Since January 2018, ASTRA – Anti-trafficking action and five other partner-organizations from the region: International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Women’s Rights Center (Montenegro) Center for Legal Civic Initiatives (CLCI, Albania), Open Gate La Strada (Northern Macedonia) and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, are implementing the third phase of the regional project BAN III – The Balkans ACT (Against Crime of Trafficking) Now!. The project is financially supported by the European Union. Western Balkans (WB) is a region of origin, destination and transit when it comes to human trafficking, and this applies to all countries participating in this project. Moreover, all WB co-applicants in this project are leaders in the anti-trafficking field and are fighting against organized crime in their respective countries. They are active participants in the development of their governments’ strategies and action plans, in bringing about policy changes, in policy monitoring, while at the same time providing direct support to victims. The project approach has a strong regional ownership component and it focuses on specific interventions in order to build capacities of the WB CSOs and their local partners to analyze the situation on the ground, propose new solutions, monitor and report on the work of justice sector.
Phase 3 builds on the success of the phases 1 and 2 (the establishment of a strong regional network of CSO co-applicants; design of the Balkans Declaration on the suppression of trafficking and exploitation of human beings; design and testing of the regional Monitoring tool; various proposals in relation to the establishment of a compensation mechanism for victims were developed, including a feasibility study of a State Compensation Fund, as well as a model of the Law on Compensation Fund; creation of awareness-raising public campaigns).
Phase 3 will focus primarily on strengthening cooperation and capacities of the institutions and on the adoption and implementation of the Monitoring tool. This will allow transparent and accountable monitoring of quality services provided to victims, as well as the regional data and services comparison and it will set preconditions for establishment of the future National Rapporteur’s offices.
- The WB CSOs network is widened and has upgraded capacities to advocate, analyze and monitor policies, to produce independent reports and to realize national and regional advocating campaigns.
- Collaboration with relevant state institutions regarding the adjustment of the Monitoring tool is established. Monitoring tool is designed to fit specific national needs and procedures and is adopted as a national instrument.
- Advocating for, establishing and /or strengthening the National Rapporteur’s institution is achieved through exchange of practices and study visits.
- Periodical independent reports on anti-trafficking policy implementation and victim protection are designed and presented with conclusions, recommendations and the best practices from the Monitoring tool.
- The Monitoring tool and its replications over the years are ensuring transparency and accountability of the process of protection of victims of human trafficking in the WB.
- CSOs and public officials working in the anti-trafficking field have technical capacities and are able to use acquired knowledge in their daily work. Collaborative relationships are built between CSOs and the public sector, which opens possibilities of further innovation and advancements in victim protection.