NEWS AND EVENTS
February 21, 2008
On efforts to combat trafficking in persons
The Government of Uzbekistan pays substantial attention to the dangers posed by illegal migration of citizens abroad with the purpose of exploitation and concrete measures to prevent it have been undertaken.
Particularly, to coordinate actions in this sphere Uzbekistan has become party to basic international documents making the legal base for comprehensive international approach to the issues of ensuring the rights of men, women and children. These documents include measures on struggling against illegal trafficking, protecting victims and punishing those who deal with this type of criminal activity:
-UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (December 9, 1992);
-The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (May 6, 1995);
-Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (May 1, 1998);
-UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime dated December 13, 2000, New York (ratified by the Parliament of Uzbekistan in August 30, 2003. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children has been adopted in June 28, 2001);
-Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others and Final Protocol (Decree of the Parliament # 576-Ï dated December 12, 2003).
Moreover, the Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a Decree # 19 “On organizational measures of implementation of Hague Convention” dated May 18, 2000.
To improve efforts on prevention of illegal trafficking in persons and related violations following documents have been worked out in 2007:
-draft Law “On struggle against trafficking in persons”;
-draft Law on amendments and addendums to the Article 135 (recruiting persons for exploitation purposes).
In August of 2003 on the initiative of the Ministry of Interior and aiming at timely reaction to criminal aspects of migration of citizens an Agreement on cooperative activity on confronting trafficking in persons with NGO “Center for development of human resources” has been reached.
This document provides for conducting wide range of educational activity among population especially youngsters, improving forms and methods for preventing violations related to trafficking in persons.
In April of 2004 under the Criminal Investigations and Antiterrorism Department of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Special Unit to fight against recruiting and illegal exploitation of people has been established. Similar Units have been created in territorial branches of MOI. They are tasked with identifying those who deal with recruiting people for exploitation purposes and citizens who have been taken outside the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Under MOI’s Main Department on Prevention of Violations Special Unit on Prevention of Violations Related to Recruiting People for Exploitation Purposes and in the sphere of moral has been established.
Similar services are functioning in territorial branches of MOI.
Undertaken organizational measures have intensified the activity of MOI aimed at suppressing illegal trafficking in persons. Main focus here is prevention that is of prophylactic and operational as well as investigative nature.
In 2007 investigators of MOI have filed 273 criminal cases under the Article 135 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. As a result, 303 people have been brought to criminal trial and their cases have been transferred to courts. Among them are 161 men and 142 women.
Currently 66 convicts are imprisoned under the Article 135 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In 2007 under the Pardoning act 2 convicts have been released from jail, imprisonment terms for 15 convicts have been reduced.
During the investigations of such nature investigators of MOI have identified reasons and conditions leading to committing a crime and on each of the criminal case appropriate recommendations on elimination of those conditions have been introduced to specific local bodies (Makhalla committees, local governing bodies and former work place of convict).
Moreover, in 2007 territorial branches of MOI’s Main Department on prevention of violations has intensified efficient interaction with mass media.
As a result, newspapers and magazines have dedicated 360 articles to the problems of trafficking in persons. MOI experts have participated in 184 TV and 793 Radio programs on this issue.
During 2007 officers of National Security Service (NSS) took part in the five meetings of interagency working groups on the issues related to suppressing trafficking in persons. They discussed the toughening of the punishment for individuals involved in trafficking in persons. Particularly, the following issues were discussed: “amendment to the Article 135 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan”; “the project of the OSCE Coordinator in Tashkent on preventing and suppressing trafficking in persons”; the agreement between Republic of Uzbekistan and Russian Federation “About cooperation in combating illegal migration”; and the measures undertaken by Law Enforcement agencies in combating with the people’s illegal recruitment and their exploitation”.
In cooperation with NSS the assistance to forty victims of illegal trafficking was provided. Because of their testimonies the criminal investigation was launched against 23 people – organizers of trafficking corridors. All of them brought to trial.
Based on the materials presented by NSS 21 video films were broadcasted. 13 articles which aimed to disgrace the activity of organized criminal groups, specializing on recruitment and trafficking local people to foreign countries for labor and sexual exploitation were published.
During this period, Law Enforcement agencies of Uzbekistan and NGO “Istiqbolli Avlod” provided assistance for 21 victims of trafficking, who were taken out from Uzbekistan by deception and suffered sexual exploitation.