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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Republic of Croatia

Once one of the wealthiest of the Yugoslav republics, Croatia's economy suffered badly during the 1991-95 war as output collapsed and the country missed the early waves of investment in Central and Eastern Europe that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since 2000, however, Croatia's economic fortunes have begun to improve slowly, with moderate but steady GDP growth between 4% and 6% led by a rebound in tourism and credit-driven consumer spending. Inflation over the same period has remained tame and the currency, the kuna, stable. Nevertheless, difficult problems still remain, including a stubbornly high unemployment rate, a growing trade deficit and uneven regional development.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Croatia

Croatia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children trafficked across national borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Croatian females are also trafficked within the country, and women and girls from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe are trafficked to and through Croatia for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Two other notable trends were seen in Croatia in 2008: an increase in the trafficking of men for the purpose of forced labor; and, for the first time, Croatia serving primarily as a destination, not largely as a transit country, for victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Croatia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate 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 Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  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

SOS hot line: 0800 77 99

Police – 92

International Organization for Migration – 1 4816 774

Country code: 385-



A Human Trafficking Victim Speaks With RFE/RL

Ankica Barbir Mladinovic, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, June 15, 2006

[accessed 30 January 2011]

"It happened abroad," says Martina, a 29-year-old trafficking victim from Zagreb. "I was sold for 3,500 euros [$4,400]. I was beaten, raped, forced against my will. They would put out cigarette butts on me and cut me with razors.

It was like a horror movie, she says. Martina was 19 years old at that time, trained as a cook. She lived in the suburbs of Zagreb and desired a better job and a better life. She met a young man who told her about his brother who had a restaurant in Italy, but who had a hard time finding good employees.

Martina was locked in a Rome apartment for two months. Instead of working in a restaurant, she was beaten and raped daily until she was “broken” and had become a sexual slave. Then, she says, the man who bought her took her out to the street.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Croatia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 31 May 2021]


The government effectively enforced the law. Penalties for conviction of forced labor were commensurate with other serious violations. Inspection was sufficient to enforce compliance. The government collaborated with several NGOs on public awareness programs. Following the introduction of a national action plan in 2018, prosecutions and monitoring increased, and reports and prosecutions of forced labor fell precipitously.


The government effectively enforced the law. Penalties were generally commensurate with similar violations (see also section 7.b.). There were isolated instances of violations of the child labor law. Labor inspectors identified 35 violations involving nine minors in 2019. Violations involved minors working overtime or past curfew and occurred mainly in the hospitality and construction sectors. Some children were reportedly subject to early marriage that could result in domestic servitude. Romani children were reportedly at risk of forced begging.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


Worker protection laws are robust, and the Office of the Labor Inspectorate actively investigates work sites. However, labor violation remain a problem within the hospitality sector. Workers in the informal sector have less access to legal protections.

Human trafficking remains a problem, sentences for those convicted of it can be light, and witness statements are not always given the appropriate consideration in court cases.

Croatian Police Bust Human Trafficking Channel

[access information unavailable]

The Croatian police busted a channel for trafficking of humans in town of Gospic and on the territory of the Istra peninsula, Croatian TV channel HRT informs.  A Croatian citizen from the region of Gospic and a couple from Licki Osik acted as mediators for the sale of minor Romanian girls for the purpose of marriage.

Balkans Urged To Curb Trafficking

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva, 31 March 2005

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Countries in South-East Europe are failing to take effective measures against people trafficking, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says.  A UNICEF report says that while countries in the region have strict anti-trafficking laws they do not tackle the root causes of the problem.

Initiative to Help Fight Human Trafficking in Three SEE Countries

Robert Herschbach for Southeast European Times, 05/04/05

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro are located in a pivotal zone between poorer countries to the east and the affluent nations of the EU, and function as transit points.  Croatia succeeded in achieving its first trafficking-related criminal conviction and has taken other steps, including police training, allocation of funds for a victims' shelter, and creation of a national hotline. But law enforcement remains erratic and resources scarce, and the country's laws -- while covering crimes such as abduction and rape -- do not explicitly prohibit trafficking.

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 30 January 2011]

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

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The Government of Croatia is implementing its National Plan of Action on Trafficking through a National Committee for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons.  The trafficking action plan calls for training programs for all professionals working with groups at high risk of trafficking, including children, and schools are to develop curricula on the issue. Since 2003, women and children taken into custody as illegal migrants are screened as potential trafficking victims.  The local Social Welfare Center is informed and provides assistance to detainees suspected of being underage.  The Government has provided space for a shelter for victims of trafficking; IOM provides assistance and support to victims.  The government also conducted in-service police training on trafficking-recognition, funded a national hotline for victims of trafficking, and funded two NGOs to carry out awareness-raising activities on trafficking in persons.

In June 2004, a working group on child trafficking was established.  The Child Trafficking Prevention Program is being implemented by the Center for Social Policy Initiatives, a national NGO.  Modules have been developed on child trafficking, child exploitation, sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, and the worst forms of child labor.  Teachers have been trained to use the program and a pilot project is underway in 5 elementary schools in Zagreb.  The government also works with international organizations to assist trafficking victims, and cooperates with other governments in the region.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 October 2004

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[66] While welcoming the measures taken by the State party to prevent and raise awareness of the problem of trafficking in persons, including the establishment of the National Committee for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons responsible for formulating and implementing the National Plan for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, it remains concerned about the effective implementation of the Plan and at the lack of statistical data and specific information on measures undertaken to combat trafficking.

The Protection Project - Croatia [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - In contrast to other countries in the region, there is little evidence that Croatia is a destination country for trafficking in women.  Nevertheless, the government’s national plan to combat trafficking has stated that trafficking occurs there and that it is mainly for sexual exploitation.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 30 January 2011]


2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 20 March 2019]

[accessed 25 June 2019]


There were isolated incidents of forced labor in private homes. Croatians, Bosnians, and Romanians were subjected to forced labor in agriculture. Romani children were at risk of forced begging.


There were isolated instances of violations of child labor legislation. Labor inspectors identified 38 violations involving 24 minors. Violations involved minors working overtime or past curfew and occurred mainly in the hospitality, retail, services, food service, and tourism sectors. Some children were reportedly subject to early marriage that could result in domestic servitude.

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 – Refugees, displaced persons, and young persons were most at risk of being trafficked. Anecdotal information indicated that international organized crime groups, local groups, and travel or marriage agencies were responsible for trafficking. Victims were subject to violence, intimidation, withholding of documents, and threats by traffickers.

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