Archive for June 12th, 2013


Human Trafficking training – Ukraine

June 12, 2013

I find myself heartened somewhat by a Ukrainian government policy!

As chair of OSCE, yesterday Ukraine called for a joined-up, comprehensive strategy and legislative foundation to combat the totally abhorrent issue of human trafficking.

As somebody who has a great interest in human trafficking – particularly from/to/through Odessa – I cannot in anyway pooh-pooh such a call.  The EU strategy is fine, but not all OSCE members are EU members and it is an issue that affects the entire continent (like every other continent).  Personally I would be quite happy to see the issue subject to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – but perhaps that bar is set too high given it only deals with the most grievous offences against humanity on a truly massive scale perpetrated by a very select and well known few.

However, whilst I do applaud the quite necessary Ukrainian call for a comprehensive OSCE strategy at an institutional, international – thus by default national – and legislative level,  enforcing and adhering to any such strategy through such mechanisms is but part of the necessary package in such a fight.

Prevention and victim support are also two very necessary accompanying working parts of any such mechanism, deserving of equal attention, financing and awareness campaigns.  In fact, an effective policy would work by prioritising prevention, then protection/victims support and lastly concern itself with prosecution.

Thus, I was further encouraged by the Ukrainian declaration that Ukraine will, forthwith, begin to train border control staff in spotting potential victims – and in many cases they are not difficult to spot.

However, the state institutions and authorities whilst the first line of detection are not and cannot be the be-all and end-all.  For a start, one of the obvious indicators of trafficking is the victim is indeed the fear of the authorities and state institutions.  There are other obvious signs at points of entry and egress – but this is not a training site for the Ukrainian authorities – so there is no need to detail them all.

Just as importantly for a Ukrainian internal strategy is an awareness campaign amongst landlords, hotel staff, medical staff, police, housing authorities, pub, club and bar owners, NGOs and civil society that deal with domestic violence, prostitution, truancy  etc – as well as the general public (similar to the AIDS/STD campaign regularly on Ukrainian television) with a well publicised hot-line to report suspected incidents – or indeed for victims themselves to call if possible – and this is writing in broad brush-strokes without going into the nuts and bolts.

As you can tell I can go on and on with regards to creating and implementing an effective human trafficking strategy and awareness campaign – and I feel as though I am starting to go on and on – so I will stop.

Anyway, something positive from the government of Ukraine both on an international and domestic level for a change!


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