OSCE Focuses on Distinction between Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling


More than 40 representatives of the BiH Border Police, BiH State Investigation and Protection Agency, Service for Foreigners' Affairs and BiH Prosecutor's Office attended a three-day, multi-sectoral training course on the differences between trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants, which concluded on 22 March 2023 in Sarajevo. The course was organized by the OSCE Mission to BiH, in co-ordination with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The course aimed to increase participants' practical and theoretical knowledge of the elements of crimes related to trafficking in human beings, and to build their capacity to differentiate between trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants.

"Combatting trafficking in human beings - a heinous form of modern slavery - is a key priority of our Mission," said Ambassador Brian Aggeler, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. "Fundamental human rights must be at the centre of all efforts to combat human trafficking and manage mixed migration flows, control borders effectively, prosecute traffickers and smugglers, and provide compensation and support to victims of trafficking."

While Bosnia and Herzegovina is a source, destination, and transit country for the trafficking of women, men, and children as well as the smuggling of migrants, these challenges are a transnational issue. Samir Rizvo, State Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, stressed that trafficking in human beings together with smuggling of migrants undermine the rule of law and contribute to other forms of transnational organized crime. "At this seminar, prosecution and law enforcement officials, including members of the border police, enhanced their skills to differentiate between smuggling and trafficking in human beings and apply a social path in the identification of victims of trafficking," said Rizvo.

At the training, GIZ briefly presented their project on preventing and combatting trafficking in human beings in the Western Balkans (PaCT). One goal of the project, which is focused on advising public authorities and civil society, is the establishment of necessary conditions to increase the resilience of victims and improve the protection of potential victims. "The project promotes co-operation and co-ordination between local and the central authorities in this field. Therefore, in my opinion, this training can assist in strengthening co-operation and co-ordination between all relevant actors in our country," said Tatjana Junuzagić, Coordinator of the PaCT Project for BiH.

This training was implemented as part of the OSCE Mission to BiH's wider efforts to support the fight against trafficking in human beings in BiH by strengthening the capacity of relevant institutions to detect, investigate and process such crimes.

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