Bhutan: UNODC builds stakeholder capacities and strengthens public awareness to counter Trafficking in Persons

Samtse, Mongar and Phuntsholing, Bhutan/28 December 2022:  In December, a series of two-day trainings on countering Trafficking in Persons in Bhutan was organised, in collaboration with the Department of Law and Order, Government of Bhutan. The trainings focused on the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to protect and assist victims and strengthen cooperation and coordination.

Over 100 officials from local government, civil society, healthcare, and judiciary from the Samtse, Mongar and Phuntsholing districts of Bhutan participated in the discussions.

Held in both English and Dzongkha languages, wide-ranging discussions were held on legislative provisions, forms of forced labour, victim support, modus operandi, stages of trafficking, cybercrime and the impact of social media among others.

UNODC experts and participants exchanged case studies pertaining to trafficking in Bhutan, included reports of sexual exploitation and bonded labour to gain understanding of patterns and trends. The need for more awareness programs at the grassroots level, with simplified messages for the general public, was emphasised.

Special awareness programs on countering Trafficking in Persons were also conducted for over 394 students and educators in the Samtse and Mongar districts, raising awareness of Trafficking in Persons and exploring ways to address the problem.

The discussions focused on raising awareness on the issue with examples and good practices in protecting and assisting victims

Since 2019, UNODC is working cooperatively with eight government entities in Bhutan and parts of local government to enhance multi-stakeholder responses to prevent and counter trafficking in persons and strengthen capacities of law enforcement, community leaders, young people and criminal justice officials.

This activity contributes to SDG 4, SDG 5 and 16:

(Supported by US Department of State/JTIP)