On the 30th of July 2014 a round table was organized on the occasion of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Belarus with the support of the International Organization for Migration and the UN Office in Belarus. The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was announced by the United Nations at the initiative of Belarus and for the first time this year is celebrated throughout world.
Attended by Mr. Valentin Rybakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nickolai Melchenko, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator / UNDP Resident Representative, and Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Mission in Belarus, brought together experts and officials from the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, concerned government agencies and law enforcements involved in combating human trafficking, representatives of national NGOs, international organizations and as well as foreign diplomatic missions.
The government officials informed the participants on national efforts undertaken by the Government of Belarus to fight human trafficking and shared their views on the perspectives of further efforts at the national and international levels. Civil society representatives referred to existing cooperation with governmental agencies and international organizations working in the sphere of counter-trafficking and provision of assistance to victims of trafficking (VoTs) and expressed their hope for further strengthening this partnership.
Z. Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Mission in Belarus, in his statement thanked the Republic of Belarus, its Foreign Service and the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking for the initiative of encouraging the UN to announce 30 Jul as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. He also pointed out the valuable work of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons in promoting a holistic and comprehensive approach to addressing the problems of trafficking in persons, and providing a proper protection and support to VoTs.
Mr. Hajiyev emphasized IOM’s role and amount of work it carried out in the filed of counter-trafficking over the past two decades: “IOM has built considerable counter-trafficking expertise, having accumulated this experience through implementing over 1000 counter-trafficking projects in over 100 countries since the early 90’s. Overall, IOM has assisted over 65,000 women, men, girls and boys victims of trafficking mainly for sexual and labour purposes. In Belarus, more than 2700 VoTs received assistance”. He shared also IOM’s views on the three areas that still require more concerted efforts to tackle the problem of human-trafficking: the challenge of identification of vulnerable migrants, the responsibility of the private sector, the need for more effective prosecution. Finally, Mr. Hajiyev reiterated IOM’s continued commitment to work together with all concerned parties, national and international, to make the fight against this heinous crime – human-trafficking more effective.
Tributes should be paid also to the Republic of Belarus, particularly to its Foreign Service, for their efforts to popularise the observation of this the newly declared day, the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, globally. Thus, representations and diplomatic missions of Belarus have organized, with the support of IOM and other UN-agencies, similar events in many other countries: in Azerbaijan, Hungary, Germany, Kazakhstan, China, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, etc.