Role of the social protection system – response to the current challenges in the field of migration

The workshop ”Role of the social protection system – response to the current challenges in the field of migration“, held in Belgrade on 11 March 2016, was the first of two planned workshops with the aim to improve the capacity of local Centers for Social Welfare in providing adequate response to the increased influx of migrants. Due to the current migration related challenges, the capacities of all relevant stakeholders are in need of additional capacity building support.

Two described workshops are organized within the program funded by DFID through the Start Network ”Dignity for the people on the move – protection and assistance for refugees transiting Greece, fYRoM and Serbia. “The main objective of the program is support to the national authorities, local communities and various service providers. The training sessions on social protection mechanism of refugees were conducted by the representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy - Ms.Sanja Kljajic, Mr. Dragan Vulevic and Mr. Vukota Vlahovic with the assistance of Danish Refugee Council Serbia capacity building team.

Through an interactive conversation, the most difficult problems faced in the field in providing assistance to refugees were main topics of discussion among participants and trainers. They jointly discussed the most appropriate ways of providing response and consequently agreed upon possible activities of Centers for Social Welfare related to providing social protection to refugees. The main topics of the workshop are listed below:

- Unaccompanied minors – identification and method of providing assistance and support through the social protection system;
- The role of Centers for Social Welfare in refugee children custody – providing protection to abused children and children in case of neglect;
- The role of the social protection system in providing protection to victims of human trafficking;
- Assistance and support to individuals and families in the crisis situations.

Special attention was deployed to the part dedicated to the protection of human trafficking victims and the process of identification of victims among migrants as the most difficult part of the activity essential to successful implementation of protection system.

Fifty participants from all 17 Belgrade municipalities have shown gratitude to the donor, Danish Refugee Council Serbia and lecturers for the opportunity to be a part of the workshop, gain essential knowledge and share existing experience. Trainings and awareness raising campaigns for governmental and non-governmental actors, as well as local communities on the migration route dealing with migration standards, human trafficking and potential social inclusion of mixed migrants seem to be topics of great interest for all above mentioned stakeholders. These activities are to raise the stakeholders’ capacities of the stakeholders to provide comprehensive response to the needs of targeted population, but also to prevent negative responses or reactions in local population.