Human trafficking happens in every country in the world. At any given time there are around 21 million of victims of human trafficking. Combating human trafficking was reflected in Sustainable Development Goals listed in the Agenda 2030.
On 27th of July Minsk hosts a press-conference dedicated to the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to highlight once again the importance of the problem and to attract attention of general public to the issues.
At the press-conference were discussed main issues and current trends and achievements in the field of combating human trafficking.
Representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior of Belarus (MFA and MoI), as well as representatives of IOM and UNDP took part in the event.
Andrei Saladovnikov, representative of MoI, paid attention to the fact that in Belarus typical forms of human trafficking are sexual and labor exploitation that remain unchanged since 2000.
Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Minsk Mission, highlighted the large experience of IOM in the field of counter-trafficking and gave some statistics for 2015: IOM provided assistance to 7000 victims of trafficking globally. 85% of identified cases are international and 74% identified cases are related to labour exploitation. In Belarus IOM has been implementing counter-trafficking projects since 2002. Since that time IOM has provided assistance to more than 3300 victims of trafficking.
“This year IOM celebrates 65th anniversary globally and 20th anniversary in Belarus. A lot of achievements have been made, but we have still a lot to do in the future”, said Zeynak Hajiyev. On behalf of IOM Mission in Belarus he expressed readiness to further strengthen cooperation with Belarus providing comprehensive support and assistance to the Government of Belarus in the fields of counter-trafficking and migration governance in general.
Ekaterina Paniklova, UNDP Deputy Representative informed all participants and guests about forthcoming projects and expressed hope that implementation of those projects will give new working places, which will empower Belarusians to improve their economic status without leaving abroad. Basically, it means that, as a consequence, the risk of being trafficked will decrease.
MFA admitted that the scale of the problem of human trafficking is much larger and in reality figures differ from official statistics due to current migration processes caused by armed conflicts and crisis in the world.
Viktor Kolbanov, Secretary General of Belarus Red Cross Society (BRCS), informed that during last six years BRCS has been implementing projects on human trafficking, including project implemented jointly with IOM. At the moment BRCS activities in this field aimed at prevention of pedophilia.
This year IOM launches a new information campaign IOM X, the slogan of which is “STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING”. Why “X”? The “X factor” is a unique quality you can’t describe, but is very special. IOM X is harnessing the X factor to help in the prevention of exploitation and human trafficking.
IOM X is the International Organization for Migration’s innovative campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.
The campaign leverages the power and popularity of media and technology to inspire young people and their communities to act against human trafficking. It is expected that the campaign will become a platform for preventive events in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus and for engagement of other governmental agencies, NGOs, business representatives and media persons.
IOM X is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and has global character. Initially, the campaign was aimed at Asia Pacific region. In 2016 Belarus has joined IOM X campaign and has become the first country out of the AESAN region that supported IOM X campaign.
Moreover, under campaign there were produced three information cubes with the information about IOM X, human trafficking and preventive measures. The cubes will travel around Belarus and will stop at cities and towns for a 2-week period in each one to engage young people to participate in the events of the campaign.
The event is held within the framework of the joint ITA projects “Strengthening the National Capacity of the Republic of Belarus in the sphere of combatting Trafficking in Human Beings” and “Promotion of International Cooperation in the sphere of combatting Trafficking in Human Beings” implemented by the Government of the Republic of Belarus with the organizational and financial support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) , United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).