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Project News: Signing of Joint Ministerial Declaration on combatting trafficking in human beings in South-Eastern Europe during the last Brdo Ministerial Conference

16 March 2018

The ministers in Brdo after signing the joint declaration on Strengthening regional cooperation in SEE to combat trafficking in human beings

Nine ministers of Interior from South-Eastern Europe (SEE) met at the Brdo Process Ministerial Meeting, 16 March 2018, to adopt a joint-ministerial declaration on regional cooperation to combat trafficking in human beings. ICMPD, as the Secretariat of the Meetings of the Network of National Anti-trafficking Coordinators in SEE, supported participating states draft the declaration and continues to facilitate regional cooperation against trafficking.

The joint ministerial declaration marks the continuation of sustained focus by governments in the region to work in partnership to combat trafficking in human beings. As well as reaffirming commitment to protection of victims, prosecution of perpetrators and prevention of trafficking, the declaration commits adopting countries to establish formal compensation mechanisms for victims, acknowledge the importance of reducing demand for trafficked services, and to devote attention to the relevance of internet-based technologies to combat trafficking. The declaration also makes note of ICMPD’s role in providing expertise and supporting the Network of National Anti-trafficking Coordinators in SEE. The conference was also attended by National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators, senior officials from the European Commission and International Organisations working in SEE.

ICMPD has acted as Secretariat of the Network of National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators in SEE since 2011, when the 2010 Brdo Ministerial declaration mandated the organisation of regular meetings to exchange information and develop transnational cooperation in the region. In the following years, ICMPD has supported the meetings become an informal platform for exchanging good practice, coordinating strategic priorities and resources, and monitoring developments across the region. A special meeting of the anti-trafficking coordinators was convened in the margins of the Ministerial Conference, to identify practical steps to translate the commitments made in the declaration into practice.

At the European policy level, the adoption of the declaration confirms the alignment of the Brdo Process countries with the priorities of the EU to address trafficking, and strengthens the framework for future cooperation between the region and the EU.