Prevention of human trafficking and exploitation

When it comes to prevention of human trafficking, we must first of all pay attention to the causes that lead to the situation of trafficking. Poverty, unemployment or domestic violence as causes of human trafficking come from different social spheres, reflecting the nature of economic, political, family and other relationships in a community. 

Discovering causes is the first and essential step in creating functional and effective responses both to the very existence of the causes, and to the restoration of their consequences. In this regard, there are two main directions that prevention programs are facing: one refers to reducing or possibly removing the cause altogether, and the other refers to the rehabilitation of individual, group or general social consequences that have occurred as a result of human trafficking. Practice, however, shows that the majority of prevention programs is directed to the elimination of actual or anticipated consequences, both through work with the victims of human trafficking, and the broader population.


In order to make a prudential selection of preventive measures, one of the key elements in working with victims of human trafficking concerns the observation and taking into account the position of the victim, before, during and after the situation of trafficking. The general approach to understanding the problem of human trafficking often views a situation of human trafficking as the worst experience anyone could have survived, but practice shows that victims often experience and evaluate the causes that led to trafficking (poverty, domestic violence, etc.) as much worse than the experience of trafficking itself, during which the victim was in some way exploited. Finally, the lack of understanding of the position of victims is only partially responsible for the fact that some earlier strategies in the fight against human trafficking appeared completely dysfunctional. The lack of an adequate mechanism for monitoring performances of existing programs also contributes to that.

In the past few years, key prevention programs (organized and supported primarily by civil society organizations, media), directed toward the general population, were in educational and informational purposes only (seminars, round tables, different trainings...). Target groups of these programs are professionals in the field of the protection of potential victims, as well as victims of human trafficking, social workers, court staff, the police, educational workers, volunteers in non-governmental organizations and other interested community groups, but also representatives of vulnerable populations - residents of shelters, and beneficiaries of the assistance and support program.

However, in addition to the obvious result of these activities - increase in the number of victims identified by professionals, other benefits of such programs of preventive measures are almost non-existent. Therefore, it is important that the future work in this area includes formulating implementation standards, but also clear requirements regarding the effects to be achieved. Also, it is necessary to continuously monitor these issues and further research, given that the causes, types of exploitation, structure of the victims and the relationship of victims and general population toward human trafficking change with the changes of wider social circumstances, but also given the variable (lack of) success in identifying the causes and elimination of consequences. Activities must therefore be systematically carried out, with a clear order and relationship between them, as can be seen from the proposed model.