Bhutan: Police, government and prosecutors join hands against trafficking


Paro/ 12-14 June, 2017: In a major boost to multi-agency cooperation, representatives from the police, government and judiciary joined hands to discuss effective measures to counter human trafficking at a recent three-day training workshop held in Paro, Bhutan.

The fourth training organised by the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia brought together a group of 27 senior officials from the Department of Immigration, National Commission for Women and Children, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Bhutan Police and the Office of the Attorney General.

Seeking to enhance awareness and understanding of participants, the training covered nine modules on diverse thematic areas such as the phenomenon of human trafficking, international and national legal frameworks, and co-operation in investigation and prosecution of cases. Complex issues such as interviewing victims as witnesses, identification and treatment of victims, court processes and witness management were also discussed during the program. Case studies were also introduced after each of the modules to facilitate an open and interactive dialogue between officials.

In an interesting development, labour officials sought the opinion of other participants on a case of child labour and abuse that was reported to them earlier. Following a thoughtful discussion, officials from the Police, Office of Attorney General and Immigration agreed to cooperate to rescue the child with mutual assistance. It was proposed that the police rescue the child after acquiring a court order by the Labour Ministry, following which the child would be sent to a shelter home until the case was closed.

In this way, the training provided multiple avenues to discuss and resolve real cases through joint efforts, besides enhancing understanding among participants about the dynamics of issues faced by law enforcement agencies.  Following the tremendous feedback on the program, it was suggested that similar trainings also be arranged for junior officers and supporting staff, given their close involvement in such cases.