Press release

International conference 'Strengthening National and International Partnerships to Combat Trafficking in Persons'

Текст на русском здесь.

The World Drug Day Against Trafficking in Persons is annually marked globally on 30 July. This year’s theme is "Reaching every victim of human trafficking, leaving no one behind".

On 27 July in the observance of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) a two-day international conference on "Strengthening National and International Partnerships to Combat Trafficking in Persons" was kicked off in Astana. The conference aims to strengthen cooperation between countries and civil society in Central Asia on a holistic approach to identifying cases of TIP and addressing the problems of people who are victims of TIP and various forms of exploitation.

The event is co-organised by the Law Enforcement Academy under the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Safe Migration in Central Asia Project implemented by Winrock International, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the U.S. Department of State.

Opening the event, Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia noted that in the heart of UNODC’s response is the priority to reach out to every victim everywhere and leave one behind. "We need to emphasize the importance of a criminal justice response backed by strong international law enforcement cooperation and mutual legal assistance. Through effective co-operation, information sharing and joint operations, we can stem the transnational nature of this crime and ensure that traffickers do not find safe haven. We adopt a victim centric approach. To contribute to this, we support the member states from the Central Asian region in establishing specialized regional mechanisms and networks to combat trafficking in persons. UNODC support aims to strengthen law enforcement response to human trafficking and related crimes in the Central Asian region and beyond through coordinated and targeted law enforcement actions and operations. Every life matters,"- she said.

The conference assembled government officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan including law enforcement and judiciary, customs, civil society organizations and international experts to share best practices and experiences in combating TIP and issues of rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of TIP and exploitation.

Kaliolla Seitenov, Acting Rector of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies at the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan emphasized: "This conference is a vivid example of strengthening national and international partnership in countering trafficking in persons. Thanks to the collective work of government bodies and international organizations, certain successes have been achieved in this direction. New approaches to work have been introduced, a draft law "On combating human trafficking" has been developed, which is under consideration by the Majilis of the Parliament. Only by such joint efforts we can significantly influence the situation and ensure the protection of potential victims of human trafficking."

Daniel Rosenblum, U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kazakhstan: "Combating human trafficking has long been a priority of U.S. foreign policy.  I know you are all familiar with the "three Ps" approach - prevention, prosecution and protection.  Today I would like to talk about the "fourth P," that is, partnerships.  Partnerships are the theme of the U.S. State Department's latest annual report on trafficking in persons, and this is no coincidence, as effective partnerships are always at the centre of successful anti-trafficking efforts." 

Rodney Ferguson, President and CEO of Winrock International: "The problem of TIP is global in nature and scope. Many people fall victim to traffickers when trying to earn a living abroad. In Central Asia, traffickers are increasingly using social media and online platforms to recruit and exploit people. Over the past year, we have learnt more about cyber fraud camps, which we know have already recruited a number of Central Asian IT professionals who made their way to Southeast Asia and became victims who were coerced into criminal activity. Our partners on USAID-supported programmes work with community organizations and the private sector, including information and technology companies, as well as governments to prevent and protect victims of this phenomenon by communicating with survivors and connecting communities to remedies".

The event included an overview of crimes related to TIP, crime statistics related to investigations and prosecutions, and sharing of best practices in the investigation and prosecution of TIP and related cases.

Participants also reviewed the types of support provided by international organisations, such as assistance to countries in drafting, developing and revising action plans needed to effectively combat TIP, prevention and community awareness-raising, data collection and research, legislative assistance, strategic planning and policy development, criminal justice responses, victim protection and support, international cooperation, training and mentoring of professionals using tools to apprehend, prosecute and convict traffickers and to protect and support victims.

Reda Sirgediene,  UNODC Regional Adviser for Central Asia in Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants concluded: "This international conference on Strengthening National and International Partnerships to Combat Trafficking in Persons facilitated further dialogue among governmental, international and non-governmental organizations to tackle trafficking crimes more effectively, especially as regards identification and referral of trafficking victims in the region and beyond".


Based on the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons there has been a significant decline in the criminal justice response to trafficking crimes in Central Asia. There were fewer investigations conducted, and the number of prosecutions and convictions decreased across the entire region during the same year. What is more, women and girls constituted the vast majority of identified victims, while three-quarters of the trafficked persons detected in the region were forced to sexual exploitation. By sex and age group, women accounted for 85% of persons convicted of trafficking in 2020 compared to 14% of men and 1 % of children. This highlights the gender-specific vulnerabilities in different forms of exploitation and underscores the need for gender-sensitive approaches to address these issues effectively.

At the international conference on "Strengthening National and International Partnerships to Combat Trafficking in Persons" (Bukhara Conference) held in Bukhara, Republic of Uzbekistan, from 25 to 26 November 2021, delegates emphasized the need for greater regional cooperation to better address trafficking in persons and called for action through the development of the Bukhara Declaration on Strengthening Partnerships to Combat Trafficking in Persons (Bukhara Declaration). For this reason, conference delegates agreed to support the organization of annual conferences for law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations in the Central Asian region at the end of July to mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, starting with Uzbekistan in 2022, followed by Kazakhstan in 2023, Kyrgyzstan in 2024, Tajikistan in 2025 and Turkmenistan in 2026. 

For further information please contact:              

Arifa Fatikhova    

Communications and External Relations Officer 

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 

Regional Office for Central Asia

Mobile: (+998 99) 825-05-43 | Email: arifa.fatikhova[at]