Trafficking in the eyes of the youth in Croatia : understanding the problem and prevention possibilities

Raboteg-Šarić, Zora and Bouillet, Dejana and Marinović, Lovorka (2007) Trafficking in the eyes of the youth in Croatia : understanding the problem and prevention possibilities. International Organization for Migration, Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-99721-8-7

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Trafficking in human beings includes recruitment, transport, organisation of border-crossing, hiding or receiving persons, by use of threats, force, other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, lies, by abuse of authority or vulnerable position or by giving and receiving money or services in order to obtain consent of the person who has control over another person. Trafficking in human beings exists on all continents and in a great number of states. The lack of knowledge and data about human trafficking among the children and young people as well as among the wider public leads to the prevailing opinion that such things happen somewhere else, outside our country, which is, in fact of benefit to persons involved in the human trafficking chain and their criminal activities. Even though Croatia was until recently just a transit country in the human trafficking chain, today it has been documented that it is also a destination country, as well as a country where the human trafficking victims are being recruited. Children and young people belong to a group which is especially exposed to the risk of victimisation in the human trafficking chain. High school students are a vulnerable group because they will soon face the decision whether to enter the labour market or continue their education, and in the process many will start living independently outside their permanent place of residence. Therefore, the publication entitled “ Human Trafficking in the Eyes of the Youth in Croatia – Understanding the Problem and Prevention Possibilities” is dedicated to the trafficking in children and young people as a special segment of trafficking in human beings. It includes the presentation of the problem from the professional and scientific point of view. The introductory part presents definitions and main features of the human trafficking problem with special emphasis on more important international documents related to the subject. It also includes an overview and explanation of forms, methods and causes of human trafficking as well as possible risks. It further deals with the perception of the problem of trafficking in human beings in Croatia. A larger part of the publication includes an overview and explanation of forms, methods and causes of trafficking in children as well as an analysis of results of a research conducted by the International Organization for Migration in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in 2004. The goals of the mentioned research were to learn what level of information Croatian high school students have about the problem of trafficking in human beings, to get information about their experience and views on human trafficking and to assess their awareness of the risk to become human trafficking victims themselves. The research was conducted with the purpose of contributing to preparations for systematic youth education about possible risks and manners of protection from trafficking in human beings as anticipated by the National Plan for the Supression of Trafficking in Persons in the Republic of Croatia. The study consisted of a survey on the subject and the organisation of focus groups. The survey was based on a questionnaire put together in a special way, with 35 questions, many of which included additional questions, the Likert-type rating scales or a series of proposed answers. Questions were related to the respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics, high school students’ plans for their professional future, value systems, their attitudes about the roles of men and women in the society, their reactions in hypothetic violent situations in relationships, their general level of information on trafficking in human beings, their sources of information on human trafficking and their attitudes towards human trafficking and the victims of trafficking. The qualitative part of the study was conducted by organising 14 focus groups which included students from 10 high schools, two students’ homes and one youth club. The participants in focus groups answered the following questions: How would you define human trafficking? Give an example or describe an occasion when you heard about human trafficking! What are, in your opinion, basic ways in which someone becomes a trafficking victim? What rights are human trafficking victims deprived of most? Do you think that you personally could become a victim of trafficking in human beings and why? What ways and means do you propose for the fight against human trafficking? Altogether 950 high school students of both genders from 25 municipalities/towns in Croatia took part in the survey. The average age of participants in the survey was 16, 6 years. The total of 275 high school students participated in focus groups. Most focus groups participants were 17 years old. The sample had approximately the same number of high school students of each gender. The survey was conducted on a representative sample and qualitative part of the study on an occasional sample. The survey produced numerous interesting results, and the results obtained in focus groups have been largely confirmed by the survey. The results show that a majority of the young have heard of the problem of trafficking in human beings with the purpose of their exploitation. Students attending high schools in Zagreb and surroundings and Dalmatia have above-average knowledge about the problem of trafficking in people. In the regions of Slavonia and Istria, North Coast and Gorski kotar, students’ knowledge about the problem is close to the average, and in the Northern Croatia, the Lika, Kordun and Banovina regions, their knowledge is bellow-average. The young from bigger towns are somewhat better informed about the problem of trafficking in human beings than the young from smaller towns. Students of three-year vocational schools are considerably less informed about the problem than students attending four-year college-preparatory schools (gymnasiums) and four-year vocational schools. A little bit more than half of the respondents believe that trafficking in human beings in Croatia is not very prominent. Girls and older students see the problem as being more serious than boys and younger students do. Asked whether there have been any cases of human trafficking in the community where they live, 6, 7 percent of participants in the survey answered affirmatively ; the young from bigger towns have more often heard of such cases. Most students were informed about the problem of trafficking in human beings through television programmes and newspaper articles. A considerably smaller number of young people have learned about it thorough posters, brochures and various promotion materials. Approximately every fifth participant in the survey learned about human trafficking trough Internet, from friends, acquaintances, parents or at school. The level of information on human trafficking possessed by students attending gymnasiums and four-year vocational schools is above-average, whereas it is bellow-average among students of three-year vocational school. The respondents whose information about human trafficking comes from several sources (the media, school, parents or other family members) have a more complete understanding of the problem. The largest number of high school students that have been surveyed holds the traffickers and their desire for profit, as well as the lack of knowledge and information about real risks of human trafficking responsible for this phenomenon. High school students see causes for trafficking in human beings in inadequate legislation and poor moral values. Girls and students attending gymnasiums agree more often than boys and students attending vocational schools with the claim that ignorance and the lack of information about real risks should be blamed for the trafficking in women with the purpose of sexual exploitation. A special risk of youth victimisation results from their wish to become independent and find employment. Our survey has shown that as many as two thirds of high school students agree with the opinion that a lot of money can be easily earned in other states, and just as many of them would feel quite safe if they would be offered a job abroad by someone they know well. At the same time, more than a fourth of students demonstrated unrealistic expectations related to the possibility of legitimate employment abroad, and expressed their belief that they would easily get work permit once they have already arrived in other country. Young people have most faith in information about certain job offers coming from their close relatives and information received through legitimate employment agencies. It is, however, significant that as many as 15, 7 percent of students would accept any job under the condition that it is well paid, and 16 percent of students would accept a job even when they are not well informed about employment conditions and the employer. At the same time, approximately two fifths of the participants would like to move to some other state for a longer period of time. Students who give more importance to entertainment, money and career success have a stronger wish to migrate. Generally, the results show that males, students attending vocational schools and students of lower grades are more inclined to underestimate the risk of becoming victims of trafficking in human beings. They also more often have views and convictions due to which they may be inclined to high-risk behaviour and they have smaller capacity to face negative influences and manipulation attempts of human traffickers. The fact that the knowledge about the risks of trafficking in people is very uneven can be also seen from the data showing that not a single respondent was aware of all aspects of human trafficking ; they had knowledge just of some of its aspects. As possible ways of victimisation, the respondents (mainly participants in focus groups) recognised abduction, poverty, the search for employment, allurement (with false job offers predominating), risky behaviour of potential victims, the trade in children, but also wider social conditions in the states from which victims originate (like poverty, unemployment, lack of respect for human rights etc.). The possibility of victimisation through offered marriage proposals and intimate relationship has been recognised by a disturbingly small number of respondents. The results have also shown that many respondents place the problem of trafficking in human beings in the “ third world” countries, whereas they see the possibility of victimisation in Croatia as negligible and unlikely. Majority of the young believe that they could never become victims of human trafficking (because the trafficking is not present in Croatia, because they are cautious, because they keep in good company etc.), yet there is a considerable number of those who think that the possibility exists. Among them, most think that they could become victims because they have not been sufficiently informed about possible difficulties and risks related to the search for employment abroad. Therefore, the fact that about approximately half of the young wish to learn more about human trafficking through some form of school education is not surprising. The requirement for information about concrete examples is especially marked, as well as information about the real extent of trafficking in human beings in our society. There is also a need for effective models of protection against trafficking in human beings. Another requirement is for providing potential victims with information of better quality about legal possibilities of employment abroad. A special group of answers comprises answers which propose that more attention be paid to trafficking in people by the media, including promotional videos, advertisements and thematic leaflets. The respondents have also recognised the need for introducing different security measures into the society (stricter punishments for perpetrators of this criminal act, stricter border control, greater police presence in the streets, higher-quality work of security services, fight against corruption etc.). It is interesting that almost half of the students propose that customers seeking prostitutes be punished as they see them as the cause of the problem. Some of the respondents spoke of the need for a wider social action, including greater respect for human rights, work towards the change of views such as the conviction that the money and wealth are the only paths towards satisfaction and happiness, encouragement of citizens’ activism, renovation of the youth gathering places (sports grounds) and schools. They also spoke of the need that basic causes of human trafficking be removed. In the final part of the publication the authors propose different models of education of young people on trafficking in human beings aimed at reducing the risks of their victimisation. The proposed models include, at the girst level, special informative lectures for school classes, according to pre-designed protocol, as well as wide distribution of educational material in high schools. At the second level, additional education of some of the professors is also proposed, together with a further development of preventive programs focused on the development of identity and competence of young people, including providing support for their development which implies cooperation between system of education and other youth-oriented support systems in local communities. The third level of education aimed at preventing the trafficking in human beings includes a wide education on human rights, the encouragement of young people to actively participate in the development of their own social context and, in particular, the development of such an educational and wider social framework in which human rights in general will be promoted and protected to the greatest extent possible.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Language: English. Publication is also published in Croatian. Title in Croatian: Trgovanje ljudima kako ga vide mladi u Hrvatskoj: razumijevanje problema i mogućnosti prevencije (URI:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human trafficking, youth, prevention, education
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Depositing User: Karolina
Date Deposited: 30 Dec 2015 12:04
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2018 12:59

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