Tackling Human Trafficking in Belarus
Minsk - Belarus has been hit hard by human trafficking, with 5,500 known cases since 2002, mostly sexual and labour exploitation. The country is taking a dynamic approach to countering the phenomenon by prioritising protection, prevention and prosecution. In the same period, there have been 600 trafficking-related convictions.
These figures were discussed during two events in the capital Minsk this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday (20-21/03), a follow-up event for young people who had participated in a summer camp under the auspices of the UN Migration Agency’s IOM X campaign was held. IOM X is a campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.
Participants reported on their ideas for anti-trafficking and related projects, were introduced to the project development concept, and will present their ideas to potential donors soon.
“We shared our ideas and got down to development of new projects," said Stephaniya Zmitrakovich, one of the participants. "I’m so excited about it. Of course, I was happy to meet again all the participants and organizers, share positive emotions and get inspiration for future achievements. I’m convinced that all together we’ll make the world better,” said Zmitrakovich.
On Wednesday (21/03), IOM ran a workshop for journalists to sharpen their skills in reporting on human trafficking and ensuring the dignified treatment of trafficking survivors. Similar events will be held across Belarus in the coming months.
“Irregular migration, including counter-trafficking, is top agenda item for many countries," said Zeynal Hajiyev, IOM Minsk Chief of Mission. "We have been cooperating with Belarus authorities in counter-trafficking for more than 15 years and we’ve always appreciated the efforts which Belarus makes both at the international and national levels. Belarus was one of the first countries that initiated national consultations on Global Compact on Migration, which includes combatting human trafficking among its priorities,” added Hajiyev.
The events were organized in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus with the financial support of USAID, the Kingdom of Norway, and the British Embassy in Belarus.
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