Strengthening Prosecution Efforts Against Traffickers

A two-day conference organized by IOM and the Bosnia Herzegovina State Coordinator for Anti-Trafficking and Illegal Immigration began yesterday in Sarajevo aimed at strengthening regional cooperation among prosecutors in dealing with human trafficking.

"Trafficking in human beings is ‘big business' with profits in the billons of dollars every year," said Regina Boucault, IOM's chief of mission in Sarajevo. "And prosecution of the perpetrators is difficult because while trafficking knows no borders, prosecution is state-based."

The conference is involving prosecutors from the Western Balkans and the wider region, including Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Romania, Ukraine and Moldova.

Topics include the standards and procedures related to human trafficking used by Europol and Eurojust, an European Union body established to enhance the effectiveness of member states in prosecuting serious cross-border crimes and multilateral cooperation in evidence gathering and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking.

At the end of conference, funded by USAID, the King Baudoin Foundation in Belgium and the Swiss government, a set of recommendations will be adopted in how to achieve greater effectiveness in prosecuting trafficking crimes that in turn will lead to specific agreements on prosecutorial cooperation between countries.

"The outcome of the conference will be significant if we are to make any serious headway in tackling this issue in this region," added Boucault.

Between 2003 and September 2005, there were only 94 successful prosecutions of traffickers in Bosnia Herzegovina out of nearly 240 cases.

For any further information, please contact:

Amela Efendic
IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: +387 33 648 168