Providing Assistance To The Victims Of Trafficking In Human Beings*


Since 1999, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has had a key role in providing accommodation to victims of trafficking in human beings. It is related to the fact that it was the only  organisation being able to implement the repatriation at that time. Over that period, the majority of VoTs were of foreign origin.

Pursuant to the Article No. 37. line 2 of the Law on movement and stay of aliens and asylum ("Official Gazette of BiH", No. 29/03 and 4/04), Ministry of Security adopted the Rulebook on Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking.  The issues defined by the Rulebook are the following: rules and standards in the procedure of admission, rehabilitation and repatriation of aliens victims of human trafficking, other issues regarding the victims of human trafficking and the way of treatment by state and entity organs while acting in the field of prevention and prosecution of human trafficking within their jurisdiction.  These rules were aimed at ensuring efficient protection of victims of human trafficking pursuant to the laws and other legal documents as well as to the international standards on the human rights protection.

Lacking the state capacities for accommodation of victims, the Ministry of Security signed the Agreement on Cooperation with the NGOs "Lara Bijeljina", "Medica Zenica", "International Solidarity Forum Group EMMAUS International Tuzla", "La Strada Mostar" and "Zena BIH Mostar" in March 2005.  The Agreement regulates the rights and duties of both signatory parties related to enabling usage of closed shelters for victims of trafficking in human beings who are foreign citizens. Pursuant to the protocol, the NGOs transport victims to the shelter, provide them with accommodation, food and medical protection, while raising necessary funds from donors, as well as from other sources. Supervision of the work of NGOs is exclusively done by BIH Ministry of Security.  

It is important to emphasise that the state SOS telephone line has not been established yet. Such services have been exclusively provided by the NGOs. 

In July 2004, the  Ministry of Security and NGO “Vasa prava” signed the Agreement on provision of free legal aid to victims of trafficking. The rights of potential victims of human trafficking are exercised with the reservation and under the jurisdiction of BiH Ministry of Security that derives form the Law on movement and stay of aliens and asylum. Free legal aid involves, but is not limited to, providing of legal advice, writing of different submissions and documents, as well as, representation in all law-suits, administrative and other proceedings before the state organs, regular and other courts.

Thematic Group for Protection of Victims and Witnesses from Violence was, also, established focusing on the collection of the existing legal framework, implementation of relevant analysis, making comparison to the international standards and identification of practical aspects of the problem. In this framework the Instructive manual for protection of local victims of human trafficking was produced. The manual also focuses particularly on those who are witnesses in such cases taking into consideration the context of the overall situation in BiH. This is a very complex and demanding task. It is important to mention that foreign victims of human trafficking are also provided with the right to accommodation, legal aid, humanitarian leave to stay and repatriation.

The increasing number of the local VoTs drove to the development of the Rulebook on Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and its Witnesses, Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This Rulebook was adopted by the Council of Ministers of BIH at its session held on July 5th, 2007 and published in the Official Gazette on September 3rd, 2007 (66/07). 

The Rulebook was adopted as an obligatory standard for the protection of the human rights of victims and witnesses of human trafficking, BiH citizens, defining the principles and common standards for work related to the identification procedure,  organisation of protection and help, primary and secondary prevention and other activities related to the protection and providing assistance to victims of human trafficking and its witnesses from Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Other information related to the activities carried out by the institutions and organisations

At its session held on May 29th 2008, the BiH Council of Ministers adopted the National Action Plan for 2008 -2012 (NAP). The new plan defines clearly the obligations of the governmental institutions for the forthcoming five-year period (2008-2012) in order to prosecute traffickers more successfully. It also contains higher standards for protection of VoTs taking into account the latest norms for protection of human rights in the field of fight against this phenomenon.

A part of the NAP related to the protection of victims and witnesses includes the following:identification of victims, system of referring victims(according to defined procedures for both foreign and BiH citizens) and social support and protection. This support should ensure long term procedure of reintegration through education and vocational training, psycho-social counselling, psycho-social protection, finding a job, long term support related to accommodation and monitoring. Psycho-social protection provided in the shelters in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not carried out evenly and varies from one to another shelter. It is also necessary to continue with the efforts directed to the development of a framework for the protection of children – victims of trafficking in human beings. 

NAP particularly indicates the Repatriation and Trans-national Referral Mechanism as a separate phase in providing assistance to VoT -  foreign citizens, who are identified as victims of trafficking in human beings in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Adittionaly, other problems have been identified and relate to the system and procedure of integration of citizens of BiH, who are identified as victims of trafficking in human beings in other countries and are later repatriated to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In relation to these issues, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the procedures regarding the protection of children victims of trafficking and illegal migration.




Service provided  Non-governmental Organisation  State agency  Other  
Anti-trafficking helpline 
Line No. 1261    
Medical Aid 
Basic needs 
NGO "Zena BIH Mostar"
Ministry of Security  
  NGO "Lara Bijeljina"
  NGO "Medica Zenica"
  NGO "International Solidarity Forum Group EMMAUS International Tuzla"
  NGO "La Strada Mostar"
Legal aid/ 
Legal representation in court
NGO "Vasa Prava" Ministry of Security  
Travel arrangements      IOM
Security arrangements/protection   SIPA/ 
Local police
Psychosocial counselling/therapy   NGOs    
Financial support    Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees International foundations
Vocational Training/ 
Job search 
Monitoring of cases   
State anti-trafficking working group  
Child care institutions       
Language courses       



*Information provided by Association "Zena BIH" Mostar