Increasing Awareness on Human Trafficking

A three-day IOM workshop on raising awareness on human trafficking
among government officials in order to synergize
counter-trafficking interventions in Afghanistan begins this
Sunday, 3rd September in Kabul.

Close to 50 participants invited from four Afghan government
ministries will participate at the workshop which will be opened by
the newly appointed Minister for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Hassan
Banu Ghadanfar.

The gathering, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau
for Population, Refugees and Migration, is part of an IOM direct
assistance programme for victims of trafficking in cooperation with
the Afghan government which began more than a year ago. Two other
workshops were carried out in April and August this year for more
than 80 participants drawn from government and NGO partner
organizations in Kabul and the city of Herat in a similar bid to
develop greater links among stakeholders in the counter-trafficking

“Afghanistan is one of the world’s largest producers
of opium and there is a connection between the illegal trades of
drug and human trafficking.  Afghanistan is a war torn country
and a large portion of the population have been mentally
traumatized, there is still massive poverty and people have a low
level of understanding of their rights making them especially
vulnerable to human traffickers,” said Sohaila
Alekozai-Mossadeq, an Afghan women’s rights activist and
participant of a previous IOM workshop.

According to the 2006 US State Department report on Trafficking
in Persons, Afghanistan is a source country for women and children
trafficked both internally and abroad for forced labour and sexual

Children are trafficked internally to work as beggers or as
bonded labour in the brick kiln and carpet-making industries with
the Afghan Human Rights Commission reporting 150 cases of child
trafficking this year, though many suspect the actual level to be
much higher.

Within Afghanistan, women and girls are kidnapped or sold for
forced marriages or as commercial sex workers as well as being used
to settle debts or to resolve conflicts. Abroad, Afghan women and
girls are being trafficked primarily to Iran, Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia also for forced labour or for sexual exploitation.

For further information, please contact:

Yitna Getachew

IOM Kabul

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