Response stories

Shielding the Innocent: Human Trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trafficking in human beings, especially of children, is one of the burning issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the public was rightfully shocked and concerned when the attempted sale of a thirteen-year-old girl into an arranged marriage with a fifty-year-old man from Serbia was uncovered. The non-governmental organization “Zemlja djece u BiH” has been fighting against the trafficking of human beings for years, and the recent case in Kalesija demonstrated the importance and effectiveness of their work.

Fortunately, the local community reacted promptly, and the Center for Social Work Kalesija, together with the non-governmental organization “Zemlja djece u BiH“, the Cantonal Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Police Department Kalesija, took timely and coordinated efforts to prevent the tragedy. The Cantonal Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings had been involved throughout the entire case since the first suspicion and had been providing guidance and support, which was of significant importance. Working together, they successfully halted the wedding procession at the country’s border and rescued the girl, who was dressed in a wedding gown, completely unaware of being a victim of trafficking in human beings. The parents who withdrew her from school to sell her, as well as all those involved in this dreadful act, have been identified, and appropriate measures will be taken against them.

This case demonstrated the importance of strengthening the capacities of professionals in preventing and combating trafficking in human beings. “Zemlja djece u BiH” has been working for years on developing referral mechanisms and enhancing the skills of professionals, which proved crucial in preventing such situations. They continue to protect children at risk, providing them with a safe environment in their daily center.

Additionally, this case sheds light on another concerning issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina – child marriages, where children are sold for money. Such marriages violate the basic human rights of children, necessitating further efforts to reduce this form of exploitation.

The successful rescue was the result of the multisectoral cooperation, as well as the consistent implementation of the local protocol for the prevention and handling of cases involving child exploitation.

The collaboration of multiple sectors is crucial in combating the trafficking of human beings and protecting children from exploitation. This problem requires a comprehensive approach and coordinated efforts from all relevant sectors to achieve sustainable and effective results.

This case also serves as a reminder to society of the importance of fighting against the trafficking of human beings and safeguarding the rights of children. Education, awareness, and coordinated action are key factors in this fight, and continuous efforts must be made to ensure a secure future for all children in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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