Joining forces: UNODC hosts workshop to promote collaboration among criminal justice, health officials, and civil society to counter human trafficking for organ removal

Islamabad, Pakistan - 14 April 2023 – In recent years, the global community has become increasingly aware of the heinous crimes of trafficking in persons (TIP) for organ removal and organ trafficking. Despite being one of the least-known forms of trafficking, TIP for OR has been detected in many countries worldwide. However, specialized skills required to investigate these cases are not taught to criminal investigators, anti-trafficking law enforcement or border management units in many countries. 

Similarly, prosecutors and investigators may face challenges in categorizing the crime and difficulties in the interpretation of the elements of the offence of its means, such as abuse of a position of vulnerability, and the role of consent in determining criminal liability or victimhood.

To address this issue, UNODC under the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) developed the UNODC Toolkit on the Investigation and Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons for Organ Removal.

Launched in October 2022, the Toolkit was created for criminal justice practitioners who play a key role in addressing human trafficking for organ removal. To introduce the Toolkit to practitioners in Pakistan, GLO.ACT organized a multisectoral workshop from 13 to 15 March 2023.

The three-day workshop aimed to strengthen the specialized knowledge and capacity of medical practitioners, criminal justice actors, and civil society to raise awareness about human trafficking for organ removal and to take informed action. The workshop also aimed to develop strategies for increasing coordination among relevant stakeholders and appraise the local context and challenges in victim support, investigation, and trial processes. 

Throughout the three-day workshop, attendees were acquainted with different aspects of the Toolkit, engaged in collaborative activities, and had the opportunity to exchange information and insights on various cases. The event also served as a platform for participants to develop a deeper comprehension of the imperative need for criminal justice practitioners to collaborate with health authorities and civil society organizations in countering human trafficking for organ removal.

By providing practitioners across sectors with guidance and practical tools to enhance detection, investigation, and prosecution of TIP for OR cases as well as cooperation, UNODC is taking a crucial step in supporting its partners to better address this form of trafficking.

28 participants, including 8 females and 20 males, from law enforcement, relevant government authorities, medical professionals, and NGO/CSOs took part in the workshop.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.

The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality  considerations across all of its activities.

This project is funded by the European Union

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Shahida Gillani, National Project Office


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