Committed to the Cause: Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking

Photo: UNODC

On the occasion of July 30, World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been publishing stories of people working on the frontline to end human trafficking. Our colleague Jelena Hrnjak, Programme Manager of NGO Atina, took part in the campaign and shared her thoughts and insights.  

My job in Atina is to make sure that our long-term social inclusion programme for trafficking survivors functions smoothly.

Our organization raises direct constructive criticism to government institutions to change policies and improve the position of victims of human trafficking in society, and that is also a huge part of my everyday job.

Not only do I feel that my work in Atina is successful, I deeply believe in our mission and vision as well. I know that I’m in the right place at the right time, and even though I have been here for a while, I feel that I still have a lot to give.  

I strongly believe in the power of civic action, as key in the fight for equality. That makes my job in Atina even more valuable.

Many of the encounters with women and girls who sought refuge and help in Atina have marked me forever.

Some of the bravest women I met were trafficking survivors, sharp-minded and fearless. I have never before seen or felt such an urge for justice to be served.

I have learned a lot from them. I have learned that every life is worthwhile, that life always wins, and that in the end we always laugh together and share joy.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, not much has changed in many respects, as we are constantly working in an emergency situation anyway.

The women we assist are familiar with the feeling of being socially isolated, unfortunately even without the Covid-19 pandemic, especially women victims of human trafficking who have been deprived of freedom of movement and decision-making.

On the other hand, we have invested a lot of effort to remain healthy, to protect both ourselves and others.

The support provided by UNODC to Atina is crucial for the organization. The support is long-term, full of trust, respect and understanding of the difficulties in which organizations such as Atina operate. With UNODC’s support, we are investing directly in the lives of those who need us most.

The original text can be found via the following link: