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International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, December 2

On the occasion of December 2 – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action has a great pleasure to present you the “Monitoring and Evaluation of Anti Trafficking Policies: Handbook for Victims’ Advocates”.


Together with partner organisations, ASTRA was developing this Handbook in the period 2014-2016 within the scope of EU-funded project “Balkans ACT (Against the Crime of Trafficking) Now!” in order to provide anti-trafficking practitioners with a monitoring and evaluation framework which would allow them to gather evidence and analyse the quality of the laws, procedures and practices related to combating trafficking in human beings and protecting victims.


The initial idea for developing a monitoring tool came from Marija Andjelkovic, director of ASTRA. Aware of the importance of independent and objective assessments for further development and improvement of state responses to human trafficking since it first started its work, ASTRA has been monitoring and reporting on the work of relevant institutions, in particular in the fields of direct assistance to trafficked persons and the prosecution of traffickers. At some point we realized that it would be beneficial to have comprehensive, detailed and above all clearly defined indicators, not only of legislative and policy frameworks in Serbia, but also of what happens in practice, i.e. how and to what extent these frameworks are applied in practice and what is the overall level of compliance with international and European instruments and other standards that Serbia has ratified.


The “Monitoring and Evaluation of Anti Trafficking Policies: Handbook for Victims’ Advocates” can be applied both in the countries of origin of people who are trafficked and countries of destination. The Handbook uses as its reference points the various treaty obligations accepted by governments that sign contemporary international instruments in this area. Without denying the immense significance of law enforcement and security issues, the starting point of this tool is the fact that human trafficking is above all the violation of victims’ human rights and that all anti-trafficking policies should aim to restore and protect these rights. Especially important is that anti-trafficking policies must in no way do harm either to victims of trafficking or to other social groups that are in a broad sense considered to be at risk of falling victim to trafficking, all in the pursuit of some alleged higher purpose.


This Handbook is intended to be used by a wide variety of practitioners, from statutory service providers, decision makers and law enforcement officials, to practitioners working for civil society organisations and playing a role in the anti-trafficking work carried out at national and/or international level.


Level of protection of victims and respect for their rights is monitored in the following seven fields:

  1. The law and the application of the law;
  2. Identification of trafficking victims;
  3. Provisions for the protection of victims of trafficking (and their application), both nationals and foreigners;
  4. Assistance and support for victims;
  5. Compensation and legal redress;
  6. The institutional framework, including coordination, capacity and international cooperation;
  7. Data availability, data protection and protection of private life.


This Handbook has no limitation in its geographical scope, despite the strong inspiration drawn from the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as two EU instruments: Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims of 5 April 2011, and Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and child pornography.


The Handbook is a result of three-year work of ASTRA and “Balkans ACT Now!” partner organizations: ISF Emmaus (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Open Gate La strada (Macedonia), Women’s Rights Centre (Montenegro) and La Strada International (The Netherlands). In the first phase, facilitated by Pierre Cazenave and Roderick Ackerman, contribution was given also by Partnership for Social Development (Croatia), the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, ALC (France) and CCEM (France). Mike Dottridge is responsible for the presentation and contents of this version of the Handbook.


We hope and we wish that this Handbook will be broadly used because we believe that monitoring anti-trafficking policies, based on detailed and clearly defined indicators, will enable all anti-trafficking actors to make a true and reliable assessment on how things work in their respective countries and to take more appropriate measures as a result. It will also enable year-to-year country-based comparisons, as well as comparisons between countries. Comparisons are not important for ranking the performance of states, but for measuring progress, sharing good practice and adjusting policies to meet the challenges identified in the course of the implementation of laws and policies in practice, as well as for noting trends and developments in the area of trafficking in human beings. Poor information contributes to poor decision- and policy-making that does not correspond to needs on the ground, whether we talk about protection, prosecution, prevention or any other aspect of the fight against human trafficking; indeed, sometimes they even cause highly damaging, unintended outcomes. So, this Monitoring Handbook seeks to contribute to accurate information, accurate assessments of the situation and consequently appropriate identification of needs and gaps that need to be tackled. Soon a specially designed software will be launched which will facilitate the monitoring process.


We would like to hear your opinions, suggestions and hopefully experiences in using the Handbook and we are open to all your questions.


The Handbook is available in English, Serbian, B/H/S, Montenegrin and Macedonian at:


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