Ethical reporting on human trafficking is essential

The second training for journalists and media representatives on ethical and fact based reporting on trafficking in human beings was held on April 11, 2022 in Belgrade. Until now, a total of 43 journalists from all over Serbia have successfully completed this training. All participants had the opportunity to expand their knowledge about the phenomenon of human trafficking, gender sensitivity of this problem, hear about the main trends and statistics in this area, rights of victims, but also about proactive role of media and journalist in preventing human trafficking.

Emphasising the importance of protecting the identity of victims of human trafficking and their personal data, the speaker at the traning, Deputy Protector of Citizens for Children's Rights and Gender Equality Jelena Stojanovic pointed out the importance of objective, ethical and evidence-based reporting on human trafficking.

"The media are a key actor in communicating with the public and the competent authorities, which are obliged to identify the perpetrators and protect the victims of human trafficking. In addition to informing the public, the media also have the function of educating the public, since complete information is a precondition for determining the circumstances under which the risk of human trafficking can be recognised, " said Stojanovic.

She reminded that the recent law had established the National Rapporteur on trafficking in human beings within the Office of the Protector of Citizens and referred to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and its Article 11 requiring from the member States to ensure the protection of the private life, identity and personal data of victims of trafficking.

Jelena Hrnjak, a long-time activist of the NGO Atina and a journalist, spoke about communication with victims and survivors and gave examples from practice. Madis Vainomaa, expert associate of the the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Viena, shared the international practice of reporting on human trafficking and smuggling of people, the necessity of using adequate terminology.

The training was organised by the action "Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings in Serbia", implemented within the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022".

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