Belgrade, 12 November 2009, source
The first Deputy Prime Minister and the Interior Minister Ivica Dačić has signed today an Agreement on Cooperation between Ministries of the Interior, Finance, Labour and Social Policy, Education and Justice in the area of fight against human trafficking.
On that occasion, Mr. Dačić has also signed an Agreement on establishing the Council for Combating Illegal Migrations between the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Labor and Social Policy, Defense, Justice, Economy and Regional Development and the Commissariat for Refugees.
The Agreements were signed by Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac, Finance Minister Diana Dragutinović, Education Minister Žarko Obradović, Justice Minister Snežana Malović, Labor and Social Policy Minister Rasim Ljajić and Health Minister Tomica Milosavljević, the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development and the Commissariat for Refugees.
Minister Dačić said that the signing of the agreement in the anti-trafficking field was aimed at providing coordinated policy in combating this sort of crime, and especially in the area of prevention, education and victim protection.
According to him, Serbia wishes to respond timely and comprehensively to the problem of human trafficking using legal and social approach.
He stressed that this document envisaged the harmonization of work and coordination of activities of state authorities in the area of trafficking victims’ protection, in order to ensure the sustainability of protection and reintegration programs, especially by ensuring accommodation for victims.
Minister Dačić said that this was especially important since domestic citizens – trafficking victims had been increasingly identified in Serbia in recent years, half of whom are younger than 18.
The first Deputy Prime Minister reminded that on March 26, the Government had passed the Strategy for Combating Illegal Migrations, which was based on the National Program for Integration into EU, adopted Integrated Border Management Strategy and reforms in the country.
He said that priorities set in the Strategy included the fulfillment of criteria for the liberalization of the visa regime for the citizens of Serbia, the speeding up of the stabilization and association process, the strengthening of security capacities and potentials of Serbia and the implementation of integrated border management concept.
Minister Dačić stressed that the methodology for fighting illegal migrations specified in the Strategy was based on the legislation in force in Serbia, the best law enforcement practice of Serbia and EU, as well as on the Schengen catalogue of measures which comprised four phases in combating illegal migrations.
According to him, this includes activities in third countries, countries of origin and transit, bilateral and cross-border cooperation, the measures of inspection and supervision on outer borders, as well as other measures in combating illegal migrations.
Justice Minister Snežana Malović reminded that through the amendments and supplements to the Criminal Code, stricter penalties for human trafficking were introduced, while minimum sentence for the basic form of human trafficking is three years.
Minister Malović said that in fight against human trafficking it is necessary to apply as soon as possible the law on confiscation of criminal proceeds and stressed that the Government of Serbia was determined to fight any form of crime, including human trafficking.
She reminded that in forming the Government, two goals had been set: fight against crime and corruption and European integration. The signing of these Agreements means the attaining of both of the,
Fight against human trafficking is one of the most important topics on the path to the EU. At the beginning of this path, Serbia has to punish such practices, because after the liberalization of the visa regime, more problems related to illegal migrations will arise.
According to her, good coordination between state authorities, regional cooperation, as well as cooperation with the media and education institutions are necessary.
Minister Malović reminded that Serbia had ratified the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which is the most up-to-date legal instrument for fighting this illegal activity.
She added that the Serbian experts were invited before the United Nations to take part in making the law which should be the anti-trafficking legal framework for all national legislations.
Minister Dačić said that the recommendation of the European Parliament for canceling visas for the citizens of Serbia was a practical benefit for our citizens. He added that this was the first step towards our country’s membership in EU.
He said that the European Parliament had adopted that recommendation, but the final decision was to be made by the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers of EU Members States at the session scheduled to take place by the end of the month.
According to Minister Dačić, this is only the first step towards European integration, with ultimate goal being EU membership.