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U.S. Warns Bosnia Aid Could Be Cut Over Human Trafficking

Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

SARAJEVO – Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), warns that the United States would cut its assistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina if the country fails to tackle human trafficking.

"If the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina is not capable of addressing the issues of human trafficking, the United States -- in less than one year -- will have to cut all of our foreign assistance” to the Balkan country, Glick said in a February 5 interview with RFE/RL during a visit to Belgrade.

“That will have a tremendous impact on this country both in terms of its reputation as a place in which foreigners should come and consider investing as well as placing it in a category with some of the lowest levels of government,” she added.

Since 1995, Washington has provided more than $1.8 billion in assistance -- primarily through USAID -- to “support democratic, social, and economic progress” in Bosnia and to “advance the country toward its goal of EU membership.”

Bosnia’s government “used to take strong action to combat trafficking in persons,” Glick said.

But the country has now “dropped in the international esteem and it is in danger of becoming one of the lowest levels of non-support to counter human trafficking.”

In its 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, the U.S. State Department said the Bosnian government “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so.”