FACT SHEET: Strengthening Counter-Trafficking Efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina

USAID is working to build capacity within the National Referral System to better identify and assist victims of human trafficking.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a country of origin, transit, and destination for victims of human trafficking.  In most cases, the victims are identified as BiH citizens, many of them children.  Individuals are trafficked from throughout the country for forced labor or sexual exploitation, and an increasing number of children are being trafficked for forced begging or child marriage.  Regional monitoring teams are legally responsible for connecting victims of trafficking with critical assistance programs via BiH’s National Referral System.  However, the teams are underutilizing the system, meaning many victims are not getting the help and services available to them.     


This USAID project, Strengthening Counter-Trafficking Efforts in BiH, is designed to provide relevant institutions with the tools, training, and legislative resources to fight the devastating effects of trafficking in persons (TIP).  The project’s two main objectives are to strenghten the capacities of the actors who work within the existing National Referral System to help BiH fully implement the current legal and regulatory framework for protecting victims and establish a case management monitoring system to proactively screen for and identify potential victims.

USAID’s implementing partner for this 18-month, $333,920 project, launched in June 2019, is the International Organization for Migration.



In the short term, USAID will provide training for members of the established monitoring teams on how to fully comply with their legal obligations and how to implement the tools that are in place to better assist victims of TIP.  They will learn to recognize the new trends in methods that traffickers use for recruiting victims and to identify the many different forms of exploitation and abuse.  In this way, the project will both strengthen and expand the system for identifying victims and referring them to the people who can help. 


The project will also bring special focus to the Roma communities in BiH, where both adults and children are vulnerable to trafficking, particularly for forced begging, labor, and marriage.  In many instances, law enforcement and social workers continue to justify trafficking within Roma communities as 'traditional cultural practice', and in some cases they even return child victims to their perpetrator relatives without intervention.  Through this program, USAID will directly target this gap by educating those involved in identifying and protecting victims of trafficking and sensitizing them to incidents within the Roma communities to help counter forced child begging and exploitation. 

Last updated: October 15, 2019

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