To mark the 8th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina/EUSR hosted a seminar on October 29th titled ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina’s anti-trafficking challenges in a regional prospective,’ co-organised with the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The seminar, chaired by Dr Renzo Daviddi, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, and attended by over 40 representatives of local authorities, non-governmental organisations as well as representatives of EU Member States, the Western Balkans countries, the US Embassy, UNHCR, CoE, and OSCE, provided an opportunity to take stock of progress made and the challenges ahead with regard to the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB), in a regional prospective. Dr Daviddi said that the seminar marked the EU’s renewed commitment to a coordinated approach in the fight against THB. He recalled that this year, the EU encouraged EU Delegations and EU Member States in the regions particularly affected by THB – such as the Western Balkans – to cooperate closely in their efforts with EU MSs, relevant international organisations and third countries to deliver on this policy area.
H.E Ruggero Corrias, Ambassador of Italy to BiH, underlined the commitment of Italy, as current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to raising awareness on THB and to promote an integrated approach to the fight against THB. Samir Rizvo, Assistant Minister, BiH’s National Anti-trafficking Coordinator, reported that in the last few years, a decrease in the number of foreign victims has been matched by a slight increase in internal victims. He underlined that one of the major challenges for BiH is to adjust its system to the changing nature of trafficking in BiH (from sexual exploitation to labour exploitation). Rizvo underlined that the training of police and prosecutors on THB should be stepped up. A change of mentality and sustained political support are needed to properly address THB for labour exploitation and to criminalize child begging, he said. Presenting the IOM’s regional project on counter trafficking, Gianluca Rocco, Chief of Mission of the IOM, underlined that there is a need to move from cross-border cooperation to regional cooperation. He also pointed out the importance of BiH institutions adequately addressing THB for the purpose of labour exploitation. The importance of establishing a transnational referral mechanism for the victims of THB; the need to set up joint investigative teams, to share experience and information on THB (and on migration in general) were indicated by the speakers as key priorities in terms of regional cooperation.
The following issues were raised during the seminar: the causes of the changing nature of THB; the need to address THB in a regional context; the importance for BiH to adapt its institutions to the changing nature of trafficking by training of police officers and prosecutors; the link between liberalisation of prostitution and the decrease in trafficking for sexual exploitation; the reasons behind low levels of prosecutions of traffickers both in BiH and in the EU.
Further information On the occasion of the Eighth EU Anti trafficking Day, the European Commission has published a package on Trafficking in Human Beings at the following dedicated page:
Mid-term Report on the Implementation of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016
Second Eurostat working paper on Trafficking in Human Beings, with statistical data on THB across the EU
Report on the Implementation of Directive 2004/81/EC that regulates the granting of a residence permit to non-EU victims of trafficking who cooperate with the authorities for the investigation and prosecution of the alleged traffickers
The related European Commission press release is available at: