U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83323.html [accessed 24 May 2015]|
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Tier 2)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Trafficked children, often ethnic Roma, are victims of forced labor. Victims most commonly come from Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and, increasingly, Serbia and Montenegro. Victims often transit en route to Slovenia, Croatia, and Western Europe. Many of the victims from BiH and Serbia and Montenegro are trafficked throughout the former Yugoslav republics and then back again in a seasonal, rotating pattern.
The Government of BiH does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government continued to strengthen its law enforcement response and anti-corruption efforts in relation to trafficking. The government should accelerate its efforts to formalize a victim referral mechanism and ensure implementation so that victims are afforded proper protections as soon as possible. The government should also encourage increased identification of victims, facilitate and encourage the aggressive and efficient prosecution of trafficking crimes, and deliver sufficient punishments. BiH should ensure the speedy drafting and adoption of appropriate legislation regarding assistance to domestic victims of trafficking.
The Government of BiH continued steady application of its anti-trafficking statute in 2004. The police investigated and submitted to prosecutors a total of 47 cases. Of this number, the courts handed down a total of 18 verdicts, 12 of which resulted in convictions. Length of sentences imposed by the courts improved somewhat, but many continued to be one year or less. The BiH criminal code provides for penalties of up to ten years' imprisonment. Four major anti-trafficking strike force investigations resulted in three convictions and one prosecution, which is ongoing. The government increased its capacity to prevent and respond to incidents of corruption and continued to investigate cases of official complicity in trafficking. In October 2004, the government arrested a police officer attempting to traffic two victims at the border with Serbia and Montenegro; he was suspended from duty, indicted, and currently awaits trial. The anti-trafficking strike force expanded a major investigation, begun in 2003, into the involvement of BiH consular officials in visa irregularities; criminal charges have been filed against a consular section chief, and the case is ongoing. In 2004, the State Coordinator's Office provided four training seminars addressing trafficking-related investigation and prosecutions for judges, prosecutors, and police. The State Border Service (SBS) trained its officers on victim identification, interviewing techniques, and referral procedures. In January 2005, the SBS introduced a 24-hour hotline available to the general public to make anonymous reports of all crime and register complaints about unprofessional behavior by border agents.
Government of BiH protection measures for victims of trafficking remained inadequate during the reporting period. The government did not formalize victim referral procedures, but development of such procedures was underway. The government developed a new rulebook and bylaws on the protection of foreign victims of trafficking to allow for issuance of humanitarian visas to victims. BiH prosecutors may request protected status for victims, and protected victims may be housed in shelters or in private residences. The government did not implement a systematic screening system. As a result, some victims were not identified and were thus denied proper protections and subject to potential deportation. In practice, however, deportation orders were rarely enforced. Regrettably, some victims fell back into the hands of their traffickers. The government in 2005 provided funding for six NGO-run shelters throughout BiH. The State Coordinator developed and signed memoranda of understanding to unify shelter standards in cooperation with local NGOs, and local police provided security. In 2004, IOM and local NGOs assisted 114 victims, but they reported that shelters were underutilized.
In 2004, the government partnered with the EU police mission and several NGOs and international organizations to implement and plan two public awareness and educational campaigns targeting potential victims, customers, and school children. The government also aired public service announcements and talk shows regarding trafficking on state-owned television stations. The Foreign Ministry continued to conduct training for consular officers to increase recognition of potential victims and, in 2004, began requiring personal interviews for all visa applicants.