UNODC-Supported Training Improves Capacity of the Kyrgyz Criminal Justice Professionals to Deal Effectively with Trafficking in Persons' Cases

The fight against trafficking in persons, as one of the types of crimes committed by transnational organized groups, become effective as the result of both interagency and international cooperation development. For that purpose, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic, various events are being held for criminal justice professionals, including bilateral visits by employees of the Kyrgyz General Prosecutor's Office, Ministry of Interior and the State Migration Service to Turkey in 2019. Based on the results of these activities, the first interdepartmental training on investigation and criminal prosecution of cases related to human trafficking including issues related to providing mutual legal assistance, was conducted on 4-6 February in Kyrgyzstan,

A three-day training-course was attended by 15 prosecutors and 15 police investigators from the northern regions of Kyrgyzstan. During the course participants increased their awareness in peculiarities of investigation and prosecution of criminal cases related to trafficking in persons (TIP) through the practical application of Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes, including issues of international cooperation and the provision of legal and other assistance to trafficking in persons' victims. The training was organized by the UNODC in partnership with the Kyrgyz General Prosecutor's Office (GPO), the GPO Training Center and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior.

"The training laid the foundation for strengthening of the interagency cooperation between prosecutors, who oversee the investigation of crimes related to trafficking in persons, police investigators, who directly identify and investigate such crimes. It should also be noted that the training was international in nature, as the current employees of the Ministry of Justice of the Turkish Republic and the prosecutor from Istanbul city were involved in this capacity building event. Their involvement has helped to improve cooperation between criminal justice experts of Kyrgyzstan and Turkey in providing mutual legal assistance (MLA) in the field of combating trafficking in persons", said Mr. Tilek Murzakulov, Senior Prosecutor of the GPO Training Centre.

Mrs. Elena Rodionenko, International Programme Coordinator of the UNODC Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic emphasized: "as the custodian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), UNODC assists Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to implement the UNTOC Protocol to Prevent, Combat and Punish Trafficking in Persons. To solve these problems, UNODC efforts are focused on expanding cooperation and professional exchange in the region, improving legislation and regulatory acts in accordance with international standards, as well as strengthening the professional capacity of criminal justice practitioners in investigation, prosecution and administration of justice in regards to crimes- related to trafficking in persons".

One of the important components of the UNODC work in combating trafficking in persons is enhancement of the ability of criminal justice professionals to effectively and efficiently handle trafficking in persons related cases. To this end, in close cooperation with the General Prosecutor's Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior, Training Manuals and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on investigation and detection of TIP related crimes were developed to improve the skills of prosecutors and police investigators. This is done to strengthen criminal justice measures to combat human trafficking in accordance with international norms and standards.

During the training-course, the participants were able not only to get acquainted with the experience of the Turkish law enforcement agencies with crimes related to human trafficking, but also to learn the practical aspects of cooperation on the example of MLA request sent by the Kyrgyz side to Turkey. This training is the first of a series of events to improve the skills of law enforcement officials for this year.

Readiness of Turkish colleagues to support this training was the result of the initiative that was previously supported ed by the UNODC Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic. In particular, during an official visit to Turkey, cooperation was established between the General Prosecutor's Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Justice of Turkey, the Academy under the Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor's Office, which will further facilitate the exchange of good practices in supporting and referring to victims of trafficking in persons, as well as mutual legal assistance and better international coordination on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

The event was held as part of a project on combatting of trafficking in persons, which is implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Program Office in the Kyrgyz Republic with generous financial support from the US Department of State's Office for Combating International Drug Trafficking and Law Enforcement (INL).

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