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    In hotels they provide “services”, criminals launder big money

    There has been an expansion in BiH, and the economic situation, the lack of ideas of the people, and the trend to get money quickly have contributed to that, says Armin Krzalic

    The arrest in Bihac a few days ago, ordered by the Special Department for Organized Crime of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, reminded the public of the problem faced by mostly poor societies such as BiH – human trafficking.and prostitution.

    Convictions

    An investigation conducted in cooperation with Croatian institutions shed light on the illegal removal of a minor from the Cazin area under the guise of employment in a catering facility in Austria, with the intention of exploiting the victim’s plight for sexual exploitation.

    While the Croatian judiciary is conducting proceedings against one BiH citizen, another suspect was arrested in the Bihać Penitentiary, where he is serving his previously imposed sentence.

    According to the Anti-Trafficking Department of the BiH Ministry of Security, 61 potential victims of trafficking were identified in BiH last year for prostitution or sexual exploitation, but also for labor exploitation, begging, exploitation of a child, or minor for pornography, and more. In 2019, the courts in BiH handed down convictions for 34 persons, of which 24 were sentenced to imprisonment, in one case a suspended sentence was imposed, two persons were fined, and in one case a measure of compulsory psychiatric treatment was imposed.

    Prostitution is closely linked to human traffickings, like slavery in the 21st century, and a professor at the UNSA Faculty of Criminology, Criminology and Security Studies, prof. dr. Armin Krzalic believes that it is on the rise. No one can give precise data on this much-unexplored area in BiH.

    – It is noticeable that lately, more and more BiH citizens are engaged in this “business”, while before they were mostly foreign citizens, whether it was Ukraine or some other post-Soviet country. It’s no secret that in many hotels and similar places you have these “services”. Prostitution is one of the levers on which organized crime lies because he uses this tool to cover or launder his money. That was and will be, but we can freely say that there has been an expansion in BiH and I think that the economic situation, people’s lack of ideas and the trend to get money quickly have contributed to that – says Krzalic.

    Non-government organizations

    Samir Rizvo, the state coordinator for the fight against human trafficking, says that, when it comes to mechanisms for the protection of victims, the competent ministries have signed protocols on cooperation with non-governmental organizations that provide assistance to victims of human trafficking.

    – Non-governmental organizations are obliged to provide all forms of assistance to victims of trafficking, starting with health, social, legal, and other forms of assistance that are necessary for the victims of trafficking to be reintegrated into society – adds Samir Rizvo.

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