Kosovo’s Ministry of Interior initiated a one-month nation-wide campaign against human trafficking, titled “Open Your Eyes.” The campaign intends to inform the general public with an emphasis on children, young adults, and women who are often targeted victims of sexual exploitation and forced begging.
According to Sasha Rasic, Deputy Minister of Kosovo’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the issue of human trafficking is the government’s number one concern. Mr Rasic explains, “the priority of MIA and the whole government is fighting for the prevention of this phenomenon. Kosovo has moved with determination towards Europe and during this road we must face all challenges and one of those undoubtedly is respect of human rights and preservation of human dignity for all.”
A 2012 assessment organized by the U.S. Department of State revealed that the government of Kosovo has not fully complied with the UN’s minimum standards for prosecuting trafficking cases. As a result, Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Bajram Rexhepi, has announced the approval of a new law that intends to meet the legal standards set by the European Union in punishing the guilty and in preventing human trafficking.
“Through this law we aim to implement legal provisions which give rights, obligations and responsibilities to local competent authorities, not only in prevention and fighting trafficking in human beings, but also with special focus protection of victims of trafficking” said Mr Rexhepi.
According to Mr Rexhapi, last year’s human trafficking rate rose 18% compared to previous years. In 2013, 150 people were arrested while 48 victims have been placed under protection.
In lieu of the campaign, students and young adults of Kosovo made a “human circle against trafficking with human beings.” The circle symbolizes that a community working together can prevent the exploitation of women and children.
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