Islamabad, Pakistan - 06 November 2020 - We know that women are underrepresented in institutions responding to human trafficking and migrant smuggling. To address the heavily gendered nature of both crimes, UNODC, under the EU funded Global Action to Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT – Asia and the Middle East), conducted from 2 to 6 November 2020 a training workshop for female law enforcement officers on “Investigative techniques in tackling human trafficking and migrants smuggling”. 17 female officers from the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Anti-Human Trafficking units and 8 female police officers of the Punjab police participated in the weeklong training.
Welcoming the participants, Jeremy Milsom, UNODC Country Representative said, “While UNODC’s work in combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) is directly relevant to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on the eradication of forced labour and human trafficking. At the same time the facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration is essential for decreasing profit opportunities for migrant smugglers and human traffickers. He further added “I feel honored today to address 25 police officers representing the FIA and the Punjab police. As a woman who is raising a family while pursuing a career you have the challenge of doing two full-time jobs at once. Yet your positions as police officers place additional burdens on you at work and at home, requiring you to intervene, console and protect other families while also maintaining peace within your community. I deeply admire the dedication, skills and enthusiasm you bring to both these tasks.”
The training focused on female law enforcement officers who, to date, had limited training opportunities on how to investigate both crimes. The training was delivered in a hybrid manner led by Martin Reeve, GLO.ACT Regional Advisor and a pool of national experts. As a pre-requisite to the weeklong training, participants had to complete several e-learning modules on TIP and SOM which ensured that the trainees, coming from different backgrounds and sections of the two different agencies (FIA and police) all had the same foundational knowledge about TIP and SOM.
Wajid Zia, Director General FIA, in his opening remarks, while thanking UNODC and EU said, “The presence of all these women law enforcement officers here is evidence of a strong partnership and a shared recognition in the indisputable correlation between women’s empowerment and global peace.” He further added, “During the past few years, our joint efforts have resulted in accomplishment of number of activities. These include development of Pakistan’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (2015-2020), enactment of TIP and SOM Laws in June 2018, representation in regional consultative meetings and workshops, capacity building of officials and institutional reforms. These efforts show our strong commitment to address problems related to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.”
Going beyond the classroom setting, 3 coaching sessions, each lasting 2 days, will complement the weeklong training and while the training followed a planned curriculum, the coaching will be semi-structured and responsive to challenges, needs and questions set by the participants themselves. All of the participants from the training course were invited to sign up for the coaching sessions. Using such a blended learning methodology the participants enhanced their understanding of TIP and SOM, gained a demonstrable understanding of international and national legal frameworks and increased their understanding and knowledge in areas of victim protection, interviewing skills and intelligence-led policing. The workshop also helped participants to understand human rights considerations and gender dimensions in human trafficking and migrant smuggling investigations.
Highlighting the importance of women’s role in policing, Androulla Kaminara, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan she said, “Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) is a global challenge. Along the international routes, organized criminal networks exploit vulnerable populations with the false promises to escape from poverty and conflict. The EU recognizes along with the UN that THB is a gender-specific crime. The UN Global Report on Trafficking in Persons states that women and girls represent more than 70 per cent of detected human trafficking victims over the last 15 years. Therefore, it is important to know the Human Rights and Gender dimensions to this crime.”
Seeking to address the gendered nature of human trafficking and migrant smuggling through the provision of specialized training for female law enforcement officers is a priority under GLO.ACT. GLO.ACT also hopes to encourage and support mid-level and senior managers to ensure that the training participants will, as a result of this specialized training, be given access to the full range of police duties.
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).
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 funded by the European Union.
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Ms. Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer
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