Strasbourg, 14 May 2013 – The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken steps to combat trafficking in human beings, such as appointing a national coordinator and adopting state action plans, but a number of important challenges remain, according to a report published today by the Council of Europe’s expert group on human trafficking, GRETA.
In its first report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, GRETA calls upon the authorities to ensure that human trafficking is criminalised by all criminal codes applicable on the country’s territory (i.e. in Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District). At present, only the state criminal code defines human trafficking as a criminal offence and therefore cases of human trafficking are prosecuted only at state level. GRETA urges the authorities to ensure that human trafficking cases are investigated and prosecuted effectively, leading to proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
Most of the victims identified in recent years were trafficked within Bosnia and Herzegovina. The report highlights the need to improve the identification of victims of trafficking, by disconnecting it from the initiation of a criminal case. Increased attention should be paid to the identification of child victims of trafficking.
In addition, GRETA calls upon the authorities to provide adequate assistance and protection to victims of trafficking and to ensure that they can obtain compensation from the perpetrator or the state.
In the area of prevention, GRETA considers that there is a need for a comprehensive awareness-raising campaign for the general public, as well as targeted initiatives for groups vulnerable to human trafficking. GRETA also urges the authorities to ensure the registration of all children at birth and to ensure that Roma children, who are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, have effective access to education.