National Coordinator on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, police General-Lieutenant, Mr. Vilayat Eyvazov’s Annual Report on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings07.04.2017
The regular plenary session of the Milli Majlis was held on April 7. The National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, First Deputy Interior Minister, Lieutenant General of Police Vilayat Eyvazov made a detailed report at the meeting.
We bring to your attention the text of that report.
Dear Mr. Chairman!
Dear Parliament Members!
As is known, trafficking in human beings is perceived as a serious transnational threat by most countries and international organizations. In this view, the regular measures implemented since 2004 on the basis of national action plans approved by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan have resulted in success in prevention of the illegal actions and their criminal prosecution, and in cooperation with You, many topical issues have been addressed.
Approximately 80 legislative acts and other secondary laws have been adopted over the past period by considering the best practices of foreign countries and feedbacks of specialized international organizations.
Only during 2014-2016, at the period when Third National Action Plan was implemented, 20 projects have been funded by the Council on State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations and 182,000 AZN was allocated for the purposes.
Hundreds of awareness-raising events, trainings and workshops have been organized in all cities and regions of the country to inform the communities about the dangers caused by human trafficking. As a result of investigative work, 399 respective acts of crime were identified, 26 criminal groups of 58 persons were smashed.
102 persons were attracted to criminal responsibility for the offences, and reintegration of 187 victims of human trafficking into society was provided. Within the preventive measures 558 crimes against public morality were revealed and 332 persons brought to responsibility.
Relevant organizational and practical measures taken by the Prosecutor General's Office, Ombudsman's Office, the Ministries of Justice, Health, Foreign Affairs, Transport, Communications and High Technologies, Labour and Social Protection of Population, State Customs Committee, and the State Migration Services, as well as by non-governmental organizations and local executive authorities were routinely continued during the reporting period.
First of all, I would like to bring to your attention that the petitions filed relate to improvement of the legal framework were considered by taking into account proposals of the state bodies and foreign partners involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Thus, a new Article 123-1 which stipulates granting 30 days of recovery and reflection period in order to allow the victim of trafficking to take a considered decision has been added to the Criminal Procedure Code; and a new provision prescribing responsibility of operators and providers to ensure safe access to internet information resources for children has been included to the Law "On Telecommunications".
Under the relevant decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the State Social Protection Fund under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population is authorized to take measures on social rehabilitation of victims, establish assistance centers and supervise their activities.
Along with this, draft laws provide for issuing permits for temporary residence in the country to foreigners and stateless persons cooperating with criminal prosecution bodies, as well as legal liability for use of services of human trafficking victims have been prepared and submitted to the relevant authorities.
In the reporting period, awareness-raising activities were kept in focus due to emergence of new types and methods of human trafficking, regular change of risk group and other significant factors.
Pursuant to the joint action plan of the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Education, appropriate events on the topic of protection of children from human trafficking were conducted in 54 cities and regions of the country by involving over 70,000 pupils of upper secondary schools with participation of parents, psychologists, and representatives of commissions on child affairs under the executive powers.
Similar measures were also organized in administrative areas where internally displaced persons are settled, boarding schools and vocational schools with participation of law enforcement officials, medical staff, officials of social protection and employment agencies, as well as entrepreneurs, and mass media.
During the meetings arranged in some universities, the participants were demonstrated films and theater performances about human trafficking; furthermore short films and social videos were screened on different TV channels and Internet.
Relevant information is regularly posted on the website of a special police unit to disclose anti-trafficking measures to the broad public. In general, all the executors of the National Action Plan have been closely involved in actions carried out and 15 non-governmental organizations, which have a meaningful job, were rewarded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Over the reporting year, the staff of the Main Department on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings was involved in over 40 workshops, conferences and trainings organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and international organizations, in addition qualification courses for the staff and military servicemen of the State Customs Committee, State Migration and State Border Service were organized.
At the same time, the Police Academy trains students on legal aspects of trafficking in human beings, its criminological features, prevention and disclosure tactics, whereas Azerbaijan Tourism and Management University, State Universities of Baku, Ganja train students on how to combat human trafficking, and how to render psychological assistance to trafficking victims.
Dear Parliament Members!
Measures to develop international relations, one of the key elements in combining efforts and strengthening capacity of law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking in the countries of origin, transit and destination have also been taken.
Broad interactions on the prospects of cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and other issues specifically with UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, European Union, GUAM, Islamic Cooperation and International Organization for Migration, specialized international organizations, representatives of US Department of Justice, US and Israeli embassies in Azerbaijan have been carried out .
The meetings were held with heads of the relevant authorities in Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Islamic Republic of Iran which are considered to be the countries of destination, as well as the matters relate to intensification of information exchange, arrest and extradition of accused persons hiding in those countries were kept under control.
In addition, a workshop on investigation of human trafficking crimes and coordination issues with participation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, International Organization for Migration, US Embassy Baku and International Development Agency, as well as in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic a conference dedicated to the “World Day against Trafficking in Persons” was held.
In the event organized with the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and support of OSCE Human Dimension Committee, the foreign partners have been fully informed about the situation relate to implementation of country's international commitment to combat human trafficking.
The staff of a special police unit was involved in experience exchange in a number of European countries within projects of international organizations, and acted as trainers in the trainings.
Preventive and control measures have also been taken to eliminate the causes of and conditions for forced labor which is of widespread form of human trafficking.
Although the facts of involvement of foreigners in forced labor upon appeal of the Delegation of the International Organization for Migration in Azerbaijan have not been detected; administrative penalty against 90 people violated the requirements of the relevant legislation was applied.
It should be noted that removal of 5,523 foreigners from the territory of the country who have violated the rules of residence in the country during the last year played a valuable role in prevention of involvement of migrants in forced labor.
On the other hand, during the raids carried out by police authorities together with representatives of relevant agencies and non-governmental organizations, about 600 underage children subjected to street life, begging, and illegal labor were identified. As a result of carried investigations, presumption that they are victims of human trafficking and forced labor was not confirmed. However, administrative measures were taken against 240 parents who have involved their children in unlawful acts, and over 300 materials were sent to the commissions under the local executive powers for consideration of relevant social problems.
Special monitoring teams have monitored living conditions of over 200 children in foster families and provided essential social and medical assistance to them. In general, purposeful execution of confronting tasks preconditioned control over the criminogenic situation, timely identification of the victims and taking preventive measures.
During the reporting period, 147 crimes of human trafficking and forced labor were revealed which is 30% higher than in 2015, and 19 facts of falsification of ID cards with the purpose of human trafficking were detected.
For those crimes, 38 persons (31 female and 7 male) were attracted to criminal responsibility, 15 criminal groups (+2) were smashed and 10 wanted persons were detained.
69 out of 70 (69 female, 1 male) victims identified were Azerbaijani citizens and 1 was a foreigner.
63 victims and 7 presumed victims of human trafficking and forced labor were accommodated in shelters and awarded lump sum benefits at the amount of 400 manats for each, 25 of them were provided with job, 38 were attracted to vocational courses, and 54 victims were returned to their families. All the victims were rendered state-funded medical, psychological and professional legal assistance during preliminary investigation and judicial trials.
31 underage children under the guardianship of victims were attracted in various educational programs with the support of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, social problems of 5 children were solved, and 7 children were placed in a shelter under the "Azerbaijan Children Union". 153,000 AZN was allocated from the budget of the Ministry of Internal Affairs only for social rehabilitation of the victims, including their accommodation in shelters and awarding lump-sum allowances.
Approximately 15,000 applications received by the “Hot line” service on labour activity and education abroad, marriages with foreigners, domestic violence, and temporary registration of migrants, adoption and other issues were investigated and necessary measures for each of them were taken in accordance with the legislation and initiators were provided with necessary explanations.
The effectiveness of the actions to combat human trafficking and forced labor in the country has been specifically emphasized in the relevant documents of the Council of Europe, OSCE and other influential international organizations.
The results of global anti-trafficking actions show that no state is immune to the problem and can take effective countermeasures acting alone.
Dear Parliament Members!
According to the reports of international organizations, averagely 13,000 cases of trafficking in human beings are prosecuted annually across the globe and about 6,000 persons committing the crimes are brought to trial.
51% of 56,000 identified victims are female, 21% are male and 28% are children. 58% of the victims are exploited by criminal groups and organizations by using over 570 routes to transfer them to other countries.
Financial crisis in the world, growing geography of armed conflicts, and accordingly increasing demand for cheap labour and emergence of an unmanaged migration flow play an essential role in the further deepening the problem.
All of this, by making human trafficking more accessible and attractive for criminal network, opens new opportunities for expanding the areal of forced labor, organized and forced begging, exploitation for terrorism purposes, organ transplantation and other types of trafficking.
The findings of investigations carried out by investigating agencies of most states show that trafficking in human beings, including selection, sending, lodging, deployment, exploitation, income distribution of victims – the criminal activity as a whole is organized and managed under the umbrella of transnational organized criminal organizations.
However, it should be noted that as a result of decisive actions taken since 2005, when the fight against trafficking in human beings started to be implemented within the legal framework, up to now criminal activity of international criminal network was prevented in the country, and during the period 1,056 crimes and 746 victims were identified, and 479 persons brought to court.
Presently, strong political support of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev in implementation of important actions arising from the National Action Plan, elimination of social problems that create conditions for human trafficking, comprehensive reforms to improve well-being of the population and steps taken to strengthen law enforcement activities allow to organize prevention and prosecution of the stated crimes at a high level, to shield from appropriate threats, to safeguard the legitimate interests of our citizens.
During the current year, we have to fulfill the tasks such as conducting regular awareness-raising about threats of human trafficking, strengthening cooperation between state bodies and civil society institutions, improving the legal mechanisms, capacity-building of the staff, raising operational capacity, strengthening international relations to the high quality level, etc.
At the end of my speech, I would like to express my deep gratitude to you, esteemed Parliament Members, representatives of civil society institutions and our national media for your support in the implementation of state policy in this important area, for your fruitful cooperation that greatly benefits our common work.
Thank you for your attention!