti-trafficking postage stamp sold in January 2008. These grants, worth approximately $17,000 in 2009, along with funds from international donors, fund the victim services provided by NGOs. The government also uses the stamp fund to fund travel for Agency staff and emergency support for victims, including immediate food, clothing, travel, and shelter needs. The National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator announced on December 16, 2009, that the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry had allocated 3 million dinars (approximately $45,000) to provide funding for direct victims' assistance through the reintegration shelters for 2010. The Interior Minister sent an official request to the Finance Minister to allocate an additional 60,000 EUR ($86,000) from budgetary reserves for longer-term funding of the two shelters. D. Foreign victims are entitled to the same services that domestic victims receive, including free medical care. The government provides temporary residence permits for foreign victims of trafficking free of charge, upon recommendation of the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims. Permits are typically issued for an initial period of three to six months, up to one year. Victims may adjust their status to remain in Serbia if they choose. The residency permits are available to any foreign victim and are not contingent on cooperating with investigations or prosecutions. There were no reports that foreign victims were forced to return to their home countries. E. NGOs provide short- and long-term shelter to domestic and foreign victims, partly funded by the government's special stamp fund. F. There is a referral mechanism in place to direct potential and suspected trafficking victims for identification and further on to agencies and NGOs for short- and long-term assistance. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims is responsible for identifying victims and cooperating with NGOs and international organizations that provide victim services. Police, NGOs, shelters, and anti-trafficking hotline operators work directly with the Agency when they suspect they have a victim of trafficking, and one of the two members of the Agency responds immediately to provide identification and emergency support. On November 12, 2009, the Interior, Finance, Justice, Health, Education, and Labor and Social Affairs Ministries signed an agreement on cooperation to combat trafficking in order to harmonize each ministry's activities and provide for a more comprehensive approach to government's anti-trafficking activities. A victim referral mechanism was part of the agreement. In March and October, the Serbian Red Cross in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, the Academy for Criminal and Police Studies, the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, and the Institute for Forensic Medicine, conducted a seminar for doctors and medical staff on how to recognize and treat trafficking victims. On April 7, 2009, the Interior Ministry issued a mandatory instruction to all police on handling illegal migrants with a set of prescribed questions and examples to help identify trafficking victims. While the Agency is usually able to respond to all referrals, the two staff members are overworked, and the office needs more personnel and resources. The Law on the Seizure of Proceeds from Crime (2008) allows for a portion of seized property to be spent on social services. The National Action Plan calls for the establishment of a fund -- 3% of the value of any seized proceeds from crime -- that would support anti-trafficking activities, including victim protection and the Agency's budget. The National Coordinator began meeting with the Justice Ministry State Secretary in October 2009 to discuss how to implement this initiative. While stakeholders told us they believed referral had generally improved, the Baku case (Ref B) involving hundreds of mostly Bosnian Serb men exploited for labor in Azerbaijan, showed the frailty of the system. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims, the NGO Astra, the Interior Ministry's Border Police, and the Office of the National Coordinator to Combat Trafficking were all involved in the case but operated with conflicting data and imperfect coordination. Through contact with NGOs in Azerbaijan and Bosnia, Serbian NGO Astra discovered that many of the men were to return through Belgrade. They met the men at the airport and interviewed several extensively. In its report on the case, Astra accused the government of failing to provide any assistance to these trafficking victims. The Office of The National Coordinator separately had requested airlines to be alert for passengers on flights from Vienna and Istanbul who had connected from Baku and to notify police when such passengers were arriving so police could conduct interviews and refer victims to the Agency. The Border Police at the Belgrade airport conducted initial interviews with several of the men -- both Serbian and Bosnian citizens -- upon their arrival in Serbia. All interviewed men rejected any assistance and stated they would return to their families. Police provided them with contact information for the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims; none contacted the Agency. None was recorded as a victim because the Agency never interviewed any of them. (Note: victims do not have to self-identify in order for the Agency to identify them as victims, but the Agency does require certain types of information and often an interview to make the determination.) Finally, the Department for Foreigners in the Belgrade Police conducted interviews with 12 potential victims from Baku and forwarded information to the public prosecutor who will determine whether there are grounds for prosecution in Serbia. Government officials told us that NGO Astra had not alerted the government after receiving and interviewing the dozens of victims mentioned in its report, in violation of the victim identification and referral protocol. NGO Astra did eventually refer some victims to the Agency, who were provided assistance. During the Agency's process to apply for a temporary residence permit for one of these individuals, Belgrade Police determined he was a former trafficker, an associate of the infamous Serbian trafficker Milivoje Zarubica (Ref C), and subsequently arrested him. He remains in custody, pending investigation. G. The Agency for Coordination of Protection of Trafficking Victims identified 127 victims during the reporting period, 66 of whom were victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 18 of whom were victims of nonconsensual labor exploitation. An additional 14 victims were trafficked for begging, 6 for forced marriage, 2 for petty crime and one for the purpose of illegal adoption. Police referred 112 trafficking victims for identification and assistance; the Agency identified 3 victims during a trafficking trial in which the victims were witnesses; NGOs referred 6 victims, centers for social work referred 2; the Center for Children without Parental Care and UNHCR referred one victim each; and NGO Lara from Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the border with Serbia, referred 2 trafficking victims. All trafficking victims were offered assistance and were provided various types of assistance based on their requests and needs. Of the 127, 40 victims, including 10 minors, were accommodated in two shelters and at the Center for Children without Parental Care, and 19 identified trafficking victims rejected any assistance. H. Because most of the trafficking in Serbia is for sexual exploitation, Serbian authorities have made at-risk services (night clubs, restaurants, massage parlors, discos, etc.) the focus of training for law enforcement. Consular and border officials are also trained to look for signs of trafficking in immigration cases. As mentioned above (4F), on April 7, 2009, the Interior Ministry passed a mandatory instruction to all police personnel on handling illegal migrants. On November 12, 2009, the Ministries of Interior, Finance, Justice, Health, Education, and Labor and Social Affairs signed an agreement on cooperation to combat trafficking to coordinate each ministry's activities; a victim referral mechanism was part of the agreement. In June 2009, Serbia took part in the last session of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)-run and USAID-funded project on development of a Transnational Referral Mechanism for trafficking victims in southeastern Europe, which institutionalizes cooperation among multiple state institutions and NGOs across the region on identification, referral, and assistance to trafficking victims. I. Generally, the rights of victims are respected. While anti-trafficking stakeholders believe authorities occasionally fail to recognize a victim immediately, victims generally are not detained, jailed, or deported. There were no reports of such detentions or that victims were prosecuted for violations of other laws during the reporting period. As reported in the 2009 TIP report, a deputy prosecutor in Vranje in July 2008 charged a trafficking victim with false testimony when she refused to testify against her trafficker, who had married her in the hopes of avoiding prosecution. The deputy prosecutor at the same time suspended proceedings against the alleged trafficker. In October 2009, the National Coordinator sent a letter to the Justice Ministry requesting further information. In February 2010, the Republic Prosecutor's office told us it had formally requested an inquiry in the Vranje office to determine whether the deputy prosecutor had violated Serbian law or international standards of TIP victim protection in filing the case against the victim. The inquiry is ongoing, and we will not know further details until it is complete. J. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking, and facilitates this through its victim/witness protection program. An Agency for Coordination of Protection of Victims or an NGO official remains with victims during trials. According to NGOs, most identified trafficking victims report crimes against them to the police and assist them in their investigations. Serbia allows victims to file civil suits against their traffickers for compensation. Victims who are pursuing criminal or civil suits are entitled to temporary residence permits and may obtain other employment or leave the country pending trial proceedings. There is no restitution program, but it is possible in both criminal and civil proceedings for judges to award plaintiffs compensation, including compensation from seized property. In the first instance of a victim receiving this type of award, a court awarded a victim compensation from a trafficker's seized assets in August 2009 (Ref D). K. The government took part in providing training for government officials, including police, prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors, teachers, and social welfare workers in recognizing trafficking and providing assistance to victims. In conjunction with IOM and the NGO Atina, the Republic Social Welfare Institute in June 2009 produced a manual entitled "Social Inclusion of Human Trafficking Victims," designed to guide staff at shelters and local social welfare centers around the country in providing assistance to victims. Serbian diplomats receive several classes of instruction on trafficking at the Diplomatic Academy. Part of their consultations before taking posts in missions abroad is a visit to the Interior Ministry's Border Police Directorate and the Office of the National Coordinator where they receive awareness materials and additional briefings on trafficking. Ten trafficking victims, all Serbian citizens, were assisted by Serbian Embassies abroad in 2009; all 10 were provided travel documents and repatriation assistance. L. Serbian citizens who are repatriated as victims of trafficking are entitled to the same assistance as victims identified in Serbia. M. Several local and international NGOs, including the Serbian Red Cross, Beosupport, the Child Rights Center, the Anti-Trafficking Center, Counseling against Family Violence, Atina, Astra, the Victimology Society of Serbia, Save the Children UK, and the Christian Children's Fund, work with trafficking victims and participate in the Republic Team to Combat Trafficking in Persons and its working groups. International organizations include the International Organization for Migration, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, UNICEF, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The U.S.-based NGO Fair Fund works with Atina on a program that provides life skills and income to individuals in Atina's shelter. In addition, there are several small local NGOs working on TIP issues in cities around Serbia, such as Cube in Novi Sad and new NGO Antos in Kraljevo. ¶5. Prevention ------------- A. The Ministry of Interior maintains an anti-trafficking website and Facebook page. It publicized its trafficking tip hotline through a poster campaign throughout the year. All points of entry into Serbia have TIP awareness materials posted, including the Interior Ministry hotline number. The NGO Astra, in cooperation with the Human and Minority Rights Ministry and international donors, continued the Naked Facts campaign with the message "Women are not meat. Children are not slaves. People are not merchandise." Individual local NGOs, citizens' associations, and social welfare centers around the country conducted training and awareness sessions for the public and local officials, including teachers and police. The Telecommunications Ministry conducted a campaign on keeping children safe on the Internet. During the University Games in August 2009, a government-produced anti-trafficking awareness video was aired on a number of TV channels as part of the anti-trafficking prevention campaign tied to this international sporting event that attracted tens of thousands of foreign and domestic visitors. The video is available on the Interior Ministry's website. On Police Day in June, the National Coordinator held an exhibition of children's drawings with an anti-trafficking awareness theme at the police training center in Makis, Belgrade. Politicians and celebrities, including President Tadic and basketball star Vlade Divac, attended the exhibition and congratulated the children on their artwork. The government published a 2010 calendar with some of the drawings as part of its awareness campaign. The exhibition was repeated at the National Bank in Belgrade, with an opening on European Anti-Trafficking Day in October. The Council to Combat Trafficking proclaimed October as the Month to Combat Trafficking. Starting in October, in conjunction with NGOs, local police and social welfare centers around the country began giving a series of awareness lectures in schools; nearly 30 lectures took place in 2009. Local police conducted additional awareness activities aimed at school-age children during October. Also in October, in cooperation with the Youth and Sport Ministry, Novi Sad NGO Cube conducted awareness training for high school students, focusing on the risk of false employment opportunities. B. The National Coordinator is examining the potential effects of Serbian citizens' recent inclusion in the Schengen visa-free regime (Ref E), which could facilitate trafficking by reducing document inspections into and out of Serbia. C. Government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations coordinate all anti-trafficking efforts through the Republic Team to Combat Trafficking in Persons. D. The government adopted a National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Serbia in 2006. In March 2009, the National Council adopted the Action Plan to Combat Trafficking for 2009-2011, drafted by the Republic Team, which includes activities to implement the strategy. While the financial and budget crisis has severely limited the funds dedicated to the Action Plan that the National Council had requested, the government is implementing many Action Plan activities, focusing on prevention activities and improving coordination among victim protection and law enforcement bodies and NGOs. E. Prostitution and facilitation of prostitution are illegal, and police enforce the relevant laws. The media publicizes law enforcement crackdowns on commercial sex establishments. F. There is no evidence of Serbian citizens participating in international child sex tourism. G. Serbia does not have over 100 troops in international peacekeeping efforts. ¶6. TIP Contact and Hours ------------------------ Post's TIP contact is Bianca Menendez, 381-11-306-4654, fax 381-11-361-3962. Post spent a total of 37 hours writing this report. The following individuals contributed to the report: FO-1: 2 hours, FO-2: 15 hours, FSN-10: 20 hours. WARLICK



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