Ending human trafficking possible only with regional cooperation in investigating and prosecuting crimes

1 November 2017 - Addressing human trafficking can be very difficult and complicated. The lack of uniform legislation in West and Central Asia and weak cooperation among stakeholders makes the prosecution of crimes and the protection of victims even more challenging.

As part of efforts to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, UNODC recently hosted a regional workshop on international and regional cooperation in investigating and prosecuting these crimes. The three-day event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, focused on ways forward, with participants underscoring the need to strengthen cooperation in the West and Central Asia region and beyond.

In his opening remarks, Deputy General Prosecutor of Uzbekistan, Erkin Yuldashev, emphasized the importance of regional cooperation, pointing to the ongoing partnership between his country's competent authorities and the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries, including on countering trafficking in persons. He stressed that Uzbekistan's Development Strategy for 2017-2021 envisages system improvements that would strengthen the fight against crime and crime prevention.

Similarly, Ambassador of Italy to Uzbekistan, Andrea Bertozzi, expressed commitment to work closely with Central Asian countries to tackle all forms of human trafficking. "We are open to suggestion and ready to cooperate," he underscored.

Also participating, Lorenzo Gestri, a public prosecutor with extensive experience in investigating cases of migrant smuggling in Central Italy, discussed challenges he faces on a daily basis. "Investigating crimes involving human trafficking and smuggling of migrants requires close cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination.  Without cooperation, it is impossible to get the full picture and shut down the criminal networks and/or organizations that operate in all countries involved", he stressed.

The event led to the establishment of an informal regional network of experts, including law enforcement and prosecution practitioners from the Regional Programme countries such as Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, as well as experts from UNODC's Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, the Regional Office for Central Asia and the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section.

UNODC, through its Regional Programme, is strongly engaged in fighting these heinous crimes in the West and Central Asia and will continue partnering with experts to enable and facilitate cooperation at the regional and inter-regional levels.

Further Information:

2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

UNODC's work on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants

UNODC's Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

UNODC in West and Central Asia