UNCLAS BELGRADE 000282
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE (K. GARRY), G/TIP (L.PENA, J. DONNELLY)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC, ELAB, PHUM, PREL, SMIG, KCRM, KFRD, KTIP, KWMN, SR
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
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.
The Government's Anti-TIP Efforts
A. The government acknowledges that trafficking is a problem in
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
(http://www.mup.gov.rs/cms_cir/sadrzaj.nsf/tr 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
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.
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
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
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
L. We are not aware of any child sex tourism or demand for child
sex tourism in Serbia.
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.