The government of Serbia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government cooperates with NGOs on victim assistance, it does not provide any funding for services such as counselling, legal assistance and reintegration programmes. A lack of employment opportunities and high poverty rates coupled with discriminatory attitudes towards marginalised groups make the reintegration of trafficked victims difficult.
NGO Atina has successfully helped hundreds of girls overcome trauma and regain confidence, and continuously works with the media, authorities and other NGOs to improve legislation and services available for trafficked girls. The organisation provides trafficked victims with safe accommodation and basic support, including medical and psychological care and legal advice available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All girls referred to NGO Atina’s protection programmes are supported with non-formal education activities designed to improve their social skills and their financial awareness.
The organisation runs a social enterprise in the form of a bagel shop, which provides funding for the organisation. It also gives young women the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and build their confidence so they are able to get back into the labour market. To help advance the response to the needs of women and girls, NGO Atina runs programmes that develop the capacities of community NGOs and professional bodies so they can better recognise and protect women and girl victims of trafficking. NGO Atina’s comprehensive reintegration services for trafficked girls have become the standard model of service delivery for the Serbian authorities to adopt for this very vulnerable population.
Photo: Nemanja Pancic/Stars Foundation.