Human trafficking victims double this year

BELGRADE -- The number of registered victims of human trafficking has nearly doubled compared on last year, Sanja Kljajević has said.

In an interview for the Beta news agency, the Center for Protection of Human Trafficking Victims director explained that when it comes to victims, emphasis was on labor exploitation of men of age.

Kljajević said that 92 cases were reported in 2013, and that as many as 86 victims were registered in the first six months of this year. The structure of victims also changed from women and girls to men.

She said that the Center largely registered the cases of overseas human trafficking, involving foreign female victims, but that 88 out of 92 victims registered in 2013 were Serbian nationals.

Kljajević believes that it was the poor economic situation that contributed to the rise in the number of victims, as well as the opening of large construction sites abroad, primarily in Russia and Belarus.

Elena Krsmanović, a spokesperson for ASTRA, a non-governmental organization fighting against human trafficking, said that the average number of victims a year was around 100, but that this was the number of identified victims - a mere 10 to 25 percent of the realistic number.

Another NGO, Atina, says that 739 human trafficking victims were identified in Serbia from 2000 to 2013.

The organization warns that the official statistics do not correspond with the real dimensions of the problem, shedding no light on the position of the victims.