Regional Counter-Trafficking Conference in Tbilisi

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 Nov 01, 2019

IOM and the Ministry of Justice of Georgia recently organized a Regional Counter-Trafficking Conference in Tbilisi. The conference “Preventing and Combatting Trafficking for Labour Exploitation: Challenges and Best Practices” provided an opportunity for the representatives of governments, civil society and international experts to discuss the existing challenges in the field of identification, combatting and prevention of trafficking for labour exploitation, share best practices and plan coordinated responses.

IOM is actively engaged with governments, civil society and the private sector in addressing gaps in the recruitment processes and in protecting the rights of migrants in search of better economic opportunities.  Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus have progressed in combatting human trafficking, adopted specific legislation and created national coordination and referral systems for victims of trafficking. Despite the progress, more remains to be done.

Human trafficking with the purpose of labour exploitation remains the main purpose of trafficking in the region.  Therefore, recommendations include suggestions to increase labour inspections capacities to identify and report human trafficking. Common trends and gaps in the region call for coherent and coordinated regional response, in order to consolidate national efforts, exchange strategies and create synergies among all stakeholders. The governments of the participant countries expressed their interest in enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation, calling for increased contacts among policy makers, law enforcement officials and NGOs.

During the conference, which took place on October 24-25, representatives of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe and the Council of Europe visited Georgia and shared their experiences with the participants.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Sabine Machl, Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia Gocha Lordkipanidze, Ambassador of Norway Helene Sand Andersen and IOM Georgia Chief of Mission Sanja Celebic Lukovac welcomed the conference participants. Sergiy Nizhynskyi, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, which is the coordinating body of counter-trafficking activities in Ukraine, was among the conference participants and spoke about the National Referral Mechanism of Ukraine.

During the two days, conference participants presented best practices of the participant countries, jointly discussed existing challenges and came up with recommendations.

The event was implemented in close cooperation between IOM and the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Norway under the Regional Counter-Trafficking Programme. The aim of the programme is to strengthen cooperation and dialogue between the governments and enhance counter-trafficking efforts in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The regional approach compliments national efforts of each country to improve response to trafficking in human beings and protect trafficking survivors.