03 July 2004

Office holds anti-trafficking training in Armenia

Human trafficking is a serious problem in Armenia. Many stories circulate about Armenian women who have been invited to work in the UAE as housemaids or waitresses, but have found themselves working in unofficial brothels. Their passports have been detained and, if they showed any kind of protest about their miserable situation or attempted to escape their pimps, they were threatened that police will be notified and subsequently they will be facing long term jail sentences, losing even the small sums of money they have been allowed to collect from their work as whores.

This inhuman situation has been changed recently through Armenian and UAE governmental cooperation in this respect. Information about the war against women trafficking could be found now in Armenian language. AZAD-HYE.

YEREVAN, 29 June 2004 - A three-day training session on human trafficking started today in Yerevan for experts and interviewers from two local non-governmental organizations that are carrying out a survey on trafficking in Armenia. The training is organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan and funded by the US State Department.

The training session will concentrate on best practices in research on trafficking in human beings and will also include a session on the methodology of a train-the-trainers component. The two local NGOs conducting the survey are the Armenian Sociological Association and the Armenian Relief Society.

"There is disturbing anecdotal evidence that Armenia is both a country of origin and transit for trafficked human beings, but there is no actual data about the scope of the problem," said Blanka Hancilova, the OSCE Office's Democratization Officer.

"The objective of the NGO survey, which is the most comprehensive one so far conducted in Armenia, is to close this gap. The information gained will be shared with the Armenian authorities, civil society and international organizations and should serve as a basis for policy decisions on the issue," she said.

As part of its anti-trafficking strategy, the OSCE Office has supported the development of a National Plan of Action for the prevention of trafficking in persons and organized several seminars on the issue.

At present a team of national experts is working on analyzing gaps in the existing legal framework, with special emphasis on victim and witness protection. An international expert from the Italian Prosecutor's Office will join the team in September to share international best practices in dealing effectively with trafficking, corruption and organized crime.


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