Building trans-regional partnerships in the fight against trafficking in human beings and organised crime

A Transnational Anti-Trafficking Training Seminar for anti-THB stakeholders from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Moldova was held in Tirana, Albania on 6 – 7 December 2016. The primary objectives were the exchange of good practices on the functioning of NRMs between the three participating countries; improving awareness of the situation in each country on the identification of child victims in situations of begging and living on the streets; highlighting good practice for the identification of THB in mixed migration flows; and elaborating recommendations for future actions to strengthen victim identification and referral processes in each of the three countries.

The Transnational Training Seminar was organised in cooperation with the national authorities of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Molvoda. The Project‘s Key Experts were further supported by international NKEs on victim identification (Liliana Sorrentino), on child trafficking and safeguarding (Swati Pande, UK), as well as experts from the participating countries and wider Western Balkan Region (Sahiba Srna, NGO Zemlja djece u Bosni i Hercegovini, BiH; Mr. Zini Kore, Coordinator of NGO ARSIS, Albania; Daniela Simboteanu, Chairman of the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention, Moldova;  Jelena Hrnjak of NGO Atina from Serbia; Jasmina Dimiškovska Rajkovska of NGO Open Gate – La Strada, Macedonia; Denise Lassar from IOM Regional Office in Vienna; Dorian Dingo, Liaison Officer of Southeas European Law Enforcement Center.  

The first session was dedicated to a comparative presentation of NRMs in Albania, BiH and Moldova. The objective of the session was to compare the experiences of implementing the NRM in the three countries, looking at the role of Standard Operating Procedures, the advantages of certain approaches and problems face in practice. In conclusion, important challenges remain in all of the three countries in the region. These include: lack of adequate funding for outreach services, direct assistance, social protection services for long term reintegration, staff turnover, challenges in addressing labour trafficking and trafficking for forced begging and forced criminality. In some countries there are also emerging challenges related to mixed migration flows.

Following the first session the delegations’ worked in groups to determine priority areas for intervention to improving further assistance and support for victims under the NRM in their countries. The following suggestions were made:

  • Improve communication and info-exchange quality between institutions, especially in cross-border cases;
  • Indicators: work towards harmonizing indicators on regional level and countries that share a THB / migration route; Update indicators to reflect the latest developments in THB and its newest / prevalent forms;
  • Continue educating and raising awareness of the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary with a particular focus on inter-institutional cooperation , protection of victims, compensation, latest legislative developments;
  • Advocate for institutionalising anti-THB mechanisms (particularly NRM) including ensuring sufficient funding;
  • Maintain a professional dialogue between service providers / institutions in search for adequate responses to particular THB issues (such as THB of children for forced criminal activities), also new forms of THB (such as THB for extracting human cells).

The second session of the meeting focused on identification of child victims in situations of begging and living on the street. Presentations on the situation and institutional responses were provided by child protection experts working in each of the three countries were joined by an expert at the Child Trafficking Advice Centre of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) from the UK, who presented international good practice on working with child victims in situations of begging.

In summary, participants welcomed the opportunity provided by the training seminar to share their experiences and challenges with counterparts from the other two participating countries. This exercise allowed them to draw on the experience of counterparts in addressing their own issues, or in identifying where solutions for similar challenges have been identified in other countries. The seminar provided an opportunity to gather input and ideas from all delegations on future activities within the framework of the Project to address the challenges identified during the meeting.