96 victim of human trafficking identified last year
02.06.2008, Source: Blic
BELGRADE – Among human trafficking victims in Serbia during last year, men were more numerous than women. This shows data from Ministry of interior of Serbia, and the police discovered several crime groups recruiting people, mostly men, for labor exploitation.
One criminal group recruited men from Belgrade, Cacak, Novi Pazar and Derventa through Nis agency “Spider-net” and Internet for, as they were claiming, legal work on constructions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Less skilled workers were supposed to earn 1.200 dollars and skilled workers 1.600 dollars with paid lodgment and food. However, interested persons should pay 500 euros for return flight ticket. Around 150 to 200 persons left and were lodged in inhuman conditions in barracks. 40 people had only one bathroom, and they have to find a food themselves – says collocutor from police to Blic.
The owner of the agency was waiting for them and took their passports, saying that he needed them to arrange working visas. They work 12, 13 hours per day and never got paid. After a month some workers complained but the boss said he will “send them to the desert or to war in Iraq”.
One Serbian and two Bosnian citizens asked for help from their Ministry of labor where they tried to bribe them with 500 dollars, and as they refused it, they were deported after one month in prison – says the police.
After their comeback to Serbia, they reported what have happened to them, so the police arrested several men from Novi Pazar, group members, who admitted that they were involved in recruitments. 39 men who left abroad for work reported they were victims. In the meantime, police posted a wanted circular for one person form Jordan, also group member. They discovered that group leader had similar networks in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that German police was looking for him as well. A man from Jagodina recruited 6 children and forced them to beg for him. One family abused poverty and invalidity of their relative who lost his hand after lightning struck the tree. They separated him from mother and promise to marry him, but that he has to beg for them. He claimed to be war invalid and earned daily up to 600 euros – says our collocutor and adds that both man from Jagodina and invalid�s cousins were arrested.
In the police they explain that cases of labor exploitation are at first fraud, but than it turns out to be something more dangerous – human trafficking.
Women fall victims of sexual exploitation. They respond to ads for housekeepers, baby sitters, waitresses abroad, or the better life is promised to them by friends. Instead, thay are forced into prostitution in Kosovo, in Montenegro, BiH, and latter in Italy – explains our collocutor and says that one 35 years old woman from Kragujevac managed to escape from her pimp in Italy .
Her case, however, shows that Serbia is most ususally country of destination, and not of transit in human trafficking. Citizens of Serbia are the most usual victims in internal trafficking in women. They are recruited to work at clubs, which are cover for prostitution.
Jet Set club in Novi Pazar was exposed, where the girls from around Serbia, besides dancing offered sexual services to clients. Beside bosses arrested for procurement, handcuffs were put to deputy district attorney in Novi Pazar, who knew about the entire business but he was paid to keep silence by sexual services from the girls. Three police officers were arrested as well, one form Sombor and two from Novi Pazar, also involved in chain of prostitutions. They are all in detention waiting for the trial to begin.
96 victims were found last year in Serbia, among whom 62 were men. Unlike in previous years, number of children is decreased. But the number among population ages 14 – 18 recruited for begging increases, but also for forced theft where the pickings go to bosses.
More girls become victims
Vesna Stanojević, president of Safe house in Belgrade, says that few years ago mostly women from abroad were victims of human trafficking, but that the situation has changed.
– Serbia was country of destination or transit, but now, unfortunately, it is country of origin. There are lots of girls from Serbia that are human trafficking survivors and they need to be helped, says Stanojević.
According to her, number of cases of transferring girls to western countries is increasing now, so the trafficking is mostly within Serbian borders.