Empowering Anti-Trafficking Stakeholders for a Victim-Centered Approach through Mock Trial Methodology in North Macedonia

6-9 June 2023, Struga, North Macedonia: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has successfully implemented a mock trial training focused on combating trafficking in persons (TIP) and enhancing victim-centered approaches in collaboration with the National Commission for Combating Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration and the Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors of North Macedonia. This collaborative approach ensures a comprehensive and coordinated response to combatting TIP, while strengthening investigative bodies and courts and advocating for the rights of victims within the criminal justice system.

The UNODC mock trial methodology is successfully implemented in various countries, providing multidisciplinary capacity-building activities that combine theoretical knowledge with practical application through role-playing. By drawing from actual cases and incorporating the outcomes of real situations, the mock trial enables participants to simulate a trial scenario, considering the roles of key authorities and stakeholders involved in the judicial process, such as public prosecutors, judges, defendants, victims, witnesses, and legal representatives.

Through the transfer of knowledge and practical application, 22 representatives from the law enforcement authorities, criminal justice practitioners, social services and civil society in North Macedonia gained valuable expertise in identifying, investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating TIP cases. This ongoing effort strengthens the national response to trafficking, supports victims, and promotes cross-border cooperation.

The activity was conducted under the project “UN.Locking Impunity of Traffickers and Supporting Justice for Victims of Trafficking in Persons in Southeastern Europe" (2021-2024), implemented by the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section (HTMSS) in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and with the financial support of the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly Target 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.