With the challenging economic situation pushing workers to cross the national borders and people to beg on streets, as well as the large influx of migrants, the situation in the field of human trafficking for labour exploitation has deteriorated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 15 December the first training on human trafficking for labour exploitation under the action "Prevention and combating trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina" was launched.
Thirty-one professionals - labour inspectors, investigators from Ministries of Internal Affairs, representatives of employment agency, trade unions, civil society organisations and international organisations, participated in the training and increased their knowledge and capacities to detect and refer potential victims of human trafficking and to investigate human trafficking cases while protecting the victims' rights in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
The co-ordinator for combating trafficking in human beings and illegal migration in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Samir Rizvo, welcomed this initiative of capacity building particularly targeting labour inspectors, whose role in early detection of human trafficking for labour exploitation is crucial.
The participants discussed issues related to prevention and fight against human trafficking and forced labour and the protection of trafficking victims, in light of the international and national legal frameworks, the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the practice of the National Referral Mechanism for identification of and assistance to trafficking victims and gender aspects of the phenomenon in the field of labour exploitation.
Through his presentation on „The role of the labour inspectorate in combating human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation in Belgium“ Peter Van Hauwermeiren, the newly elected member of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Greta), sent a strong message to the labour inspectors saying „Never doubt that you can make a difference in the fight against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation. You have more power than you think, so use it!“
Participants agreed that the biggest problem labour inspectors face in their work is the lack of capacities due to insufficient understanding of their role in the area of human trafficking as well as the large turnover of staff. One way to overcome this problem would be to invest in creating a more stable training strategy and system. The training was concluded by a joint statement that for the successful continuation of the fight against this modern slavery, co-operation between relevant actors of different profiles in the field of combating trafficking in human beings is the most important.
The action on „Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ is implemented under the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme „Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II“, aiming to assist beneficiaries in South-East Europe to comply with the Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis in the framework of the enlargement process.