Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

West and Central Asian Countries are Committed to Boost Efforts in Addressing the Issue of Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants in the Region

As a follow up to the recommendations agreed at the 2019 regional workshop on disruption of  illicit financial flows derived from trafficking in persons,  West and Central Asian countries gathered in Nur-Sultan on 16-17 November 2021 to discuss legal challenges in the practical implementation of the anti-human trafficking legislation at national and international level, as well as opportunities for synergy  to improve access to financial intelligence data and analysis and to enhance inter-agency cooperation.

The Regional Workshop on "International and Regional Cooperation to Disrupt Illicit Financial Flows Derived from Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants was organized in a hybrid mode jointly with the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the support of the UNODC Global Action Against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (Glo.ACT), the Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) and experts from Western Union on 16-17 November 2021 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan with some countries joining online.

At the opening, Mr. Nurlan Daniev, Deputy Director of the Institute of Vocational Training of the Regional Hub for Countering Global Threats of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted that “…effective countermeasures to trafficking in persons should be comprehensive, thus, effective financial intelligence and analysis will support criminal investigation to understand the root causes of the issue.”

In this regard, Mr. Danilo Campisi, Coordinator of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries stressed: “the critical role played by the private sector, in particular, the banking and financial institutions, and the importance to strengthen public/private partnership to ensure more effective and focused financial investigations”.

Countries acknowledged that the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementing Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Trafficking in Persons Protocol) provides a universally accepted international framework to tackle the issue of human trafficking, but there is a need for an effective mechanism to improve and strengthen partnership. The key outcome of the event, agreed upon by all countries is the establishment of an informal network of experts on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants under the leadership of the Regional Hub for Countering Global Threats of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the support and assistance of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. Countries believe that this mechanism will significantly contribute to building bridges among the West and Central Asian countries and to promote coordinated strategies in addressing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the region. 

During her presentation, Ms. Zhanar Seitayeva, Associate Professor of the Institute of Vocational Training noted the importance and urgency of establishment of a regional network of West and Central Asia under the leadership of the Regional Hub for Countering Global Threats of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan" for coherent and coordinated efforts.”

At the end of the workshop, a regional ‘FIU to FIU’ meeting took place during which the countries shared information on the Memorandums of Understanding signed in the region since the COVID-19 pandemic as well new ones negotiated, as well as information shared on Suspicious Financial Transactions. 

UNODC thanks the Government of Finland for funding the event.