International standards and quality of services to protect victims of human trafficking

On 28-29 May 2013, UNFPA Sub-regional Office in Central Asia and UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia conducted the joint national workshop "International standards to ensure the availability and quality of services to protect and support victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants" in Dushanbe, the Republic of Tajikistan. This event was organized in the framework of the project "Strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian Republics to protect and assist victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants, especially women and children, in partnership with NGO and civil society actors" which is funded by the European Union and co-funded by the United States.

The main goal of the workshop was to improve the quality and accessibility of social services for victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants. According to the assessment conducted by the international experts of UNFPA in Central Asian countries, the absence of well-functioning identification systems and referral mechanisms represent one of the reasons why victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants are not always adequately assisted and protected in the region. The assessment findings laid the groundwork for developing measures on improving shelters and their quality of services by building the capacity of social workers and shelter staff, and by raising theirs and other beneficiaries' awareness on the issues at stake.

Participants strengthened their skills in the area of assistance to victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants, as well as in human rights based international and national anti-trafficking policy. The facilitation provided by the international experts from Moldova brought an exchange of good practices in the area of victims' assistance and protection, on the international level.

The participants expressed great interest on issues related to the "burnout" syndrome and rehabilitation measures of service providers that would enable them to continue their work. Referral mechanisms and interagency cooperation and partnership with civil society were also highlighted by the participants as other critical points to be addressed and strengthened in the near future.

Similar workshops are planned to be held in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the period of July-September 2013.