IOM, Azerbaijan, and Civil Society Observe World Day against Trafficking in Persons


Azerbaijan - On 29-30 July 2016, IOM organized two events in Nakhchivan and Baku, respectively. These initiatives were realized in the framework of two projects: "Counter-Trafficking in Persons Activity" funded by USAID and "Enhancing Cooperation Measures to Effectively Combat Trafficking in Persons Through Capacity Building and Technical Assistance In Azerbaijan – Phase V" funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), both implemented by the IOM Mission in Azerbaijan. On 29 July 2016 IOM organized panel discussions in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

This initiative was the first of its kind carried out in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. The event aimed to attract the attention of a wide audience to this phenomenon and its consequences, as well as to increase knowledge and response in the field of combating trafficking in human beings in Azerbaijan and worldwide.

It commenced with the opening remarks delivered by General Sharif Asadullayev, Head of Counter-trafficking Main Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan; Colonel Ali Taghiyev, Head of the Organizational Inspection Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; Mikaela Meredith, USAID Country Director in Azerbaijan; Ghulam Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan; H.E. Dragana Filipovic, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Baku; and Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The event was attended by nearly 100 officials from the line ministries from Baku and Nakhchivan, diplomatic corps, and civil society organizations including the Embassies of the United States, Norway, Germany, Ukraine, Japan, Afghanistan, Columbia, NGO Coalition against Trafficking as well as Azerbaijan Children’s Union, Clean World Aid To Women Public Union, Education, Public Support Association of Youth of Azerbaijan Public Union.

The invited 13 international and national experts from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Great Britain, Israel, Georgia, Ukraine, and the US shared their experiences and highlighted practices that could serve as models in their respective areas of expertise. The discussions included the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, protection of the victims of trafficking, particularly, provision of health care and accommodation, and tackling root causes of the trafficking such as the role of the education and awareness raising in eradication of this crime.

On 30 July 2016 IOM and its partners from government, international community and civil society acted together to raise public awareness on human trafficking. The initiative started in the open air in Icheri Sheher (Old City) State Historical-Architectural Reserve at 12:00. In the presence of Sharif Asadullayev, Chief of the Main Department on Combating Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the opening remarks were delivered by Mikaela Meredith, Mission Director of the USAID Azerbaijan, Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Sadagat Gahramanova, Deputy Director of the State Committee on Woman, Family and Child Affairs and Asgar Alekberov, Chief of the State Historical-Architectural Res erve Icherisheher.

The speakers uniformly expressed their agreement to combine efforts of many stakeholders for effective action against trafficking in persons, to support the integration and reintegration of the victims to the society, to continue raising awareness of the general public about trafficking in persons and the prosecutions of the criminals.

The speeches followed by a performance by residents of Azerbaijan's Children Union shelter. They staged a scene from A.Tolstoy's famous fairy tale "The Adventures of Buratino" and demonstrated the mottos to stop the trafficking of children and to call the audience to be responsible and careful towards children. During the day IOM with its civil society partners continued to raise awareness through the distribution of 8,000 water bottles that were specially designed for this day to call people to be alerted against trafficking and disseminated brochures in different points in Baku as well as in Ganja, Azerbaijan.

The production of the water bottles was the exemplary experience of public-private partnership with the local company Aquavita. IOM and its partners reached out more than 10,000 people to draw attention to the meaning of the 30th July.

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