Response to Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence Among the Asylum and Refugee Population in the Republic of Serbia

According to the official statistics in January 2018, there are 4,314 refugees and migrants in Serbia, most of whom are women and children. They are the most vulnerable group of the refugee and migrant population, especially when it comes to their exposure to human trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence. As there are no unified statistics on the number of cases of those who survived violence among the migrant population in the Republic of Serbia, Association Atina has a need to further research this phenomenon and try to respond to the challenges that are arising in practice, to facilitate further actions in revealing various criminal offenses committed against women and children refugees and migrants. In this regard, Association Atina has, in cooperation and with the support of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations and the International Organizations in Vienna, created and launched a project “Response to Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence Among the Asylum and Refugee Population in the Republic of Serbia”.

The project itself is aimed at improving the response and protection of victims of human trafficking, gender-based violence and other related criminal offenses such as smuggling, forced marriages, sexual intercourse with a child, domestic violence, neglect, abuse of children and minors. The focus of all project activities are challenges faced by professionals in three local communities in Belgrade, Sid, and Vranje as communities with a high number of migrants. The aim is to assist these communities through a detailed analysis with recommendations, help them improve the support and protection of refugees and migrants who have survived, or are at high risk of, human trafficking and/or gender-based violence. Also, the solutions this project shall propose can be easily replicated in all the communities in Serbia facing the same or similar challenges.

The project envisages a creation of Analysis of the existing systemic response to protection of victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence, with recommendations for future conduct. Representatives of local institutions for the accommodation of migrants, as well as civil society activists and other actors who may, or do, come in contact with migrants and asylum seekers will also give their contribution to the Analysis. At the end of May, a joint conference will be held in Belgrade for all the professionals involved, as well as the wider community and experts from France who will contribute to the development of a joint document for further advocacy on the improvement of the existing systemic response to the challenges they are facing in the field of protection of migrants and refugees in Serbia. The project started in December 2017, and will last until November, 2018.