September 26, 2014
World Wide Woe
Human trafficking as one of the most dangerous types of transnational and organized crime and as a problem occupying the minds of the entire world community requires joint efforts by law enforcement agencies, local authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the general public, and a more enhanced international cooperation in this field. This has been stressed during an international seminar held recently in Tashkent to address issues pertaining to the improvement of institutional mechanisms to combat human trafficking with an analysis of national experience and international practice.

The event was organized by the Republican Interagency Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, Prosecutor General’s Office and the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan and sought to exchange views on enhancing the effectiveness of the fight against this criminal phenomenon, and draw a comprehensive and detached analysis of our country’s experience in this area for the world community.

The occasion was attended by deputies of the Legislative Chamber and members of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, officials from courts, law enforcement agencies, judicial schools, research institutions, civil society and the media of our country, as well as the heads of foreign representative offices of NGOs, experts from international organizations accredited in Uzbekistan, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the European Commission, USAID, the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation.

The experience of Uzbekistan on the development and implementation of complex organizational and legal measures aimed at improving the legal framework and practice in counteracting human trafficking has been scrutinized during the seminar.

Uzbekistan has ratified such United Nations conventions like the one on suppression human trafficking, against transnational organized crimes, on elimination all forms of discrimination against women, on rights of the child, on abolition of forced labor and other documents, constituting the legal basis of the comprehensive international approach concerning the maintenance the rights of men, women and children. This approach incorporates measures on combating illegal drug trafficking, protection of victims and imposing a penalty upon the offenders.

With a view to implement international standards into the national legislation has been carried out a huge lawmaking work.

The Law on Countering Human Trafficking adopted by our country in 2008 has become an important factor of further deepening the measures on combat and avoidance human trafficking and has defined the legal basis for regulating the relationship in this sphere, elevated to the governmental level questions on providing assistance and granting protection to the victims of human trafficking.

In accordance with the Law the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a Decree adopted in 2008 ‘On measures to improve efficiency in the fight against human trafficking ‘ which approved the National Plan of Action to combat human trafficking for 2008-2010, moreover in order to coordinate the work of bodies directly involved in anti-trafficking, the Republican Interdepartmental Commission to Combat Human Trafficking has been formed and it main functions are identified in the aforementioned law. It should be noted that presently in the country is implemented the third program ‘The action plan on further enhancement the effectiveness of the fight against human trafficking for 2013 - 2014 years’.

Noteworthy that the commission is formed by not only the heads of governmental and law enforcement agencies but also non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, including the Women’s Committee, the National Center for Human Rights, Commissioner of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman), ‘Mahalla’ Fund , public youth movement ‘Kamolot’, center ‘Ijtimoiy Fikr’ and others. All the ministries, state committees, departments, public associations and other NGOs should obey the decisions taken by the commission. Organizing activities aimed at improving the effectiveness of efforts on identifying and removing the causes and conditions conducive to human trafficking, collection and analysis of information on the extent, conditions and trends of the crime are the main tasks of the body. Taking into account the prosecutor’s coordinating role in fight against the crime, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan gas been appointed as a chairperson.

Permanent analytical working groups have been established under the republican and interdepartmental territorial commissions. In state agencies directly involved in combating human trafficking have been formed working groups and their future tasks have been defined.

In addition, as part of the legislation perfection process in 2008 was adopted the Law on Amendments to Article 135 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan, previously provided for the responsibility for the recruitment of people for the exploitation. The novelty has not just changed the name of the article to ‘Human Trafficking’, but also has brought into line its disposition parts with the conventional regulations and toughens the penalties for this crime.

The country using various forms of propaganda has deployed a campaign on public awareness not only of the legal framework but also of the specific facts of human trafficking and its negative consequences.

Balanced and adequate policies on combat illegal labor traffic, introducing amendments and addenda to the Criminal Code, creation of specialized operational units in the system of the competent authorities of Uzbekistan, working out documenting techniques allow for revealing the hidden and carefully disguised schemes of modern ‘slave trade’, setting the maximum number of victims, exposing transnational criminal organizations and prosecuting traffickers by the name of legal measures.

The participants of the forum have noticed that a special attention in our country is paid to providing assistance and protection to the victims of human trafficking. The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan in pursuance of the Law on Countering Human Trafficking on November 5, 2008, adopted Decree on the Formation of the National Rehabilitation Center for assistance and protection of victims of human trafficking. The Center in collaboration with the government and public associations provides services to victims irrespective their citizenship. The main objective of its activity is an elimination of discrimination of trafficking victims and providing them with social and legal support.

Uzbekistan in the fight against human trafficking has been collaborating with operational services of other countries` law enforcement agencies, implementing joint projects with international organizations. Moreover the state delegates regularly participate in international conferences, seminars, round tables and in other events on the subject.

The seminar participants have also discussed international legal regulations and standards on the resistance human trafficking, foreign experience in the field of crimes prevention and criminal justice in this area, promising forms of mutually advantageous international cooperation of forensic and law enforcement bodies.

Thus, Ruth Freedom Pojman (USA), the deputy coordinator of the office of the special representative and coordinator for combating trafficking in human beings, has presented an advanced experience the OSCE member-states, the challenges and trends in this field.

Marc Granius, senior specialist of USAID in Uzbekistan has shared the US practice on social partnership between NGOs and the state in this frame.

International consultant on human trafficking issues Joanna Vrabec has acquainted the participants with a topical statistics on the national and international levels. Meanwhile the member of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Moldova Maria Gervas has touched upon the issue of training judges.

The practical part of the international forum has been the most saturated.

Its participants have visited and familiarized with a work of the National Rehabilitation Center for assistance and protection of victims of human trafficking at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Centre for social and legal assistance to minors under the office of internal affairs of our capital and Tashkent city territorial office of the interdepartmental commission on combating human trafficking.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)


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