UNODC and INL Train Prosecutors and Judges in Tajikistan on Effective Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons Based on Real-Life Cases

29 March 2021 - Trafficking in persons is a victim-centered crime, complex by its nature and requiring a constellation of circumstances to establish it. Such cases present significant evidential issues, many of which hinge upon the covert nature of the crime and the behaviour of victims, whose testimony is often the central piece of evidence.


According to official data submitted to UNODC in the context of the recently published 2020 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, Tajikistan convicted 128 people on charges of human trafficking between 2015 and 2018. To strengthen investigation skills in this area, UNODC has partnered with training institutions of the Ministry of Interior, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Supreme Court of Tajikistan to roll out new training programs and include tailored training modules in the curriculum of these key law enforcement and judicial bodies.

As a next step in this process, UNODC recently organized a specialized workshop for a group of 21 prosecutors and judges on evidential issues in trafficking in persons cases.  For this workshop, UNODC made available its Case Digest on “Evidential issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases”.

Mr. Abdukahhor Tagozoda, representing the Supreme Court, highlighted in his opening remarks the importance of capacity development of law enforcement officers and all legal practitioners in the field of trafficking in persons.

“The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, as an active participant in the global process of combating trafficking in persons, is taking organizational and legal measures in this direction at the national and international. We are committed to continuous and productive cooperation with UNODC in countering this severe crime”, Mr. Tagozoda stated.

The Case Digest arose from a need UNODC identified among practitioners who fight trafficking, to be given tools to address typical evidential problems which arise in trafficking cases. It contains 135 cases from 31 jurisdictions and benefited from the input from experts from all parts of the globe. The Case Digest aims first and foremost to assist criminal justice practitioners worldwide in addressing the evidential issues typical to trafficking cases and equip these practitioners with an arsenal of possible creative solutions that have been tried and tested elsewhere in actual cases before courts.


“The Digest’s goal is not to instruct practitioners categorically on how to conduct cases, but rather to present evidential issues and patterns and describe how different jurisdictions addressed them. This approach recognizes that sometimes there is no one answer to a question, but that there is added value in presenting a wealth of possibilities which serves to heighten awareness of different types of evidence that the practitioner can draw from to argue the case in court to secure a conviction”, said Ms. Takhmina Rakhimova, UNODC National Programme Officer.

The workshop participants mentioned the importance and usefulness of learning from real life cases, both by understanding that they are not alone in facing certain patterns and issues, and by deriving assistance from the tools that investigators, prosecutors and judges worldwide have developed and used.

Ms. Elena Nyanenkova, UNODC International Expert led participants through the mosaic of evidence, reviewed in-depth analysis of selected cases gathered in the tool-book and analyzed some articles of national legislation. During the discussion, participants shared their experience, best practices and challenges they have faced in prosecuting human trafficking cases.

The workshop was conducted as part of UNODC’s initiative to strengthen the law enforcement response to trafficking in persons in Tajikistan with support from the US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).



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