UNODC delivers coaching sessions to female law enforcement officers tasked with responding to human trafficking and migrant smuggling

Islamabad, Pakistan - 30 March 2021 – A key aspect of the work under the Global Action to address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT – Asia and the Middle East) project is to address the underrepresentation of women working in and/or leading institutions responding to both human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and to help promote women’s full participation in professional life.

It is common knowledge that the recruitment of women for positions in law enforcement is only one of the challenges when faced with trying to address the gendered nature of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). Retention of qualified female officers can also be difficult, and testimonies suggest that underrepresentation, leadership and challenges with regards to work-life balance contribute to women leaving their frontline law enforcement roles.

Apart from making law enforcement agencies more demographically representative of the populations they serve, appreciating the distinctive skills female officers can bring to the role enhances the implementation of effective and gender sensitive responses to TIP and SOM.

To encourage enthusiasm and excitement about the contribution to law enforcement efforts and to address practical issues that female law enforcement officers face in their daily work, UNODC conducted a two-day coaching session from 25 to 26 March 2021 for female officers on investigative techniques related to TIP and SOM.

The coaching session, the first in a series of three sessions, was provided to the same cohort of women who participated in a 5-day UNODC led specialist training workshop on investigative techniques in November 2020. The aim of the coaching is to ensure that following training in November 2020, which focused on technical skill development, these sessions will further enable this cohort to utilise these skills to maximum potential in their daily work.

Martin Reeve, Regional Advisor, GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East, led the coaching session along with two national experts, Jawad Hussain, law enforcement expert from FIA and Qasim Khan, prosecution expert and an independent defence attorney. Unlike the training workshop, the coaching session went beyond the classroom setting, was semi-structured and responsive to challenges, needs and questions set by the participants themselves.

Upon conclusion of the first coaching session, one of the participants provided feedback stating, “I attended the weeklong workshop on the investigative techniques which was very useful and helped me with case handling. This coaching session allowed me to discuss the real time problems with the coach and in doing so guided me to identify solutions to the problems. I am thankful to UNODC for providing me with this great learning opportunity.”

18 female officers from the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Anti-Human Trafficking units and 6 female police officers of the Punjab police participated in the two-day long coaching session.

The next coaching session is scheduled to take place in July 2021.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.

The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality  considerations across all of its activities.

The project is funded by the European Union.

For more information, please contact:

Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer


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