Strengthening victim-centred approaches in trafficking in persons cases through practical and theoretical knowledge 

31 October-2November 2022, Vrsac, Serbia: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) together with government, judiciary, civil society, academia and relevant expert practitioners seeks to identify the gaps and weaknesses in the response to trafficking in persons (TIP) with the aim to address them through targeted training and mentoring programs.

This week, UNODC in collaboration with the Judicial Academy of Serbia organized the second session of a mock trial exercise aimed to strengthen and enhance successful victim-centred investigations, prosecutions and convictions in TIP cases in Serbia.

The emphasis was put on the challenges in legal qualification and identification of victims of trafficking; inter-institutional cooperation and the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in criminal proceedings of TIP; and the victim's position in criminal proceedings of TIP including challenges in identifying, protecting and supporting the victims. These topics correspond to the final recommendations based on findings from the recent UNODC review and analysis of selected TIP cases, and the conclusions of an expert discussion held on April 1, 2022.

A total of 28 judges and prosecutors from Higher Courts and Higher Public Prosecutor’s Offices as well as law enforcement agencies and Protection Officers dealing with TIP benefitted from the innovative UNODC training methodology using a concrete illustrative case from the recently conducted review and analysis.

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.