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Special Report
Last Updated: 11/16/2004
Trafficking of Women
Olivera Simic

The international crime of trafficking in women for forced prostitution in BiH has been recognized as such since 1995. However, the first night-clubs with women “dancers” from Eastern Europe have been opened in the early 1990s. At that time, it was not clear whether women were trafficked or had arrived on their own to voluntarily work in prostitution. The trade in so called “sex slaves” was relatively unknown in the region until the mid-1990s. The sex industry was fuelled by the arrival of tens of thousands predominantly male U.N. personnel, after the Peace Agreement was signed in 1995.

BiH has become one of the main destination countries for women mainly from Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. According to information provided by non-govermental organizations (hereinafter NGOs) which specificaly deal with the problem of trafficking in BiH, there are more than 900 brothels spread throughout the country.

Olivera Simic discusses the problems of bringing this to an end.


  Accountability of UN civilian police involved in Trafficking of Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

The punishment does not meet the crime and, in return, it does not give deterrent to other people who may be tempted to get involved in trafficking.

(Anonymous, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), A Conference Report: Trafficking, Slavery and Peacekeeping, (Turin, 2002) at. 17)


ARTICLE AVAILABLE IN PDF Click Here

1.1. Introduction

The main focus of this article is the accountability and immunity of United Nations Civilian Police monitors (hereinafter CivPol) involved in trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The emphasis is on Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter BiH), but the issues and problems it raises have been seen in other peacekeeping missions as well. One of the key issues will lie on criminal responsibility of CivPol and the level of their accountability for alleged crimes. This issue is looked at in relation to the failure and lack of political will for prosecutions of those responsible for these crimes. While on missions, CivPol enjoy immunity from criminal prosecutions. Without a waiver of immunity from the U.N. Secretary-General (hereinafter SG), they cannot face charges in front of domestic courts for crimes they have been committed. The act of waiving immunity has not happened in BiH although some CivPol officers have been removed and repatriated for exceeding their authority under the United Nations Mission in BiH (hereinafter UNMIBH) mandate. [i] The United Nations (hereinafter U.N.) has failed to address allegations of involvement in trafficking activities committed by CivPol and, in some cases, to investigate those allegations thoroughly.

The present study explores the consequences of exercizing  absolute immunity in BiH and failing to waive immunity in cases where there existed all legal basis for doing so. Finally, I would like to stress the fact that due to lack of law enforcement and political will of sending states to prosecute their own nationals for crimes commited while on peackeeping missions, immunity very often led to complete impunity.

 

Read the article in full in PDF



[i] M. S., Six IPTF monitors de-authorized: Exceeded their mandate over nightbar raids, Glas Srpski, Banja Luka, 30 November, 2000, at. 5.

Olivera Simic holds an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, United Kingdom. Ms. Simic has been working as an Assistant Project Officer Child Protection at the UNICEF office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a lawyer, her previous and current work is related to the elimination of gender-based violence and trafficking in humans. In 2001, Ms. Simic was a Legal Fellow with the Network East-West Women and a Legal Intern with Human Rights Watch in Washington D.C. Currently she is at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.


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