(c) Amela Efendic
TIP Award Year:
Amela Efendic worked for many years for the International Organization for Migration. Even as early as the beginning of this millennium, the IOM had helped hundreds of victims find shelter, and repatriated many of them to their home countries. The rebuilding process in Bosnia and Herzegovina had brought in many foreign organizations, aid workers, and had opened the borders. Women began to be brought across borders and trafficked as prostitutes. Ms. Efendic worked with these women when she worked for IOM, providing medical care, repatriation, and shelter when possible. The IOM had begun to provide shelters by 2001, and were, at one point, paying for hotels for the women who had been brought out of enslavement. During her time at the IOM, she also participated in coordinating a conference of prosecutors, law enforcement, and other government officials from all over the Balkans, which was meant to increase the efficacy of prosecutorial effort in the region. She also was involved in six campaigns between 2000 and 2006 which attempted to spread awareness around Bosnia and Herzegovina about human trafficking.
Ms. Efendic moved from the IOM to the International Forum for Solidarity-Emmaus (IFS). There, she is the head of their office. She supervises various awareness-spreading campaigns and initiatives, and oversees a large shelter for victims of human trafficking. She maintains close ties to the government, and is viewed as a valued advisor. Her advice has been used to help create and refine policies about preventing and combatting this problem, while still dealing with victims in a manner that is empathetic and caring. She works closely with law enforcement officials, and was asked to sit on Bosnia’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Strike Force in 2011. This request was unprecedented, since the Strike Force had never allowed NGO members to participate in such an active way. It was at this time, as well, that she was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking.
In June 2014, Ms. Afendic was elected to become president of the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), a network of 51 hotlines in 45 countries around the world with the goal of eliminating child sexual abuse from the web. She manages the hotline in Bosnia, founded the BiH Safer Internet Day Committee, and first became a board member of INHOPE in 2013. She continues to battle human trafficking, child exploitation, and related abuses in her role at Emmaus. In the 2014 TIP Report, Bosnia was listed as a Tier 2 country. While their laws are in compliance, the government has not done a better job at implementing the laws that are there, such as victim assistance provisions or prosecutions.