Belgrade, 19 May 2012
Third expert meeting for lawyers titled “Health and Psychological Consequences of Human Trafficking” was held at Zira Hotel, Belgrade, on May 18, 2012. The expert meeting is part of the project “Protection of Trafficking Victims’ Rights through/and the Provision of Legal Assistance” carried out by ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee with support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MATRA).
Local and foreign experts – Henk Werson, police inspector and expert of the Dutch Police Centre for Combating Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling, Dutch expert Marjan Wijers, dr Cathy Zimmerman from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, professor Slobodan Savićc from the Institute of Forensic Medicine, professor Aleksandar Jovanović head of the Forensic Psychiatry Department of the Clinical Center of Serbia, dr Vera Litričin, Biljana Slavković from the Psychodrama Institute and Biljana Sinanović, judge of the Supreme Court of Cassation – discussed different aspects of health consequences of human trafficking.
Numerous topics relating to health and psychological consequences of human trafficking were addressed on this occasion, including: psychological strategies of traffickers and the use of physical and sexual violence from the perspective of investigation and prosecution; survival and coping strategies of trafficking victims; the role of expert witnesses in criminal and civil proceedings – expertise on physical and psychological injuries. The results of two surveys were also presented: a survey on the physical, sexual and psychological health consequences of trafficking conducted on the sample of around 450 persons in several European countries by dr Cathy Zimmerman and the analysis of the most common health consequences of human trafficking according to ASTRA’s ten-year practice.
This meeting and other project activities aim to provide specialized professional development training for lawyers for the sake of timely, correctly and sensitively informing the victim of human trafficking about their rights guaranteed by international conventions and domestic legislation and their appropriate representation in criminal and civil proceedings.
ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action is a Belgrade, Serbia-based grass root NGO dedicated to fighting human trafficking and providing direct victim assistance. ASTRA is equally active in the areas of prevention, education, public awareness raising, direct victim assistance in the process of recovery and reintegration, research and reporting. ASTRA runs the only SOS hotline in Serbia specialized for human trafficking through which more than 15000 calls were received and 400 persons identified as trafficking victims in the first ten years of work.