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Nearly two decades of fighting human trafficking in Serbia

Partner story

Photo: © ASTRA

“Trafficking and exploitationis not only about numbers,” says Marija Andelkovic, president of Astra, a Serbian-based organisation dedicated to stopping human trafficking and supporting its victims. “It’s about people’s lives. Even one victim of trafficking is too many. We are talking here about huge and severe violations of human rights.”

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of vulnerable people by means of force or deception [1]. It is a global problem: in a 2014 report, the International Labour Organization estimated human trafficking profits to be as much as USD 150 billion. Usually, victims of human trafficking are recruited by those known to them, such as family members, friends, co-workers or romantic partners. While having many faces, sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most common forms of trafficking. [2]

Serbia is a major country of origin, transit and destination of trafficking victims. Based in Belgrade, the capital of the country, ASTRA was established in 2000. It works to fight trafficking and to support victims of trafficking.  

Because raising public awareness of the problem helps create a safe environment for victims to seek help, ASTRA works to raise awareness of the problem through large-scale anti-trafficking media campaigns. But central to ASTRA’s work is its hands-on victim support, which starts with its SOS Hotline and Direct Victim Assistance Programme, the only hotline in the country that specialises in human trafficking issues. ASTRA also specialises in victim reintegration, including psychological and legal assistance, employment support and educational training.

Watch this video to find out about the great work of ASTRA
to combat trafficking in the Balkans.

With nearly two decades of experience fighting the issue of human trafficking, ASTRA helped set up and now supports the Anti-Trafficking Network, a coalition made up of eight other organisations that also work to eradicate human trafficking all over Serbia.

ASTRA has been an Oak partner for 10 years as part of the Issues Against Women Programme, which seeks to contribute to a world in which women are safe from violence and are free to exercise their full and equal human rights.  

For more information about the great work of ASTRA, click here, here for its Facebook profile or here for its YouTube channel.

[1] UnitedNations Office of Drug and Crime,
[2] International Labour Organization,–en/index.htm

Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report 2018