Local Initiatives in Trafficking Prevention in Bosnia and Croatia: "Sister Community" Networks

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Local Initiatives in Trafficking Prevention in Bosnia and Croatia: "Sister Community" Networks

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Position in the Human Trafficking Mosaic of Solutions

Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations


Creating Value-Driven Communities


Trafficking in persons (TiP) is a regional, cross-border human rights violation. We are using a regional, cross-border approach to fight it in Bosnia and Croatia. Our community partnership model connects "sister communities" on the border between these countries. We also award small grants to local partners for a broad range of prevention and awareness-raising activities including radio broadcasts, student poster contests and school lectures. In contrast to many anti-TiP efforts, we attack the roots of TiP in communities by advocating for social change, increasing public awareness for prevention and initiating community responses rather than short-term social services. Our cross-border, community-based approach is innovative and unique.


STAR actively partners with federal government in both Bosnia and Croatia. STAR helped formulate the anti-trafficking National Action Plans in both countries. We now collaborate with senior government officials and ministries in order to monitor and advise on the implementation of these plans. We will sign an official Memorandum of Cooperation with the Bosnian Government this year. International NGOs working on TiP in the region have also sought our expertise including IOM, Catholic Relief Services and OSCE. Our connection to national-level actors in both the public and private sectors and our influence on their approach, helps us multiply our impact on a regional scale.

Tipping Point:

TiP victims from the all over Bosnia, Croatia and other Balkan countries are funneled through the border communities where STAR works. Stopping TiP at the border would improve the situation in both entire countries. Our focus on prevention and root-causes has already "tipped" communities against trafficking in Kljuc, Modrica and Bihac. As we implement our model in new communities, more and more of the population on the border will "tip" against trafficking, becoming vigilant, informed allies in the fight to stop it. Smaller efforts on the border pay big dividends throughout the countries and the region. The gap in capacity that prevents further progress is our number of partner communities as a result of funding and staffing limitations.


The heart of STAR's work is our local partners. STAR gives small grants and technical assistance to partners such as journalists, education professionals and local NGOs. As the projects continue (we have funding through Sep. 2006), we will add more subgrantee partners who will replicate our efforts in new communities. World Learning, the "parent" organization of STAR, has a large footprint in the region and the world. We focus on civil society and education development, training and exchange and cultural understanding in over 100 countries. The lessons learned from STAR will allow World Learning to replicate STAR's successful anti-trafficking approach around the world.


Prevention is inherently sustainable. A school seminar on the dangers of trafficking can endure throughout a child's life, making her/him less likely to be a victim and more likely to help her/his community resist trafficking. Our focus is on prevention precisely because it offers the best chance for long-term sustainability. Since 1994, through the Balkan wars, STAR has worked on women's economic and social empowerment; we have broad, deep roots in the region and diverse funding sources. Our Bosnia activity is funded by Zonta Intl., which means that STAR already has the support of a worldwide network of committed women. We are well positioned to find not only long-term funding, but also long-term allies and partners as our work continues.

Organization Size:

Full time employees: 3 in Croatia, 3 in Bosnia Hundreds of volunteers and partners in both countries.