GLO.ACT training strengthens law enforcement capacity in Belarus

Minsk, Belarus, 14 March 2019 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), and in collaboration with the International Training Centre for Migration and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (ITC) of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, organised a three-day training course the identification, detection and investigation of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) in Minsk from 26-28 February 2019. 27 people participated in the training, including four women, representing the capital city Minsk and five regions of Belarus.

The Republic of Belarus is often referred to as a bridge between West and East and some exploit its geographic position to traffic and smuggle people through Belarus to countries of the European Union. During 2002-2018, the Department for Drugs Control and Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Internal Affairs identified 5679 victims of human trafficking, including 5041 for the purpose of sexual exploitation and 635 for forced labour (3 victims were trafficked for other purposes).  In 2018 alone, the Ministry of Internal Affairs identified 1751 cases of human trafficking and related crimes.

'Belarus is one of the first countries in the former Soviet Union that recognised the problem of human trafficking and immediately responded with a set of comprehensive actions' stated Mr. Tsaun, deputy head of the Department for Drugs Control and Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in his opening remarks to the participants of the training course. 'Our country is a party to all conventions of the United Nations relating to human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and the only non-member of the European Council that joined its Convention Action against Trafficking in Human Beings', Mr. Tsaun continued. Ms Anna Tsitisina, Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention Officer, UNODC reinforced the message by reminding participants of Belarus' chairmanship at the 2019 Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which in itself reaffirms the strong stance of the country against human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

To enhance the local ownership and sustainability of GLO.ACT results, the programme of the training was designed in close cooperation with the ITC and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  This approach ensured that training sessions are tailor-made and correspond to needs and expectations of the target audience. Built around three substantive streams - international and national anti-trafficking legal instruments; anti-human trafficking cooperation and coordination among competent authorities of the Republic of Belarus; and practical cooperation of relevant law enforcement bodies, non-governmental and international organisations, the role of international NGOs in combatting human trafficking - the training combined expert presentations, discussions, experience sharing among participants and practical solutions offered by invited speakers.

The roster of speakers combined both UNODC and local experts. On day one of the training, UNODC representatives provided a detailed overview of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the protocols thereto were later discussed vis-a vis-national anti-trafficking legislation in Belarus. Furthermore, as for many it was the first UNODC training, participants appreciated learning about the repository of UNODC anti-human trafficking instruments and tools developed for criminal justice practitioners as well as the law case database on human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

The second day of the training focused on cooperation and coordination among competent authorities of the Republic of Belarus. As the theme suggests, all speakers were local experts representing the investigative committee, criminal police, the General Prosecutor's Office, the State border committee, the Ministry of Health and the national bureau of Interpol. The presentations on this day were of practical nature providing concrete recommendations for improving cooperation and coordination between competent authorities of Belarus. For instance, Ms. Suzdaleva from the investigative committee outlined in detail current challenges in investigation of TIP cases and shared recently developed step-by-step algorithm for detection of TIP-related crimes and prosecution of offenders.

GLO.ACT partners, IOM and UNICEF, joined the last day of the training to speak about the roles their organisations play in countering human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and highlight key achievements in implementing GLO.ACT in Belarus.

The training culminated with the award ceremony where all participants received State recognised certificates of Professional Development and GLO.ACT certificates of training completion.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

UNODC Vienna: Elena Nyanenkova  nyanenkova-lowry@un.org

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/glo-act/

Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter:    @glo_act