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PSD launched a campaign to inform victims and witnesses of human trafficking!

Croatia is a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of human trafficking. The risks for potential victims of this brutal form of criminal activity are increasing with increased migrations. Tourist seasons, long weekends, holidays, sporting and cultural events, because of the mass movements, generally create greater opportunities for traffickers and enabling unnoticeable transport of victims to the final destination of exploitation.

For this reason, Partnership for Social Development in cooperation with the Croatian Motorways Ltd. and with the support of the Croatian Radio focused on the heigh tourist season to launch a campaign informing victims of human trafficking, witnesses and general public of a dangerous situations and offering them the toll-free numbers for advice or for an emergency intervention. From 25 July to 31 August, informative cards will be shared to the passengers at toll stations across the country, particularly at the most frequent locations along the coast, through Slavonia and Istria and near border crossings.

In Republic of Croatia, in the period from 2005 to 2013, total of 112 victims of human trafficking were identified, most of them female (83%). The most common types of exploitation are sexual and labor, and also organized begging and forced marriages. Croatian accession to the European Union opened new pathways for human traffickers and increased the risks for potential victims. Significant challenge represents also the economic situation in which young people behave risky while searching for employment aborad- leaving to an unknown destination without sufficient knowledge of how and where they are going and what awaits them there.

Most of the terrestrial corridors of so called Balkan route of organized crime, passes through the Republic of Croatia, and the potential victims remain in the Croatian territory from several hours to several months, depending on whether the Croatia is a transit country or country of exploitation. Instruments for helping victims of human trafficking in the Republic of Croatia do exist, but are not being used sufficiently because of weaknesses in the process of identification of victims of human trafficking, and because of the victims often lack of awareness of the situation and the available assistance.

The aim of this campaign is to reach out to victims and witnesses, and to point them to the toll-free numbers for advice or for an emergency intervention, but also to raise the general public awareness of this problem. In addition to distribution of informative cards by the Croatian Motorways employees at the  toll stations, the campaign includes billboards placed at various locations around the country and informative jingles which are being broadcasted several times a day at the public broadcasters network that includes two national and eight regional programs of Croatian Radio.

This campaign, coordinated by the Partnership for Social Development in the area of Croatia, is only one part of the wider activities carried out in four countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Serbia) within a project  Balkans ACT (Against Crime of Trafficking) Now!, funded by the European Union IPA Civil Society Facility. The project leader is ASTRA –Anti Trafficking Action from Serbia and other partners are NHC – Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands), International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS (Bosnia and Herzegovina), ALC – Accompagnement, Lieux  d’Accueil, Carrefour educatif et social (France), Open Gate – La strada (FYR Macedonia), CCEM – Committe Contre L’Esclavage Moderne (France).
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