“Preventing and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings in the Western Balkans” Project (PaCT)

Starting from the second half of 2019, German International Cooperation (GIZ) supports MARRI and MARRI Participants in addressing prevention of trafficking in human beings and protection of the (potential) victims of the crime, through joint implementation of a 3.5 years PaCT project.

The project is a response to the conclusion that the increased use of the services of human smugglers due to restrictive migration policy of EU countries since 2016, had increased the risk of exploitation and human trafficking of the migrants in the Western Balkans region. The low level of awareness of and resilience to the dangers of human trafficking both among refugees and among local populations in Western Balkan highlights the need to strengthen or establish mechanisms and structures for identifying human trafficking survivors. PaCT aims to build and expand capacity at local, Participant and regional levels to create prerequisites for an improved situation of victims of trafficking in human beings and guaranteed fulfillment of their rights.

The project will operate through four lines of action – Prevention, Protection, Partnerships and Support Services. As a strategic partner, MARRI will play important role throughout the project in all four lines of action by facilitating regional dialogue and exchange of best practices, lessons learned and new approaches.

The overall objectives of the project are to:

  • Introduce approaches to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups to the risks of trafficking in regional exchanges;
  • Improve capacity to identify victims and potential victims of trafficking in human beings;
  • Strengthen the conditions for improved coordination and cooperation in NRMs;
  • Improve availability of concepts for target group-specific psycho-social counseling services and mental health in protection structures.

One of the project’s products is the Practitioner’s Guide for Developing Strategies against Trafficking in Human Beings and Action Plans which contains all recommendations that GRETA, US TIP Report and other relevant anti-trafficking organizations have provided in the previous years. The Practitioner’s Guide is available in English and local languages of the MARRI Participants.

The regional research within PaCT project regarding the changing patterns in human trafficking resulted in Analysis Report: Trends of Human Trafficking in the MARRI Participants. The report is based on the data and information gathered from the MARRI authorities and other anti-trafficking stakeholders in the region.

Other products include: Inclusion of Survivors in the Policy Development Process and Operational Response to Trafficking in Human Beings – Practical Guidance, Improving the Communication and Coordination among the NRM Actors in MARRI Participants – Practical Guidance, and Improving the Participation of Civil Society Organisations in the Referral Mechanisms of MARRI Participants – Practical Guidance all available on MARRI local languages.

European Commission support to MARRI through IPA II funded “Regional Support of Protection Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” Project

In order to support the governments of Western Balkans and Turkey on migration management, in January 2016 the European Commission launched a three-year regional programme “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkan and Turkey” with IPA II funding.

As beneficiary of the programme in subject, MARRI RC in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM) as implementing partner of European Commission, is actively participating in following project activities aimed at strengthening MARRI’s role in the regional migration management:

  • Enhancing information exchange of non-personal data and data at the intra-regional and inter-regional levels (WB-MIDEX) and,
  • Establishing joint pool of interpreters in the Western Balkans region and designing and implementing pilot project in Serbia and North Macedonia as key MARRI Participants on the migrants’ route.

In the framework of above mentioned activities, IOM engaged an independent expert to assess MARRI national structures and capacities in relation to the role anticipated by IPA II regional support. IOM also supported development of GAP Analysis that provided valuable inputs for overall MARRI reform aimed at upgrading financial, human and technical resources in MARRI and its Participants and offered recommendations for building the institutional and technical capacities towards requirements for strategic and long-term management of the regional migration. The findings of the Gap Analysis were valuable contribution in the development of MARRI Strategy 2017-2020, also supported by IOM.

GIZ Technical assistance projects aimed at MARRI Reform

In May 2016, MARRI Regional Centre and German International Cooperation (GIZ) re-established the cooperation which resulted with support to the ongoing MARRI Reform. The two components of the support are:

  1. Placement of an integrated expert in MARRI RC for regional data collection and analysis as well as development of services for MARRI Participants, for period of two years;
  2. Providing assessment and advice for MARRI RC on administrative issues, human resources management and organizational development. The overall aim of the support is to provide MARRI Participants with data and recommendations for enabling an informed decision on the future organizational structure and personnel concept of MARRI RC.

Activities already implemented resulted with Scoping Mission Report, workshop aimed at capacity building of MARRI RC, revision of MARRI Financial and Internal work procedures and Mission Report on HR assessment.

Capacity-building under the GIZ/PaCT Project and GIZ PMD/MiGov Programme

The German Governmental Programme PMD/MiGov, through GIZ, supports MARRI RC to become a professional Knowledge Hub.  MARRI personnel received several trainings in Knowledge Management, Public Communications and two modules of Gender Responsive Migration. At individual level, “Stress Management”, “Diplomatic Protocol” and EU Funding/Project Management” trainings as well as “Fundraising Strategy”, Financial Management”, “Photography and Videography” and “Human Resources Management” and other coaching were provided.

The  support also included the secondment of Integrated Expert Christoph von Harsdorf as Principal Advisor on Strategic Development of MARRI and Chief Analyst till February 2022, and a donation of IT and Communication equipment worth exactly EUR 10.000. Plans for further capacitating of MARRI RC personnel and other options of support are under discussion for 2022 and 2023.

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