“Partnership in combating human trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence“

“Partnership in combating human trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence“


Association Atina has, in cooperation and with the support of Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna, created and launched a project “Response to Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence Among Asylum and Refugee Population in the Republic of Serbia”. Within this project, a conference was held “Partnership in combating human trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence” on June 12, 2018, at the Embassy of France in Belgrade.

Speakers at the gathering were His Excellency, Mr Frédéric Mondolini, Ambassador of France in Serbia, Gordana Stevanovic Deputy Ombudsperson, Ljiljana Loncar, Senior Adviser for Gender Equality of the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia in the coordination body of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and Marijana Savic, Director of the Association “Atina”. The main focus of the gathering were joint efforts in eradicating inequality, and violence. The Conference was attended by more than 50 professionals from civil society organizations, international organizations and state institutions from Belgrade, Sid, Sremska Mitrovica, Vranje, Bujanovac, and Presevo.

The Conference itself consisted of two panels. The first one served to introduce attendees to the response of France to issue of prostitution, which was presented by Caroline Charpentier, a regional expert on combating human trafficking of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna, as well as François Roques, Director of NGO “A.C.J.E.91” and Alexandra Goughen, lawyer of the NGO “A.C.J.E.91”. They presented the French law on preventing prostitution which forbids sex purchase. A.C.J.E.91 worked with the French Justice Department on creating a draft of that law which criminalizes purchase of sexual services. This law is significant because it: (1) treats women in prostitution as victims of gender-based violence, and (2) introduces punishment for buyers of sexual services. The law also states that prosecutors may order sex buyers to participate in trainings conducted by nongovernmental organizations, which inform them about the reasons why purchase of sexual services must be eradicated, and why it is degrading for women.


A.C.J.E.91 is an NGO that works with the French Justice Department to change the attitudes toward prostitution and gender-based violence, with the goal of eliminating them from French society. A.C.J.E.91 works with sex buyers and perpetrators of gender-based violence, in order to educate them on harmful effects of prostitution and the laws prohibiting such actions. Prostitution is an issue in Essonne, where victims are mainly trafficked from Eastern Europe. A.C.J.E.91 has already managed to lower the number of sex buyers, and encourage victims to report criminal offenses and seek assistance.

A.C.J.E.91 works to eliminate gender-based violence through legal measures and psychosocial intervention. The focus is on changing men’s attitudes and actions because they are often the perpetrators of gender-based violence, and prostitution can only be eliminated if they stop buying sexual services. “We believe it is possible to change these behaviors through both the punishment of sex buyers and changing their attitudes toward prostitution through education and trainings”, representatives of A.C.J.E.91 said. When asked if he believes in that law, their Director said that it has both bad and good sides to it, but that he is also aware that each child in France since 2016 will know that prostitution is not only forbidden by the law, but also harmful for women and any society in general.

They particularly emphasized the results of law implementation, which in addition to a decrease in the number of sex buyers is an opportunity for victims to seek assistance, social changes which include more official working groups and nongovernmental organizations assisting victims, and introduction of education in schools on the topics of gender equality and harmfulness of exploiting women.

During the second panel, Prof. Dr. Sladjana Jovanovic and Judge Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic, authors of the analysis “Response to Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence among Asylum and Refugee Population in the Republic of Serbia” presented findings of this research which will be published in July 2018.

Photographs from the Conference can be viewed via the link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NGOAtina/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1075325455957685 

Newspaper articles about the Conference can be read via the following links: