Trafficking of human beings and related crimes focus of OSCE-supported training course for judges and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina

A one-day training course for judges and prosecutors from across Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on addressing the trafficking in human beings and related crimes was held on 28 February 2020 in Banjaluka. The training was organized by the OSCE Mission to BiH in co-operation with entity judicial and prosecutorial training centres (JPTC).

The training course aimed at increasing participants’ knowledge of processing cases related to human trafficking and related crimes. Particular focus was on recent developments in case law, and best practices in the investigation and adjudication of such cases.

Combating human trafficking is one of the priorities of the OSCE as it affects all OSCE participating States, either as countries of origin, transit or destination. This modern form of slavery is an offence to human dignity, often involving psychological terror and physical violence. An effective investigation of human trafficking must be independent, conducted with due diligence and capable of leading to the identification and punishment of responsible individuals.

Boris Topic, Anti-trafficking Officer at the OSCE Mission to BiH, emphasized that all four legal codes in BiH have criminalized human trafficking. “However, to be effective these legislative solutions must be complemented by skilled policing, effective prosecution and the timely adjudication of trafficking cases. All forms of trafficking must be proactively investigated and victims of trafficking properly assisted. The Mission invests a lot of effort in capacity-building activities such as this one organized in Banjaluka in co-operation with the JPTCs in BiH.”

The OSCE Mission’s Manual on Investigating Trafficking in Human Beings, published in February 2020, was presented to the participants during the training. The latest publication of the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings – Following the Money: A Compendium of Resources and Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Investigations Related to Trafficking in Human Beings, was also discussed.

The training course was implemented as a part of the OSCE Mission’s wider efforts to support the fight against trafficking in human beings in the country by strengthening the capacity of the relevant institutions to detect, investigate and process this crime.