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Workshop on Combatting Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings held in Belgrade

In the framework of a regional series of workshops on Smuggling of Persons and Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) with a focus on the work of Western Balkan Task Forces, the second workshop on combatting migrant smuggling was held in Belgrade, Serbia on May 10th and 11th. Besides combatting migrant smuggling, the workshop included topics related to THB.

The aim of the regional series is to improve joint operations and investigations and to create synergy and complementarity of activities not only among national authorities in the region and above that are in charge to fight serios crime in relation to migrant smuggling and THB, but also between the international organizations and Projects which support their work and help them to achieve common goals.  The first day of the workshop was devoted to the regional expert exchange on the topic smuggling of persons and THB, while the second day of the workshop was organized together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), involving key-note speakers from the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, the Joint Operational Office (JOO) in Vienna, Open gate/La Strada association, the GIZ regional Project “Prevention and Combatting Human Trafficking in the Western Balkans (PaCT)” and last but not least a Cultural Mediator who spoke about the Hawala system of payment, often used to pay compensation to migrant smugglers or perpetrators of trafficking in human beings.

With more than 40 participants who actively engaged during the event, besides the intriguing Hawala system and many other interesting phenomena that were discussed during the workshop, the following topics were covered:

  • Organizational set up and competence of the Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia
  • Modalities and procedures for international cooperation (JITs and parallel investigations) – exchange of best practices
  • Special evidentiary/investigative actions and cooperation in real time
  • Work in groups based on case studies (migrant smuggling and THB)
  • Scope of the regional Project PaCT and it’s outputs focusing on Prevention, Protection, Partnership and Support Services
  • Intervention and provision of support to victims of trafficking in human beings (Open Gate/La Strada)
  • Victim centred and protection sensitive approach in investigations (IOM Regional Office in Vienna)
  • Organization of the Joint Operational Office (JOO) in Vienna – opportunities for cooperation and coordination (Task Force Western Balkan)

This series came into being at the initiative of the Serbian Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office. In addition to participants from the Task Forces of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, which are composed of representatives of relevant prosecutor’s offices and various law enforcement agencies, representatives from local authorities in charge of combating smuggling of persons also attended the workshop, as well as representatives of other relevant organizations and Projects such as the OSCE and the Facility for Chapter 24.

The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) is a flexible tool, enabling the project CSC WB to detect and react on specific needs from the beneficiaries – a response to joint proposals related to the fight against serious and organised crime and/or terrorism. Read more about how to apply for the TAF.