The annual report of the National Coordinator on struggle against human trafficking was presented11.10.2010
Prior to discussing detailed annual report of actions taken in the field of struggle against trafficking in human beings in the Republic of Azerbaijan, I would like to remind brief view of ongoing processes in the context of settlement of the problem. It would be of great importance from more objective and real assessment viewpoint of state policy and concrete measures implemented in our country in comparison with international experience.
Current report comes across with a portentous event in the history of struggle against trafficking in human beings - global problem of the modern world. Thus, this year is the tenth anniversary of commencement of struggle against “misfortune” called as 21st Century Slavery by the world community. In 2000 the Law on Protection for Victims of Human Trafficking and “Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons”, which establishes criminal responsibility for that offence, were adopted by USA and UN accordingly. Formal meaning of the term “Trafficking in Human Beings” has been disclosed by this initially agreed Protocol, an international obligatory instrument. We can also say that the 2010 is a global reporting year – a year summarizing respective little world experience.
It is worthy of fact that the last decade is deemed as a start-up phase even for developed great countries in a period of assessment of actions taken on struggle against trafficking in human beings throughout the world. Moreover, just initial steps taken by most countries on struggle against modern slavery, as well as their incapability in preventing completely these gradually increasing crimes are mentioned.
The history of legal struggle against this problem in our country covers the last 7 years. What is the estimable case, Azerbaijan is one of the leading, the most active countries of the region pursuing true and progressive policy in the context of struggle against human trafficking. Adoption of one or more significant laws, decrees, orders, resolutions and other normative-legal acts per year within the past period once again testifies the governmental attention to the problem.
To this effect, measures for improvement of efficiency of the activity, protection and social rehabilitation of victims, coordination of related resources, performance of co-operation and enlightenment were carried on in conformance with the “National Action Plan for 2009-2013 on struggle against Trafficking in Human Beings”.
The Republic of Azerbaijan became a party to Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, “Rules for Accommodation and Protection of child victims of human trafficking” was approved by the decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers, amount of contribution paid to persons suffered from human trafficking in the reintegration period increased from 33 manats to 200 manats.
Meeting of the Commission for implementation of National Referral Mechanism discussed assistances to victims of trafficking in persons, measures taken on their protection, force-coming obligations and solution of existing problems. With the aim of performing the programs addressed to overcome social problems facilitating such criminal offences, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population developed draft documents and submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took necessary organizational steps to enhance cooperation of diplomatic representation and consulates of Azerbaijan in overseas with the bodies on struggle against trafficking in persons accredited in foreign countries, to assist repatriation of victims of trafficking in human beings and to provide with documents entitling them to repatriate. The actions taken in this direction include involvement of international support towards performance of the National Action Plan (technical, consulting, and financial if possible).
Mass actions were arranged, “152” Call Service preview trailers and documentary-detective films were presented in 15 towns and districts, as well as thorough information was provided about NGO Coalitions and activity of “Hot Line” and Accommodation on the basis of special program for performance of instructive measures in mutual cooperation with the Coalition of non-governmental organizations on Struggle against Human Trafficking.
Officials from the State Committee of the Ministry of Youths and Sport on Family, Women and Child Problems and from Human Rights Institution of the National Academy of Sciences arranged workshops on different topics for representatives of local executive powers, municipal and police bodies, educational, medical and job centers, including transport, youths and sport organizations and Mass Media in 39 towns and districts. In January of the current year special trainings were organized by joint cooperation of Judicial-Legal Council and “Azerbaijan Migration Center” Social Association for judges and by Women Lawyers Association for lawyers within the European Union Project.
Law-enforcement officers were involved in courses on the topics “First socio-psychological and legal assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings”, “Organization of Social Work” and “Recording shortages towards victims in courts”.
As a continuation of action taken within the program “Enhancement of Response Mechanisms on struggle against trafficking in persons”, special police officers attended round-table discussions, the second National Conference on the topic “Struggle against trafficking in persons and education” and trainings held in foreign countries, and gained related work experience of Great Britain, Sweden, Canada, Russia and the Ukraine.
In respect to improvement of efficiency of the international cooperation some meetings and consultations were arranged with experts from representations of UN, Organization for International Migration and International Labor Organization in Azerbaijan and US Embassy in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Cooperation relationships with related authorities of destination countries like the United Arabian Emirates, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, including UN, OSCE, Organization for International Migration, Interpol Secretary General, America, Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, China, Egypt and other countries were of more intensive and rational-character.
The drafts on “Strengthening Response Mechanisms on struggle against Trafficking in Human Beings”, “Enhancing Potential of the Country on Management of Accommodation and Hot Line for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings”, “Importance of Secondary School Education in Prevention of Human Trafficking in Azerbaijan” and “Prevention of child exposure to human trafficking” were debated within the mutual relations in our country.
By taking proper measures in the context of prophylaxis of child neglect, weekly workshops on the topic “Trafficking in Human Beings” were organized for 128 youths and teenagers graduating boarding school.
The actions taken within the project of the Organization for International Migration called “Development of Teaching Model on Trafficking in Human Beings in Secondary Schools” cover 17 secondary schools and lyceums, as well as children’s home and boarding schools of the republic and the capital.
Pupils and teachers were provided with detailed information and instruction about “Hot Line” service and dangers arising out of human trafficking. The teachers conducting “Human and Society” lesson in 9th and 11th forms of different city and district secondary schools were trained on the topic “Improvement of knowledge on human trafficking, its threats and implementation of potential preventive measures in this direction”.
Accommodation for children with all necessary facilities was established and put into operation under the Office on Struggle against Human Trafficking in 2009. The Ministry of Education allocated one secondary school and children’s home in the capital city to arrange continuation of the accommodated children.
During the raids carried out by the police in the past period of this year, 611 underage were identified who had been undergone to street life and involved in beggary and illegal labor. The investigations had not testified them as victims of human trafficking. But judicial procedures were taken about the parents, who had not obeyed their obligations towards education and upbringing of their children and had involved them in illicit labor.
All the actions conducted and their results were covered by distinct Mass Media.
The modern form of slavery, i.e. human trafficking is considered as a dynamic and sensitive crime which promptly reacts supply and demand of “black market”, non-stability of economy, gaps in legislative acts and sanctions with no strict sufficiency. According to reports made by international organizations, 12,3 million persons were victims of such offences in 2009 throughout the world, 56 percent of which had been girls and women. Criminal networks generate revenues of 32 billion dollars with the “human being as a commodity”. Last year compared to 2008, 56 percent or 49.105 persons increment was noted in the number of victims of human trafficking, and correlation of victims per 1000 capita is 1,8 person (In Asian and Pacific countries – 3 per 1000 person).
In this respect, motives of human trafficking, identification and prevention of its stimulating factors, bringing crime organizers and other participants into question are kept in the focus of attention with the aim of systematic performance of forthcoming obligations.
Taking into consideration high-level latency in human trafficking, day to day activity is improved in the direction of criminological investigations and informative-analytical action for their detection. Taken reasonable steps necessitate implementation of preventive measures for supervision of operative condition, follow-up of development tendencies and in time identification of victims of crime on different groups of population.
Thanks to operative and preventive actions taken within 9 months of 2010, 63 human trafficking related facts were noted, 5 criminal groups were neutralized, and in general 29 criminals were exposed. 13 out of criminals, who had been announced internationally wanted for illegal actions of this kind, were retained and handed to investigative bodies, and at the present-moment search is carried on for another 43 men.
25 out of 32 victims of human trafficking were placed in accommodations, and were reintegrated into society by providing them with legal, medical and psychological assistances. A part of the victims were taken to the job, others were attracted to vocational courses and awarded to proper certificates. 5 juveniles under the patronage of such persons were placed at boarding school and 5 in kindergartens by the Ministry of Education by providing them with proper assistance. Lump Sum allowance was allocated for 27 persons, and victims were assisted by the Relief Foundation, and material damage inflicted to 6 persons out of these crimes was reimbursed in the court process. 12 persons contributed discovery of these criminal offences were rewarded by the Ministry of Interiors.
Today Azerbaijan is a country of origin and transit for some related victims. According to investigations, 23 victims were taken to Turkey, 4 to the United Arabian emirates, and 3 to Iran. One out of these victims gained vocational education, 3 enjoyed uncompleted secondary education, 19 had secondary education and 9 had not studied.
71 criminals were called to account by detecting 115 social morality related illegal actions, as well as 52 stimulating facts of prostitution, 63 bawdy houses related crimes. Considering that circa 500 women are not excepted to be potential victims who retained because of social morality related illegal actions, they were involved in inquiries on each indicator, but were not found to be victims of trafficking in human beings.
Within the past period of the current year, 11.994 calls were dialed to “Hot Line” phone service on different problems like human trafficking, bawdy houses, employment in foreign countries, study, problems arousing out of marriage with foreigners etc.
Moreover, I would like to stress that forced labor was noted only in the past period of this year as this illegal action is deemed non-characteristic for our country. Employment of the citizens who come from different regions of Azerbaijan in the capital city and other towns in industrial, building and service fields is an integral part of interstate migration processes, and is not assessed as obligatory exploitation of people.
With regards to overcoming all types of human trafficking in our country, there is strong political will which guarantees reasonable implementation of recommendations of international organizations and measures arising from the National Action Plan. For this purpose, and with the aim of performing requirements of international instruments to which Azerbaijan is party, we have close and effective cooperation with competent state authorities, civil societies, some UN Member States and international organizations. And the most significant factor leading to positive results of the related field activity is to reach political stability, democratic development and provision of high economic prosperity and social welfare.
Dear Mr. Chairman!
Thanks to special attention of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan Republic, towards reliable protection of human rights, some legislative acts regulating struggle against human trafficking, as well as important laws on migration, gender equality, domestic violence and other problems have been adopted by the Parliament within the last five years.
The previous period has also been typical for implementation of numerous qualitative measures on struggle against trafficking in human beings and arrangement of coordinated cooperation of state structures. I feel grateful for Your direct participation, business and efficient cooperation in such actions of great significance, as well as express my deep gratitude and wish success to representatives of civil society and Mass Media in their future business.
Thank You for Your kind attention!