The Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (OSCE SR/CTHB) and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSCE Mission to BiH) organized a roundtable on the nexus between trafficking in human beings and terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The roundtable gathered representatives of state agencies, criminal justice practitioners, and civil society organizations who work on anti-trafficking and counter-terrorism. The roundtable presented findings of research conducted by the OSCE SR/CTHB and other international and national organizations on the nexus between trafficking and terrorism. It further created a platform for discussion between anti-trafficking and counter-terrorism specialists on this sensitive topic. The discussions further considered security, vulnerability, gender, justice, and human rights, including whether those associated with terrorist groups should be characterised as victims or perpetrators.
“Today, we make an important step in integrating crucial trafficking considerations into counter-terrorism work,” said OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey in opening the roundtable. “We need to ensure victims of trafficking are treated as such, and trafficking crimes committed by terrorist groups are adequately addressed”.
Rebecca Agule, Acting Head of the Rule of Law Section in the OSCE Mission to BiH stressed that the Mission has worked with local partners and institutions to improve domestic responses to serious threats to security, including human trafficking and terrorism since 2003. “This includes ensuring greater protection and support to victims of these serious crimes and that the appropriate institutional and legislative tools are in place,” said Agule.
Ms Hajrija Hadžiomerović-Muftić, anti-trafficking expert and former prosecutor, highlighted that, “The roundtable indeed reaffirmed a need on strengthening the efforts to hold terrorist groups and their members fully accountable for their criminal behavior, while also ensuring an identification and protection of those who were exploited by these groups .”
The roundtable was implemented as part of the OSCE Mission to BiH’s wider efforts to support the fight against trafficking in human beings and terrorism in BiH by strengthening the capacity of the relevant institutions to detect, investigate, and prosecute these crimes.