Within the second phase of the regional EU project Balkans ACT (Against Crime of Traffikcing) Now! ASTRA organized, on March 31 and April 1, training for law students for the purpose of monitoring of trials for human trafficking offences. The training brought together 24 students of the Belgrade University Law School (Law Clinic for Combating Human Trafficking), the Union University Law School and the Niš University Law School. The students were selected based on their resumes and the questionnaires they filled in as part of their application to the training.
During two days, the students had an opportunity to learn more about the basic concepts of human trafficking and international and domestic legal frameworks which regulates human trafficking as a criminal offence, as well as about the practice of combating human trafficking and protecting victims in Serbia. Special emphasis was placed on psychological trauma trafficked persons survive not only during their exploitation but also after getting out of the trafficking chain, and on secondary victimization which is inevitably connected to their participation in court proceedings. Through presentation and discussion with the lawyer who represents ASTRA’s clients in court, the students could also learn about the basic rights of trafficked persons in the proceedings, how the enforcement of laws, which are usually assessed as satisfactory, looks like in practice and how the court proceedings look like from the point of view of a victim’s attorney. Part of the training was dedicated to the technical aspects of monitoring of trials in the context of the objective of this activity, which is collecting objective data on actual position of victim in the proceedings, thus enabling insight into the effectiveness of access to justice for trafficked persons as part of the overall evaluation of the national anti-trafficking policy.
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In 2015 the students have been monitored all trials for human trafficking offences that were taking place in Serbia and where victims/injured parties are adults so that public is not excluded. Their findings will be included in ASTRA’s regular annual analysis of the position of trafficking victims in court proceedings which is done based on reports of researchers who attended the trials, as well as based on the analysis of judgments for trafficking offences; collected data will also be included in the regional report on monitoring national anti-trafficking policies which is due in 2016.