UNODC and INL provide comprehensive support to Tajikistan in preventing and countering trafficking in persons

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the US State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) have recently completed a two and half year initiative to strengthen law enforcement responses to trafficking in persons (TIP) in Tajikistan.  

Based on close partnerships with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO), and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan, the UNODC/INL project produced a training concept based on which an extensive training program for investigators, prosecutors and judges on investigation and prosecution of human trafficking was implemented. Dedicated training manuals, adapted to national legislation and context, are being incorporated in the curriculum of the Police Academy and training centers of the GPO and Supreme Court.

Comprehensive Training Package on TIP Investigation and Prosecution

Investigation and prosecution of trafficking in persons cases is a complex process that requires thorough training and commitment by law enforcement and judicial authorities. The 2020 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020 notes an improved criminal justice response to TIP in Tajikistan between 2016 and 2019. If in 2018, Tajik law enforcement bodies prosecuted nine TIP cases against 18 suspects, in 2019, the number of such cases had risen to 20 against 35 alleged perpetrators.

To support these efforts, UNODC conducted a training needs assessment and produced a standardized training concept to guide training of police officers, investigators, prosecutors, and judges. This concept served as the basis for the development of four different training manuals on prevention, detection and investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of trafficking in persons. To further support interactive training, UNODC produced Tajik language versions of two training films ("Victims, not Villains) on victim sensitive interviewing and the prosecution of trafficking in persons cases in court. UNODC also published a Russian version of its Case Digest on Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases.

Pilot TIP Training Program for Tajikistan’s Law Enforcement and Justice Sector

With the training materials in hand, UNODC partnered with the Police Academy and the training centers of the GPO and the Supreme Court to roll out a pilot training program to test the new educational tools. To implement the training program, UNODC purchased 8 laptop computers to facilitate online and hybrid forms of training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, 20 prosecutors and 60 trainee judges viewed and discussed the training films, which were screened at the training centers of the GPO and Supreme Court in Dushanbe. In 2020, 10 training courses reached 415 police investigators, prosecutors, judges, and other stakeholders to improve their knowledge and skills on TIP investigation and prosecution. UNODC also facilitated training of trainers’ courses with the law enforcement and judicial training institutions. 30 trainers of the MIA Academy and training centers of the GPO and Supreme Court are now able to independently conduct TIP training based on the developed manuals.

Introduction of New TIP Manuals in the Curriculum of Law Enforcement and Judicial Training Institutions

To facilitate further rollout of TIP training in Tajikistan, UNODC printed and disseminated over 1000 copies of the training manuals in Russian and Tajik languages. 400 copies of the TIP training films in Tajik have also been distributed among national partners.

In 2021, UNODC continued its active engagement with the training institutions of MIA, GPO, and Supreme Court. The Academy of the Ministry of Interior officially endorsed the UNODC training course and related police manuals. This means that all police cadets will be exposed to the material and receive training based on it. By the end of the project in spring 2021, trained MIA trainers had already worked with 258 cadets (in their fourth year of study at the MIA Academy) to develop skills on prevention, detection, and investigation of trafficking in persons.

Likewise, the Training Center of the GPO launched a new TIP training course based on the dedicated UNODC manual. During the first quarter of 2021, trainers from the GPO Training Center reached at least 55 GPO investigators and prosecutors from Dushanbe, Khujand and Bokhtar cities. With the Training Center of the Supreme Court, UNODC is currently working to include several emblematic TIP cases in the developed manual for judges, after which the manual is expected to be further introduced in the training practice of this training institution as well.

TIP Legislation and Policy Development

UNODC combined the introduction of tailored TIP training for law enforcement and the justice sector with efforts to support implementation of Tajikistan’s 2019-2021 National Action Plan to Counter Trafficking in Persons. Given that Tajikistan is currently revising its criminal legislation, UNODC developed a legal commentary with recommendations to bring provisions on trafficking in persons, trafficking in children and sale of children further in line with international standards, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (TIP Protocol), but also the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

UNODC presented the analytical paper at a roundtable (December 2020), which gathered 20 government representatives, members of parliament, national human rights institutions, academics, and independent experts. As a follow up to the roundtable and recommendations made by the participants, UNODC has shared the legal commentary with government authorities and the parliament for consideration during the finalization of new criminal legislation.

Other workshops held during the implementation of the project focused on data collection, evidential issues and mutual legal assistance in human trafficking cases. UNODC developed a set of recommendations for better international cooperation and mutual legal assistance in human trafficking cases, which has been submitted to government authorities for their consideration.

Blue Heart Campaign in Tajikistan

During the project, UNODC organized a workshop (September 2020) for 20 government officials, law enforcement officers, academia and civil society who gained skills on the organization of public awareness raising campaigns and effective media engagement against trafficking in persons. Based on the knowledge and skills gained during the training, these key stakeholders elaborated an action plan for a campaign, which was launched officially in early 2021.


Tajikistan’s Blue Heart campaign targeted 3 Oblasts of Tajikistan during a three-month period: Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, Sughd and Khatlon. Civil society organizations, such as the NGO "Volunteer", NGO "Khairkhohi Zamon" and the Fund for Society Development, led round tables and other meetings at the community level, drawing contests, theater performances and other activities, which reached over 40,000 people directly. 100 people who attended job fairs found new jobs.

Local government authorities, police officers, and civil society activists actively spread key messages among the population on how to get a secure job and recognize risks of exploitation. Interviews and public-interest spots on combating human trafficking were aired during prime time on state television and radio channels with an estimated audience of over 2 million people.

Way Forward on TIP in Tajikistan

Towards the end of the project, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan established a working group to review a series of UNODC university modules on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. UNODC provided initial expert support to consider integrating these training modules into university curricula and in the training programs of law enforcement and judicial training institutions.

UNODC’s standardized TIP training concept, TIP training manuals, as well as the legal analysis produced, remain available for further use during capacity development and for advocacy on TIP in Tajikistan. The interagency working group education for justice is an example of the solid partnership between UNODC and the authorities in the fight against trafficking in persons and other forms of transnational organized crime. Based on this partnership, UNODC, as guardian of the UNTOC and the TIP Protocol, will continue to assist Tajikistan and other Central Asian States in their efforts to implement these international instruments, protect victims and prosecute traffickers.

Article in Russian language 


For more information, contact Vasilina Brazhko (Ms.)

Communication and PR Specialist at

UNODC in Central Asia

+996775987817 Cellphone/WhatsApp/Telegram or

By e-mail: vasilina.brazhko[at]