Hotline: +381 61 63 84 071
Join NGO Atina's action
The Association “Atina” is a women's feminist organization, founded in 2003 in Belgrade with the intent to upgrade the fight against human trafficking and all forms of gender-based violence, improve the protection and position of victims, strengthen gender equality and contribute to wider social cohesion. Atina is implementing programs of long-term social inclusion of victims of trafficking with specific efforts to provide support in a comprehensive and systematic way, with the active involvement of state institutions and the full participation of the beneficiaries themselves, so that the system of support becomes a viable solution for full recovery and (re)integration. Addressing the root causes of becoming victim of human trafficking and victim of other types of exploitation – relations in the primary and secondary family, poverty, previous marginalization and discrimination, inability to exercise the basic rights, unemployment and no access to education, we can say that during the years it became clear that this method of assistance is the only guaranty for successful programmes and sustainable social inclusion of victims of human trafficking. In this regard, Atina has designed and maintains the following activities:
1. Conducting the Transition House for Victims of Human Trafficking and exploitation; this safe accommodation is the only one of its kind in Serbia, and over the last 18 years, more than 500 of victims of human trafficking have been recovered there.
2. As victims of human trafficking also need other types of assistance, Atina therefore developed the Reintegration Center and the Field Support Team. Within the Reintegration Center numerous and varied services are provided for the victims as well as for their loved ones (children, partners, family members), such as mediation in exercising their rights (from assistance in obtaining personal documents, through cooperation with relevant institutions, to enrollment in schools and employment assistance); provision of psychosocial, legal, medical assistance; family mediation and counseling; engagement in all other areas relevant to the full recovery and integration of victims. Through its Field Support Team, Atina is available 24/7 throughout the whole of Serbia, as most victims do not live in the capital but in other local communities. In 2013, Atina initiated the establishment of Local Networks for the Prevention and Support of Victims of Human Trafficking in Subotica, Novi Sad, Sremska Mitrovica, Kraljevo, Kragujevac, Vranje and Niš, comprised of all relevant actors who come or can come into contact with victims of trafficking (prosecutors, police inspectors, social workers, the Red Cross, citizens' associations, local structures ...). These networks are also active today and they are the driving force behind the actions to prevent human trafficking at the local level. The importance of these local networks has been recognized by the Ministry of Interior which initiated the creation of 10 local networks with the tendency each self-government in Serbia to have its own network in the future that will be a key point of development of this topic and the bearer of changes at the local level.
3. As the biggest lack of support programs in Serbia was the inability to employ and the poor economic empowerment of victims of human trafficking, Atina has developed an authentic concept of Bagel Bejgl Shop - a social enterprise for the production and sale of bagel pastry. Bagel Bejgl is a pioneering step in the training of hard-to-employ social groups in Serbia, and its successful business indicates that it represents a good model that needs to be followed and further developed. This, as well as all other direct support activities, has been created and implemented in accordance with identified needs of beneficiaries and with their explicit consent. Through all 4 direct support programs (Temporary House, Reintegration Center, Field Support Team and Economic Empowerment Program for Victims of Human Trafficking), Atina currently supports over 150 primary and secondary victims of human trafficking, our fellow citizens who have survived this type of traumatic experience. In its ranks, Atina counts licensed professional workers, and we are also currently in the process of licensing the "housing with support" service for victims of trafficking.
4. Since 2015, Atina has also been engaged in combating the consequences of the refugee-migrant crisis by providing direct assistance in the field, ensuring safe accommodation for all those migrant and refugee women, girls and boys who have survived trafficking and gender-based violence. Considering the challenges related to the refugee crisis, Atina has opened three new temporary shelters as part of its Support Program to Migrant and Refugee Women and Girls, has been present through the work of its mobile teams in the camps in Belgrade, Bogovadja, Preševo and Bujanovac, and has established cooperation with various local actors throughout Serbia and the region, in order to improve the position of refugees and migrants. Long before the refugee-migrant crisis erupted, together with other organizations, Atina introduced the concept of "children on the move" into the public discourse, thus created a program of cultural mediation, which today exists in the form of numerous helpers in direct work with migrants and refugees in Serbia; Atina 's mission in the refugee-migrant crisis is to work with women and girls in this population so they can recognize and respond to violence, equally participate in decision-making, but also to have unhindered access to education and employment. Also, Atina gives the assistance to the system to prevent violence, but also to recognize and support all those with similar experience, and victims of trafficking in particular.
5. In addition to providing direct assistance to victims, Atina, as a separate program unit, also organizes trainings and education for professionals from various fields in order to strengthen the capacities of institutions and organizations to provide adequate support to identified victims of trafficking. As part of the capacity building process of institutions and policy making in this area, Atina also participates in research and analysis programs on the phenomenon of human trafficking and similar phenomena, as well as in the formulation of advocacy mechanisms and good practice policies in the field of social inclusion.
Through its many years of work, Atina has established itself as one of the leading civil society organizations in the fight against human trafficking and various forms of violence, and the protection of victims, both in Serbia and in the region. Atina's greatest strength are its friendships and partnerships with various civil society organizations, as well as state institutions at the local, national, regional and international levels, but also in the private sector. All of them, including active citizens in Serbia, represent our allies in the fight against human trafficking. Since its foundation, Atina has grown and developed, and has provided professional training and employment for dozens of young people of different professional orientations. For our past work, our organization has been awarded and publicly praised on several occasions (Atina is the winner of the two international prizes Catalyst award awarded by the Global Fund for Children from the United States and With and for Girls Award granted by the UK STARS Foundation); about our work also speak numerous publications that we have published either individually, or in cooperation with different partners.
Although it is still believed that human trafficking, as a phenomenon, is something "that can happen to everyone", the experience of us who are in daily contact with victims, is that social exclusion is the key factor for entering in the human trafficking situation. Although in practice it does not "happen to everyone", IT CONCERN US ALL! Join our action.