The National Assembly passed, on January 26, 2016, the Law on Public Peace and Order, in regards to which ASTRA had published a statement a couple of days earlier and expressed concern about the Article 12 sanctioning organized begging and child begging. Namely, Article 12, paragraph 3 of the Draft Law envisaged a fine of RSD 50,000-100,000 and imprisonment of 30 to 60 days for anyone who organized begging or used children and minors for begging.
After ASTRA published a statement, which was followed by media reporting on the issue, and sent a letter to every individual Member of Parliament and to relevant Parliamentary Committees, an amendment was passed not to include the said Article 12, paragraph 3 into the final text of the Law. At the session held on January 25, the Committee for Defense and Internal Affairs filed an amendment on Article 12 which was accepted. In this way, the Parliament has shown an awareness of international obligations of the Republic of Serbia and prevented serious violation of victims of human trafficking for the purpose of forced begging.
We are happy that the Republic of Serbia has recognized that it must not be possible to treat the crime of human trafficking as misdemeanor and understood the importance of legislative framework which should contribute to better and more efficient fight against various forms of exploitation, especially when it comes to children.