SARAJEVO, 12 June 2012 – The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, emphasized the importance of keeping anti-trafficking a priority during a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina that began today.
She noted that trafficking for sexual exploitation was a severe problem in BiH in the 1990s, and although some progress has been made since anti-trafficking action should remain a priority.
"Trafficking for sexual exploitation is a cruel form of modern-day slavery and must be eradicated," she said. "Moreover, new forms of slavery, such as cases involving the severe exploitation of migrant workers, must also be tackled. I urge the authorities to redouble their anti-trafficking efforts, especially with respect to prevention as well as ensuring legislative coherence and victims' access to justice".
During the visit the Special Representative met the Minister of Justice Bariša Čolak, the Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Radmila Mitrović and the State Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Samir Rizvo to discuss current action to prevent and combat human trafficking, as well as the next State Strategy and Action Plan. She will also hold consultations with the Minister of Security and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Sadik Ahmetović, Deputy Minister for Civil Affairs Denisa Sarajlić-Maglić and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ana Trišić Babić. She will also meet the President of the Criminal Division of the BiH Court and Deputy Chief Prosecutor, as well as with the Gender Agency.
Furthermore, she will discuss current legislative initiatives in the field of anti-trafficking with the Chairperson of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly Joint Committee for Human Rights, Child Rights, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics, Aleksandra Pandurević.
In her meetings, Giammarinaro highlighted the important anti-trafficking work of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Since 2003, the Mission has been working with the authorities and civil society in BiH to establish victim support structures and legislation that is compliant with international standards. It is of utmost importance that the progress achieved so far is not lost, but that the efforts are maintained in order to be able to fight new forms of the crime," said Ambassador Fletcher M. Burton, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH.
Giammarinaro, who has emphasized non-governmental and civil society organizations as crucial partners in the fight against trafficking, started her visit today in Sarajevo with meetings with NGO representatives. She discussed current trends and challenges in trafficking with NGOs as well as with representatives of international organizations including UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, ICMPD, as well as with the EU and the US Embassy.