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“NETWORKED AND EFFICIENT for providing support and preventing retraumatization” training was held

Roma girls aged 15 to 18 are one of the most frequent victims of human trafficking and labour exploitation in the returnee population, according to representatives of civil society organizations that provide support to the returnee population. Other insights and recommendations for improving work with returnee population can be found in the document Report on the Needs Assessment of Returnees under the Readmission Agreement who are Potential Victims of Human Trafficking. The Report was presented on Tuesday, April 11.

As part of the training entitled “NETWORKED AND EFFECTIVE: The role and networking of relevant actors in recognizing, providing support and preventing the retraumatization of victims of human trafficking and other vulnerable groups”, associates in the fight against human trafficking had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with associates who provide direct support to members of the returnee population.

Given that there are no official statistics on the number of people exposed to some form of exploitation and violence, i.e. human trafficking, among the user population, ASTRA examined relevant organizations that provide services to vulnerable categories of citizens in the territory of 30 different municipalities. The research was conducted through focus groups and questionnaires.

Respondents in the focus groups indicated that they had worked with users exposed to violence and exploitation. One respondent states that this isn’t a “rare occurrence”, that in her estimation, as many as 90% of the users they work with were exposed to some violence (especially domestic violence), and that they mostly encountered cases of forced marriage. And also that for some users “there are strong indications” that they were exposed to human trafficking (through forced marriage, forced begging or some other type of exploitation), according to the research.

The most common victims are members of the Roma population, and when it comes to persons forced into marriage, girls. The organizations point out that it is mostly about girls between 15 and 18 years of age. However, the youngest girl they worked with was 12 years old.

Girls who were sold into forced marriage abroad (mainly to Germany and Belgium) are often further exploited by the people to whom they were sold. “The coronavirus pandemic has intensified this practice,” according to the ASTRA report.

The report also points out that users who were exposed to exploitation and violence are mostly registered as returnees based on the Readmission Agreement and that only some of them are registered as victims of human trafficking in Serbia.

The goal of the training was to network all relevant actors and strengthen the capacities for fighting and recognizing human trafficking, prevention, and the recognition and adequate application of available support services. Participants informed each other about the areas of work, capacities and activities of organizations/institutions, improved communication and cooperation and defined guidelines on how to contribute to the expansion and improvement of support for the returnee population group and (potential) victims of human trafficking.

The training was organized within the project PROTECT AND SUPPORT – Strengthening reintegration process of (potential) trafficking victims and other vulnerable groups and individuals, as part of the Global Program of German Development Cooperation “Migration for Development” (PME), implemented in Serbia by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.



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