GLO.ACT organizes roundtable meeting to officially commence project implementation in Iraq

Erbil, Iraq - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) organized a two-day workshop for judicial investigators and prosecutors, members of the Central Committee on Combating Human Trafficking and CSOs representatives in Erbil, Iraq. 
In terms of context, Iraq is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and men, women, and children subjected to forced labour. Much of this is linked to conflict. Irregular migration and migrant smuggling are commonplace throughout the Middle East, and Iraq is well documented as being a source, and to a lesser degree, a transit country for smuggled migrants. Europe is an increasingly attractive destination for would-be migrants arriving from the Middle East, and Iraq forms part of one of two migratory corridors connecting India to Europe.

One of GLO.ACT's project objectives is to strengthen Iraq's current capacity to investigate and effectively and fairly prosecute the crimes of TIP and SOM, while protecting the rights of trafficked persons and smuggled migrants.

The workshop was opened by Aimée Comrie, UNODC GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, who proceeded to outline the work UNODC undertakes to Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM), and spoke about the work to be implemented under GLO.ACT before giving the floor to Judge Husam Abdulkareem Yousif, Head of the Central Investigation in Baghdad and Judge Beshdar Majeed from the KRG MoJ who stressed the need for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) when it comes to TIP cases.

Bringing together 30 participants (4 female/26 male), including specialized judicial investigators and prosecutors from various governorates in Iraq, members from the Central Committee on Combatting Human Trafficking  also remained to participate in the workshop ensuring the committee's representation and inputs, as well as representatives from local NGOs.

The workshop started with an overview of the objectives, in addition to best practices in achieving best evidence delivered by Martin Reeve, GLO.ACT Regional Advisor. In view of corroborating victim-centred investigations and prosecutions context-sensitive case studies were looked into and discussed in-depth. The group work that ensued, provided ample opportunity to define key loopholes with regard to the place of victims in investigations and prosecutions and how these issues could concretely be addressed.

In light of the discussions carried out on the previous day, the participants, divided into groups, were encouraged to put forward a number of concrete suggestions that would effectively enable the drafting of SOPs which are paramount to victim-centred investigations and prosecutions. Some of the main recommendations included:

  • Drafting SOPs and precise guidelines for interviews and investigations;
  • Establishing a specialized team of national experts to enhance legal research and training for specialized officials and front-line officers who deal with TIP cases on specialized interview techniques and victim identification;
  • Improving referral mechanisms through the establishment of a separate entity placed under the supervision of the judiciary system in charge of providing support and protection to victims of trafficking;
  • Improving the application of national legislations on TIP and promoting its understanding by relevant officials;
  • Promoting bilateral agreements with other countries to facilitate cooperation on TIP cases.

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 (2018-2022), €12 million 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 four countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Iraq and Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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.

This project is funded by the European Union.


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