Training workshop on victim identification, protection and referral related to Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM)

23 November 2022, Islamabad - UNODC in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and with the support of the Government of Canada, through Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, conducted a two-day training workshop on “Victim identification, protection and referral related to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.” This activity is part of a series of three workshops to train relevant stakeholders on the subject. This was the first session in Islamabad, which will be followed by a session in Karachi and Lahore.

The participants of this training represented Federal Investigation Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, Punjab Police, Punjab Social Sector, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Social Sector as well as two NGOs working in the field of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). The training session was attended by a total of 24 participants, out of which 12 were females and 12 were males. The first day of workshop aimed at enhancing the participants’ understanding of TIP and SOM, familiarizing them with relevant national policies and laws, as well as with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to victim identification, case management, referral, protection and assistance. 

While delivering welcoming remarks, Shahida Gilani, UNODC National Programme Officer, highlighted that “Cooperation among all the relevant stakeholders is the key to success in combatting human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The bylaws define victim protection and assistance mechanism in an elaborated manner and elaborate on mechanism to seek assistance. Therefore, it is vital to grasp victim identification, case management, referral, protection, and assistance SOPs.”

Ms. Chloe Sifton, Counsellor, Migration Program Manager, High Commission of Canada in Islamabad expressed appreciation for the efforts by the Federal Investigation Agency and the assistance being extended by UNODC to address TIP and SOM. She emphasized how “bringing together key frontline partners to promote a dialogue on strengthening mechanisms to identify and protect vulnerable victims is key in the fight against human trafficking and migration smuggling.” 

Mr. Alam Shinwari, Director Anti-Human Smuggling, FIA, during his remarks said that “in the sphere of human trafficking, most of the victims are women and children, who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and bonded labour, internally as well as externally to developed countries. In 2021 alone, 1810 sex trafficking cases were investigated by authorities, out of which 1237 were prosecuted and 33 were convicted.” He further added that “an individual’s trafficking and smuggling probability is increased after the recent flood situation when there is competition for resources and employment. ‘Push factors’ are augmented by ‘pull factors’ that may entice individuals. Common ‘pull factors’ are fraudulent recruitment practices used by traffickers to gain initial cooperation before using other means to maintain control.”

This training provided an opportunity for key stakeholders to learn about the victim-centred approaches in TIP and SOM and to provide relevant government officers and members of civil society with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify, protect and refer victims of human trafficking and vulnerable smuggled migrants in line with national legislation and international instruments.

The main objectives of the workshops were

  1. Increasing understanding of TIP and SOM definitions
  2. Introducing the provisions of national and international legislation
  3. Providing an understanding of the victim protection, assistance, and referral
  4. Introducing methods on victim identification and interview
  5. Providing an overview of the role of States and NGOs
  6. Providing an overview of UNODC’s TIP and SOM interventions

This workshop also provided the opportunity to examine real-case scenarios that went through FIA’s SOPs on victim assistance and protection, modalities of identification, screening and referral of victims, and existing practices, as well as National Action Plan, TIP and SOM data and its importance.