THE ROLE AND THE STATUS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, NORMATIVE FRAMEWORK AND THE STATE OD AFFAIRS IN SERBIA
Keywords:human trafficking, witness, victim, criminal proceedings, protection, Serbia
In recent decades special attention has been paid to the status of human trafficking victims, with a particular focus on their role and active participation in criminal proceedings. This has resulted in the adoption of international documents such as Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No.197) and in the development of internationally agreed standards whose application should contribute to the protection of these extremely vulnerable victims of crime. Although it is generally not disputed that, in most cases, human trafficking victims do deserve to be granted a special status of a particularly sensitive witness, in practice there are significant problems that call into question the quality and usefulness of the protection provided for these persons.
The paper consists of two key segments. The first segment is dedicated to the analysis of normative framework related to the protection of human trafficking victims in criminal proceedings, covering both the international context and the national context in Serbia. Second part of the paper includes an overview of the results of empirical research conducted in Serbia that point out to the practical problems in the field of victim protection, such as: inadequate techniques applied in the process of witness examination, inability to obtain compensation for the victims in criminal proceedings and victims de facto being disabled to take part in criminal proceedings ending in plea bargain. The authors have applied normative-dogmatic and comparative methods.
The aim of the paper is to provide some recommendations that could contribute to a full implementation of the existing normative framework.
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