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NHC Partner Ivana Radović Awarded for Combating Human Trafficking Work

31 July 2018

NHC partner, Ivana Radović, Head of Policy and Learning and Public Relations Officer for ASTRA Anti Trafficking Action (ASTRA) was awarded the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero award for her work in combating human trafficking.

Human trafficking is not a story about victims and their traffickers; it is a problem of our global society which structurally makes exploitation possible. Young people should fight this issue the right way: by attacking the root causes and advocating for a society in which human trafficking cannot exist”– Ivana Radović

The award was in recognition of her “pivotal role in driving the work of one of Serbia’s premier anti-trafficking organizations, her persistent advocacy efforts for trafficking victims, and her unparalleled contributions to strengthening Serbia’s anti-trafficking response by building the capacity of government and private sector institutions.” The U.S. Department of State administers the award with the objective to raise public awareness and enhance global prevention efforts by highlighting stories and best practices in combatting trafficking and inspiring further action worldwide.

ASTRA’s Work in Combatting Trafficking

ASTRA has been working on combatting trafficking in Serbia for over 18 years, providing assistance and consultation to both victims and state institutions. According to the TIP heroes page, ASTRA has become “one of the most credible NGOs fighting human trafficking in the country” illustrated by the fact that the organization is often consulted by the Serbian government when developing anti-trafficking initiatives. Through her work with ASTRA, Radović has contributed to combatting human trafficking by highlighting successes and shortfalls of prosecution efforts and authoring manuals on trafficking cases, referred to extensively by Serbian court officials.

ASTRA’s actions also go beyond Serbia and contributes to change in the Balkans region as a whole through, in part, the “Balkans Act Now” (BAN) project. The BAN project puts victims’ rights at the center of its approach to reforming judicial systems in the region. It aims to provide relief to victims by enhancing the understanding of prosecutors and judges of human trafficking’s various forms. This year, BAN entered its third phase (BAN III), which will last until the end of 2020.

The Netherlands Helsinki Committee has been involved in the BAN project as an official project partner since its inception and continues its support in the project’s third phase. It regularly provides expertise and trainings across the Balkans in relation to the project.

Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking”


International and Regional Actions on Human Trafficking

According to the UN, “Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims” it is “a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labor and sex” with an estimated 21 million victims worldwide. Both at the UN and EU level plans have been adopted focusing on the eradication of trafficking through a victim centered approach.

In addition to strategy within the EU, a “fundamentals first” approach was adopted as part of the European Commission’s enlargement strategy, shifting focus towards tackling organized crime such as human trafficking. The shift resulted a prioritization of combatting human trafficking through adopting relevant legislation and displaying strong track records of implementation in Western Balkan countries in the EU accession process.

For more information about the BAN Project, click here.
For more information about other NHC projects concerning Human Trafficking, click here.
To read the full Trafficking in Persons Report 2018, click here.

Excerpt from TIP 2018 Report displaying trafficking victim statistics in Europe (page 57)