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Training “Providing Legal Aid and Protection to Victims of Human Trafficking” for Lawyers: You Are Facing a Human Being, Not an Object

Marija Andelkovic, Director of the Anti Trafficking Action – ASTRA, was one of the lecturers at the training “Providing Legal Aid and Protection to Victims of Human Trafficking” in Petrovac, Montenegro. The training was aimed at lawyers to enhance their knowledge about human trafficking as a phenomenon and how to treat victims in this sensitive area.

Andelkovic discussed how individuals become victims of human trafficking, their needs, and understanding their traumas and the health consequences.

“Prejudices we have towards victims are often the main obstacle to seeing the full brutality of this crime, facing its consequences for individuals and society, and taking appropriate measures for prevention, punishment of perpetrators, and support for victims,” said Marija Andelkovic.

Participants shared their experiences and analyzed international standards, as well as national legal frameworks for combating human trafficking.

Jelena Grdinic, General Director of the Directorate for Criminal and Civil Legislation at the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro, spoke about how Montenegrin legislation has addressed this issue from 2010 to the present.

“Montenegro, in line with the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, has incorporated human trafficking into its criminal legislation,” explained Grdinic.

Special State Prosecutor of Montenegro, Tanja Colan-Deretic, gave a lecture on handling human trafficking cases from the perspective of prosecutors.

“I advocate for a female police officer, prosecutor, judge, and educated female lawyer to be involved when interviewing a woman or girl victim of sexual exploitation. The Bar Association must find a way to achieve this,” stated Prosecutor Tanja Colan-Deretic.

Zeljka Jovic, President of the Basic Court in Podgorica, reminded that empathy is always necessary in such cases.

“Colleague lawyers, when defending traffickers and questioning the victim, keep in mind that you are facing a human being, not an object,” said Jovic.

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