Napredna pretraga

Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 518423

Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation (An assessment study: The extent of the problem and the need for counter trafficking measures in Croatia)

Štulhofer, Aleksandar; Raboteg-Šarić, Zora; Marinović, Lovorka
Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation (An assessment study: The extent of the problem and the need for counter trafficking measures in Croatia), Zagreb: Center for Transition and Civil Society Research ; International Organization for Migration, 2002 (monografija)

Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation (An assessment study: The extent of the problem and the need for counter trafficking measures in Croatia)

Štulhofer, Aleksandar ; Raboteg-Šarić, Zora ; Marinović, Lovorka

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija knjige
Autorske knjige, monografija, strucna

Center for Transition and Civil Society Research ; International Organization for Migration





Ključne riječi
Trafficking in women and children; sex trafficking; illegal migration

Trafficking in human beings is widely recognized to be a major international problem. One of the most frequent forms of this crime is the trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which represents an alarming problem that has increased in the last ten years within Europe. Sex industry recruiters target the most economically depressed areas, mostly in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Trafficked women are either coerced or blackmailed into prostitution and are financially exploited. To date, there has been no systematic research done on the patterns, scale and dimensions of trafficking in Croatia. This paper is a first attempt at trying to gauge the phenomenon. According to official estimates, Croatia is mainly a transit country with only a small percentage of trafficked women and children when compared to other types of criminal activity. However, official statistics on trafficking are at best only fragmentary and can not give a comprehensive picture of the problem. Data on illegal crossings of the state border have shown a constant increase in illegal migrations across the territory of Croatia over the last five years, but because of the lack of a screening procedure to differentiate smuggled from trafficked persons, available data only reflect the smuggled irregular migrant category. The summary of findings below strongly indicate that all facilitating factors for Trafficking in Women and Children (TiWC) are present in Croatia. Existing police reports and official statistics on trafficked women carry little or no information on a possible sexual dimension. This gap also extends to the public and official perception of the problem. Our study aimed to provide insights on the magnitude of the TiWC phenomenon, transit details, living and working conditions of trafficked women, traffickers and the mechanisms of their trade, the public perception of TiWC, official recognition of the problem and characteristics of policing. In this study, TiWC is understood as the transport (legal or illegal) of women and children across international borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation relates to situations in which women are involved in providing sexual favors by means of abduction, force, coercion, fraud and deception, violence or threat of violence and other forms of exploitation that violate their human rights. Methods used in this study included (1) content analysis of the media (newspapers and weekly magazines) covering TiWC, (2) a review of the current legal framework and interventions, (3) a public opinion survey tapping the dominant perception of the problem, as well as (4) in-depth interviews with those involved in TiWC. According to the data collected, TiWC in Croatia has changed significantly during the last decade. Two major phases can be distinguished. In the first, roughly covering the first half of the 90s, TiWC was concentrated in Zagreb and its vicinity. The main and possibly the sole trafficking route was from Hungary to Zagreb. Trafficked women were mainly employed in nightclubs and bars on the outskirts of the capital. This first phase of TiWC in Croatia was abruptly ended by a series of raids in 1996-1997. In the second phase, several routes from Bosnia and Herzegovina replaced the “Hungarian connection.” TiWC also became more geographically dispersed. The business spread to tourist towns and places frequented by military personnel. The most recent trend seems to be seasonal or temporary employment of women trafficked from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as a wider international sex tourism operation, which is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from regular sex work. During the course of our research it became obvious that there is not a single strategy or response that characterizes the policing of TiWC. Interviews with police officers revealed their general approach of the problem of which we found two dominant positions. The first is to ignore or minimize the problem, the second concerns officers who do recognize TiWC as a serious problem but point out three important obstacles to efficient policing: corruption, lack of training and resources, and the absence of a clear and decisive plan of action. Furthermore, many of our interviewees disclosed the involvement of high-ranking police officers in the organization of TiWC. A significant shortcoming of the study is the lack of first-hand information about trafficked women, most of whom, according to our interviews, entered the country illegally. What became clear during the course of our fieldwork is that most of women who were taken into custody as illegal immigrants and/or persons “involved in international prostitution” were never asked the right questions. It should not come as a surprise that in most cases the legal sanctions are directed solely against trafficked women. The public opinion survey on TiWC in Croatia has shown that Croatian citizens are generally well informed about possible cases of TiWC. Almost two thirds of the respondents have heard about cases of organized prostitution involving foreign women in the Republic of Croatia, and almost half of the respondents have heard of cases where Croatian citizens have participated in the prostitution network of foreign women. The respondents who are informed about organized prostitution of foreign citizens also stated that there were such cases in their own local community where foreign women and children were involved. Newspapers and magazines, TV, as well as friends and acquaintances were stated as the main sources of knowledge about TiWC. Although cases of TiWC have not been extensively covered in the media, they have attracted public attention. However, the victim’s perspective is understated or ignored in these media coverage. The analysis of newspaper articles published between 1995-2000 on the organized prostitution of foreign women showed more extensive media coverage of TiWC cases between 1995-1997 compared to the late 90s. During that period, the majority of the reported cases involved women from Ukraine. Other cases included women from Moldavia and other countries in the FSU. In addition, women from Hungary were reported recently, in 1999 and 2000. Most of the crimes related to organized prostitution of foreign women were committed in nightclubs in Zagreb and its surroundings. These also included cases where larger groups of women were arrested. The traffickers were almost always Croatian. Our research suggests that TiWC in Croatia is a more serious problem than fragmentary and unreliable official data indicate. The collected data point to a need for a different policy regarding TiWC and trafficking in general. This conclusion is based on two arguments. First, illegal immigration has been on the rise in the last five years. Acknowledging the fact that trends in illegal immigration do not answer questions about trends in TiWC, we argue that a rise in illegal immigration reflects conditions that are supportive to TiWC. Secondly, the phenomenology of TiWC in Croatia revealed during our research study confirms systematic unsatisfactory police performance. The need for a policy change is based on an efficient policing imperative and the imperative to provide aid (so far completely absent) to trafficked individuals. In other words, the efforts and resources should be directed toward three operative goals: (1) to increase the efficiency of combating smuggling in people ; (2) to increase the efficiency of combating trafficking and especially TiWC ; (3) to establish a program providing aid to the victims of TiWC. To accomplish these goals, the following mechanisms should be incorporated in a new National Plan of Action for combating TiWC and trafficking in general: (i) Special training and additional resources for the police force, including border officers ; (ii) Regional coordination/sharing of information and intelligence on organized crime, routes, victims, etc. (iii) Establishment of a counter-trafficking unit with regional offices ; (iv) Legal reforms and training programs for judges ; (v) Establishment of a safe-house/shelter (including legal and psychological counseling) for trafficked women and children ; (vi) Establishment of protection and assistance program allowing/encouraging trafficked victims to prosecute their traffickers ; (vii) Stronger mass media involvement (raising awareness, prevention through dissemination of reliable information) to ensure public perception of trafficked women and children as victims, and traffickers as criminals ; media sensitivity training may be necessary ; (viii) Establishment of a coordinated network of organizations and institutions (governmental offices, NGOs, international organizations, and foreign embassies) sharing information, providing expert assistance, and coordinating fund-raising and research activities ; (ix) Various NGOs (especially women’s groups) and academic research centers should be encouraged and funded to carry out systematic research into regular and exploitative sex work to highlight trends ; Local communities should be involved and encouraged to adopt a pro-active approach and monitor in close cooperation with counter-trafficking regional offices.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja
Sociologija, Psihologija


Projekt / tema

Institut društvenih znanosti Ivo Pilar, Zagreb