The legal framework in the Republic of Macedonia has undergone a series of changes over the years that have been in favor of strengthening the fight against trafficking in human beings. The Republic of Macedonia, in terms of the legislation it has developed, counts in countries that meet the standards for successful dealing with human trafficking and has risen to an enviable level in relation to other countries in the Balkans. Together with Croatia, Macedonia is ranked in Group 1 of the 2013 Trafficking report for the US State Department – countries that successfully deal with trafficking.

In February 2002, trafficking in human beings was defined as a criminal offense under the Macedonian Penal Code (CC) entitled “Crimes against humanity and international law” by introducing Article 418-a, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code (CC), which reads as follows:

“A person who by force, serious threat leads to misconceptions or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, abuse of his position or condition of pregnancy, weakness or physical or mental incapacity of another, or by giving or receiving money or other benefits due to obtaining consent of a person who has control over another person or otherwise recruits, transports, transfers, purchases, sells, shelters or accepts persons for the purpose of exploitation by means of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor or servitude, slavery, forced marriages, forced fertilization, illegal adoption or a similar relationship or inadmissible transplantation of parts of the human body, shall be punished with imprisonment of at least four years. ”

Other members of the said Criminal Code who are considered relevant to action against trafficking are:

  • “Establishing a slavery relationship and transporting persons in slavery” (Article 418);
  • “Smuggling of migrants” (Article 418-b);
  • “Organizing a group and encouraging the execution of acts of trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in children” (Article 418-c).

Also, in 2008, a new Article 418-d paragraph 1 of the CC entitled “Trafficking in underage children” was added, and amendments were made to this article by introducing criminal responsibility of legal persons for trafficking in human beings. The last change was made in February 2014 when changes were made in Article 418-a, paragraph 1 and additions, with the word “fertilization” being replaced with the word “pregnancy” and “begging and exploitation through legal activity” were added in the part forms of exploitation, supplements to the CP mentioned in paragraph 14, the text of Article 418-d, paragraph 1 of the CC was replaced with a new text in which the word “juvenile” was replaced by “child”. Macedonian legislation does not include defining the term victim of trafficking as such. In the Criminal Code of the Republic of Macedonia, amendments were made in 2008 that define the term “victim of a crime” as “any person who suffered damage, physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, material loss or other violation or endangering his / her basic freedoms and rights as a consequence of committing a crime.”