The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) organized a webinar on “Exploitation of Children through Child Marriage” on 20 November, World Children’s Day. The event brought together representatives of key local institutions in combatting trafficking in human beings and protecting victims. Members of the judiciary, representatives of executive and legislative bodies, civil rights organizations and human rights defenders from BiH and neighbouring countries also participated.
Participants discussed the effectiveness of domestic and international frameworks, which should ensure protection from human trafficking and early/forced marriages as well as protect victims before the relevant domestic and international bodies. Child marriage often meets the definition of trafficking in human beings and represents a violation of human rights and the destruction of human dignity.
“It is not surprising that many girls of underprivileged backgrounds have become prey of organized criminal groups, which exploit child brides into forced criminality, forced begging or prostitution,” said Jasna Dobricik, Head of the Human Dimension Department of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “The crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to an increase in early marriages, as families from vulnerable communities might see the possibility of marrying off their daughters as an available means of survival in the absence of an adequate support from society.”
The event is part of the wider efforts of the OSCE Mission to BiH to combat human trafficking and promote human rights.