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GRETA carries out third evaluation visit to Serbia

A delegation of the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Serbia on 16-20 May 2022 as part of the third evaluation round of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The focus of this evaluation round of the Convention is on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. Prior to the visit, the Serbian authorities provided a reply to GRETA’s questionnaire for the third evaluation round. In addition to the new thematic focus, GRETA verified how the main recommendations made in its second evaluation report have been implemented.

During the visit, the GRETA delegation held consultations with the National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator, the Office for Co-ordination of Activities in the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Center for Protection of Victims of Trafficking, the Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, as well as prosecutors and judges. The delegation also met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs (including the Labor Inspectorate), the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, the Ministry of Social Dialogue, Health, Education, Science and Technological Development, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further, the GRETA delegation met representatives of the Office of the Protector of Citizens.

During the visit, GRETA’s delegation traveled to Novi Sad, Niš and Vranje where it met representatives of the local anti-trafficking teams.

The GRETA delegation held separate meetings with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and lawyers representing victims of trafficking. It also met representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as the European Union Delegation in Belgrade.

The visit provided an opportunity to visit the state shelter for victims of human trafficking, a safe house for victims of human trafficking and a safe house for women victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as an accommodation center for children without parental care and an asylum center for persons fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The visit was carried out by Ms Ia Dadunashvili and Ms Conny Rijken, members of GRETA, who were accompanied by Mr Mesut Bedirhanoglu and Ms Asja Žujo of the Secretariat of the Convention.

Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report, which will be sent to the Serbian authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report which will be published in the first half of 2023.

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