Media is an important actor in the prevention and fight against human trafficking as they contribute towards raising public awareness and investigating on the causes and statistics of this phenomenon. In order to address challenges of media reporting on trafficking in human beings for the first time in North Macedonia, on 3 and 4 September 2020, with the initiative of the EU and Council of Europe joint action Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in North Macedonia, an online training on trafficking in human beings took place with distinguished local journalists, reporters and media professionals. The representative of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development led the training, focusing on the guiding principles for media reporting on human trafficking. Exchanges and group exercises broadened the journalists’ understanding and skills regarding this crime.

Ms Elena Petreska from the (ICMPD) explained in depth the difference between human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and stressed the importance of using the adequate terminology in the media reporting. She emphasised that “trafficking requires presence of three elements: action, mean(s) and purpose for exploitation, while smuggling is a question of a financial transaction in order to cross a border.

Ms Natasa Dokovska from the Association of Journalists for Human Rights stressed that “North Macedonia has ratified the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and has obligations in this regard”, encouraging the journalists to inquire with the relevant institutions how the Convention is implemented.
Ms Elizabeta Veljanovska-Najdeska, an experienced journalist concluded that “protection of privacy and personal data of victims of human trafficking is a must in order to ensure their protection and security.”

This event is organised as a part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”, a co-operation initiative co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe, which aims at assisting beneficiaries in South-East Europe to comply with the Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis in the framework of the enlargement process. It has been implemented in cooperation with ICMPD.