May 2019 – NEXUS Institute is pleased to share our research in a new issue of Crime, Law and Social Change. The research, conducted as part of the project Vulnerability and exploitation along the Balkan route: Identifying victims of human trafficking in Serbia, considers the risk of and vulnerability to human trafficking among the thousands of migrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere who have moved to and through Serbia over the past two years.
The research project was implemented by NEXUS and Fafo, in close collaboration with the NGOs Atina and Center for Youth Integration (CIM) in Serbia and was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
See also the corresponding photo essay Trafficked Along the “Balkan Route” with photographs by award-winning photojournalist Peter Biro.
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.