India: Strengthening Stakeholder Cooperation to Counter Trafficking in Persons

   Delegates at the consultation

(Delegates at the consultation.)

Bhopal (India)/28 th February, 2019: Government officials and civil society experts from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra joined hands with UNODC to strengthen responses aimed at protecting and assisting trafficking survivors, at the first India Consultation on "Countering Trafficking in Persons" held in Bhopal on February 28.

Convened in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the consultation was the first in a series of five stakeholder meetings planned by UNODC to enhance understanding, cooperation and coordination on various aspects of address human trafficking, using a rights-based and victim-centred approach. The consultations will bring together Anti Human Trafficking (AHT) focal persons, and experts from key government ministries, law enforcement agencies, judiciary, civil society organizations, media and academia.

(Participants discussing key challenges and opportunities at the consultation.)

"Let's strengthen mechanisms to foster better coordination and cooperation between stakeholders & states to counter trafficking in persons," participants concurred during the discussions, while highlighting the issue as a serious threat to human rights and a grave global social challenge.During the meeting, participants exchanged insights on state-specific issues, including the latest trends and patterns of trafficking, good practices, responses and mechanisms to prevent and counter trafficking at the state-level, and the key challenges and opportunities within states.

During the discussions, the lack of strong victim witness protection mechanisms and isolated responses of key stakeholders were put forth as key challenges impacting the effective prosecution of trafficking crimes. Stressing that rescue and prosecution efforts were not at par with the changing dynamics of the crime, participants said, "Organised crime needs organised responses. It is vital to strengthen mechanisms for information sharing and coordination between states as well as stakeholders and create a database of missing people and traffickers."

Experts sharing their thoughts during the discussions

(Anti-trafficking experts from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra sharing their thoughts.)

Calling the findings of the latest UNODC Report on Trafficking in Persons "sobering", participating experts highlighted the need to break the silos and work together to counter human trafficking. "It is also crucial to focus on the areas of prevention and demand in developing impactful responses," discussants asserted.

(Participating experts addressing the gathering.)

Implemented as part of the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons, jointly with the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, this project contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

This activity was held in the framework of the UNODC project on "Strengthening the implementation of a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons."

The project is implemented by UNODC Regional Office for South Asia as part of the Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons, with the financial support of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund of the Government of United Kingdom.