UNODC in Turkmenistan: promoting effective collaboration in investigation and prosecution of human trafficking

Strengthening the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons is one of the key objectives of the 2016-2018 National Action Plan of Turkmenistan to counter trafficking in persons. To support implementation of the action plan, from 6-10 November 2017, UNODC conducted a series of consultations with government counterparts and international partners in Turkmenistan to discuss needs of criminal justice practitioners in relation to investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.

"Trafficking in persons is a complex, hidden crime. Tackling it requires strong capacity and coordination on the part of law enforcement and judicial bodies, as well as effective victim and witness support and protection", noted Koen Marquering, UNODC International Coordinator.

The UNODC mission met with representatives of the General Prosecutor's Office, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Interior and the Migration Service. State bodies, international organizations and diplomatic missions also gathered for a meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on counter-trafficking issues in Turkmenistan.

David Newton, UNODC International Consultant on trafficking in persons, presented the UNODC Anti-Human Trafficking Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners and other training tools. "The UNODC manual is a practical training tool, which addresses every phase of the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons - from identification of victims to investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking, including victim support and protection", said Mr. Newton, the lead author of the manual.

As a result of the mission, preliminary priority issues were identified, which will now form the basis for the development of a basic training manual on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes for criminal justice practitioners in Turkmenistan. Workshops for police officers, prosecutors, judges and other relevant stakeholders are foreseen in 2018.

UNODC provides assistance to Turkmenistan and other countries in Central Asia in implementing the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children with funding provided by the US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).