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Trainings on the protection of private life and personal data of victims of trafficking: capacity building of relevant professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tarcin and Banja Luka 21 JULY 2021

In its second Report for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council of Europe's Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA) makes the following recommendation: “GRETA invites the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the issuance of appropriate instructions covering the protection of the private life and identity to all victims of trafficking, including domestic victims, in line with Article 11 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings”.

In co-operation with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the State Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Republika Srpska (RS), and the Centers for Education of Judges and Prosecutors of RS and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), in a period June-July, the European Union and the Council of Europe organised four trainings on the topic "Protection of private life and personal data of victims of human trafficking".

The trainings held in Tarčin (24 and 25 June) and Banja Luka (15 and 16 July) were attended by 65 participants - members of the co-ordination teams of FBiH, RS and Brčko District for the fight against trafficking in human beings, judicial officials, representatives of law enforcement agencies, representatives of social protection, education, health and non-governmental institutions, all with the aim of strengthening the capacity of all relevant professionals and improvement of the process of identification and protection, as well as provision of assistance to victims of trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

An international expert, Baerbel Heide Uhl, and a local expert, Judge Adisa Zahiragić, spoke about the protection of victims' privacy and personal data during referral and identification procedures and assistance, during court proceedings (criminal and civil), and about the complaint’s mechanisms for violation of the right to protection of the private life and personal data. Further they discussed the existing legislative framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina, talked about positive examples from the region and beyond, and through practical exercises, during the training, encouraged dialogue between participants and use of practical guidelines given during presentations.

Lack of co-ordination among various actors active in the anti-trafficking field during data collection procedures, and insufficient knowledge of what types of data are collected by individual agents, and in which situations the privacy of victims is violated, were noted as problems in this area. As a solution to this problem, the participants proposed the definition/creation of a unified form for obtaining informed consent on the collection and processing of data on victims of trafficking.

Participants were also informed about the final draft of guidelines created within the joint European Union/Council of Europe action „Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina" - Protection of privacy and personal data of victims of trafficking - which can serve as a guide to relevant institutions in creating new documents that will contribute to protection of privacy and personal data of victims. Guidelines developed within this action will be printed in the upcoming period and distributed to project service users, partners, and other anti-trafficking actors.

The action "Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina" is implemented within the joint programme of the European Union/Council of Europe "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022", with the aim of improving responses to combating trafficking in human beings and victim protection measures, mainly through capacity building and awareness raising of key anti-trafficking actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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