This article explores what we can learn about the identification of and assistance to trafficked persons from practitioners in Serbia on the front line of Europe’s “refugee crisis”. Questions arise as to whether and to what extent the anti-trafficking framework is effective in offering protection to trafficked migrants/refugees in a mass migration setting, but also what is lost if the specific perspective of the anti-trafficking framework is set aside or given lower priority. It is important to discuss who is included and who is excluded; whether protection and assistance meet people’s needs; and whether or how the existing framework can be used to greater effect. While it was challenging to operationalize the anti-trafficking framework, both conceptually and practically, during the “refugee crisis” in the Balkans, it remains an important approach that should have been mobilized to a greater extent, both to secure individual protections and rights and to gather information about human trafficking in conflict and crisis, which, in turn, increases the ability to respond effectively.
This NEXUS Institute blog post, drawing from the study Vulnerability and Exploitation Along the Balkan Route: Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking in Serbia, offers recommendations and overarching guidance for how stakeholders may begin to work more effectively to better identify and assist trafficked migrants/refugees.
In recent years, the flow of migrants and refugees through the Balkans has significantly increased. To date, there has been limited empirical evidence of when, why and how vulnerability to human trafficking arises in mass movements of migrants and refugees. New patterns of vulnerability and exploitation challenge established procedures for identification of and assistance to trafficking victims. This paper presents different experiences of trafficked migrants and refugees who have moved to and through Serbia over the past two years, and explores challenges and barriers to their formal identification and assistance as victims of human trafficking. The paper concludes with specific recommendations on how government and civil society stakeholders may begin to work more effectively on this issue to and to better identify and assist trafficked migrants/refugees.
This assessment outlines the current state of trafficking in the country as well as the various legal, policy and programmatic efforts underway in Sierra Leone that can be mobilized against child trafficking. The assessment finds that child trafficking is an issue of concern in Sierra Leone – as a source country both for internal trafficking as well as trafficking abroad. Child trafficking victims were both male and female of varying ages. Trafficking occurs for a range of different purposes including sexual exploitation (prostitution, marriage), labor (domestic work, mining, fishing, trading and vending, agriculture), begging and petty crime, adoption and into the fighting forces. While the assessment primarily considered child trafficking, it was noted that adults were also trafficked from and within the country. This report finds that 1) there have not been programs to prevent child trafficking and 2) the current child protection structure is not sufficient to accommodate the specific and special needs of trafficked minors. Also discussed are the gaps and issues to be considered in on-going counter-trafficking efforts.