Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025 

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

The interethnic warfare in Bosnia and Herzegovina caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-08 when GDP growth exceeded 5% per year.

A sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious macroeconomic problems.

Key exporters in the metal, automobile and wood processing industries have reported a worsening performance and have announced layoffs and output reductions.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Bosnia-Herzegovinia

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims


Crime Catchers Hotline
Country Code: 387-



Child Sex Trafficking Study By CU-Boulder Sociologist Reveals Misperceptions

University of Colorado, Feb. 28, 2005 – Complete Report:

[accessed 28 August 2012]

The UNICEF study of Bosnia-Herzegovina found a system that included combinations of voluntary prostitution, various forms of indentured servitude, and outright slave captivity. "Very often it's not organized criminals but close relatives or family friends who encourage girls in poverty-stricken families to seek work abroad as an 'au pair or waitress.' These acquaintances know full well that the girl will be put to work as a prostitute and that they will directly profit from the referral. - htsccp


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Report on the scale, scope and context of the sexual exploitation of children [PDF]

Sunethra Sathyanarayanan, ECPAT International, November 2018

[accessed 26 August 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The overview gathers existing publicly available information on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, child early and forced marriage (CEFM) and identifies gaps, research needs, and recommendations.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 23 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The Federation, the RS, and the Brcko District have laws criminalizing sex trafficking, forced labor, and organized human trafficking. The state-level penalty for sexual exploitation of children is imprisonment for up to 20 years under certain aggravating circumstances. At the entity level, penalties range from three to 15 years’ imprisonment. Under entity criminal codes, the abuse of a child or juvenile for pornography is a crime that carries a sentence of one to five years in prison. Authorities generally enforced these laws. The law prohibits sexual acts with a person younger than 18.

Girls were subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, and there were reports that Romani girls as young as 12 endured early and forced marriage and domestic servitude. Children were used in the production of pornography.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 22 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 222]

In 2018, BiH experienced an increase in migrants from Africa and the Middle East. (17) More than 23,700 refugees and migrants, including children, from Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Algeria, Bangladesh, and India were registered in the country. (17,36) From this total, 972 children participated in informal learning activities, 330 unaccompanied minors benefited from child protection support, and 17 children were enrolled in primary school. However, more than 800 refugee and migrant children from this group remain vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. (3,36)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, BiH

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 23 January 2011]

[69] While the Committee welcomes some positive developments in the prosecution of those responsible for serious crimes against women and girls in the context of trafficking and forced prostitution, as well as the adoption by the Council of Ministers of a National Plan of Action to combat trafficking in 2001, it is concerned that a growing number of children under 18, especially adolescents girls, are still being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Research on Child Trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina [PDF]

UNICEF BiH and Save the Children Norway

[accessed 7 April 2011]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The findings of the research confirm that a considerable number of children have been trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation in BiH over the past three years. Based on the responses given by the police, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and IOM (International Organization for Migration), between 110 and 160 children have been identified as trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation in BiH between 1999 and early 2003. The majority of the victims are over the age of 14; a few are as young as 10.

Trafficking of women & girls to post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina for forced prostitution

Human Rights Watch Report, Volume 14 No. 9 (D), November 2002

[accessed 7 April 2011]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The interviews and transcripts revealed with few exceptions that traffickers, most of them local Bosnians, needed harbor little fear of criminal prosecution or punishment for their crimes: trafficking laws went largely un-enforced, providing no protection for the victims of these serious human rights abuses. Corruption within the Bosnian police force allowed the trafficking of women and girls to flourish. Local police officers facilitated trafficking both directly and indirectly-as part owners of nightclubs and bars holding trafficked women, as guards and employees in those establishments, as clients of the brothels, and as informants to brothel owners. Trafficked women and girls reported that brothel owners forced them to provide free sexual services to police, particularly to officers employed in the foreigners' department, the unit responsible for issuing work and residency permits.

Amnesty International Report 2004 - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Amnesty International, 26 May 2004,,AMNESTY,ANNUALREPORT,BIH,,40b5a1ee14,0.html

[accessed 7 April 2011]

[accessed 30 October 2016]

TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN AND GIRLS - Some positive developments were noted in the prosecution of those responsible for serious human rights abuses against women and girls in the context of trafficking and forced prostitution. In March the owner of a local nightclub was found guilty of enslavement and sentenced. The case marked the first conviction in the Federation for enslavement; those tried in trafficking cases had previously always been charged with the lesser offence of procurement. In May, five Bosnian Serb men were handed over to the custody of the State Court, which started an investigation into their alleged involvement in the trafficking of women and girls who had been forced to engage in prostitution in a chain of nightclubs in Prijedor.

33 Victims of Human Trafficking Aided by UN Mission

BRAMA, November 16, 2000

[accessed 7 April 2011]

According to the Mission, the UN International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina monitored a raid on three nightclubs conducted by the Prijedor police on 13 November. A preliminary investigation found that 33 women and girls from Romania, The Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Russia -- some as young as 14 years old -- had been trafficked for the purpose of prostitution.

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation - Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation, Donna M. Hughes, Laura Joy Sporcic, Nadine Z. Mendelsohn, Vanessa Chirgwin, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, 1999

[accessed 7 April 2011]

Italian NATO peacekeeping soldiers in Sarajevo were accused by Spanish secret services of organizing a child prostitution network that exploited girls between the ages of 12 and 14. The report said the girls were brought, in 1996, to the NATO force's headquarters in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza. Since then, the girls had been taken to areas including the Croatian coast where NATO soldiers go to relax. Spanish defense ministry denied the charges.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 7 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - The country was a destination, transit point, and, to a lesser extent, country of origin for women, girls, and, in a few cases, teenage boys trafficked for sexual exploitation.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The prostitution and trafficking of girls to, from, and within the country continues to be a problem. Reports indicate that there are growing numbers of minors, primarily girls ages 14 to 18 years, who are trafficked from less economically developed Eastern Bosnia to more economically developed Western Bosnia and externally to Eastern and Western Europe for commercial sexual exploitation.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Bosnia-Herzegovina", Bosnia-Herzegovina.htm, [accessed <date>]