With relatively high poverty rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, people in the country are vulnerable to human trafficking and labour exploitation. Especially tourism, as well as the strong presence of industrial sectors such the steel, coal and textile industry, facilitate human trafficking practices in the country.
Bosnian nationals are trafficked within Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as abroad to Serbia, Spain, Italy and other European countries. Roma boys and girls within the country are particularly vulnerable to labour exploitation facilitated by local organised crime groups. There is a very low awareness about human trafficking and there are almost no reported cases. Victims are not seen as trafficked persons who need assistance but as people “simply” deceived by their employers.
In July 2014, The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued an indictment against 13 people charged with organised crime and trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation. It concerned trafficking of more than 600 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia in Azerbaijan from 2007 to 2009. In 2013, the government officially reported 13 victims of human trafficking. In 2012, 39 cases were reported.
The national government has allocated funds towards anti-trafficking efforts. However, it has not harmonised its laws with international standards. There is hardly any progress in convicting offenders or identification and protection of victims. Furthermore, corruption levels are high. There are reports of police accepting bribes in exchange for advance notice of raids.
There are several national NGOs active in addressing human trafficking. They include La Strada International’s partner Novi Put, Žena BH, Vaša Prava, Lara and the Foundation of Local Democracy are all focus on awareness-raising and protecting female victims. Medica Zenica and Emmaüs were selected by the government to provide shelter assistance. Local training programmes have been supported by international NGOs like Save the Children.
Sources: Trafficking in Persons report 2014, Council of Europe Report, Novi Put
Interesting links: Javna istraga – Documentary on internal trafficking in human beings (trailer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsfiLmbW9y0
US Human Rights Report 2005 www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61640.htm
RADIO SLOBODNA EVROPA - http://www.slobodnaevropa.org oktobar/listopad 18, 2015
Udruzenje "Novi put" u okviru projekta "Prevencija trgovine ljudima u Hercegovačko-neretvanskom i Zapadno-hercegovačkom kantonu“ provodi kampanje u gradovina HNK-a i ZHK sa ciljem podizanja svijesti sire javnosti o problemu trgovine ljudima u BiH.