On August 1 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a briefing dedicated to the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Representatives of various government agencies, civil society organizations, diplomatic corps and international organizations as well as representatives of private companies which supported the Youth Summer Camp “Learn. Act. Share” and Camp participants discussed the problem of modern slavery.
Valentin Rybakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, pointed out the necessity in cooperative efforts and importance of complying with all international legal instruments on combating modern slavery, in particular, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons complementing the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The Deputy Minister also noted that it is important to prevent demand by means of criminalization of human trafficking and related crimes and to raise public awareness of the problem.
We should ensure comprehensive and effective international coordination of efforts to combat trafficking in persons; enhance international cooperation at the operational level. We should at least try to boycott those products manufactured with the use of labor exploitation and forced labor. We should take any necessary measures to protect victims of trafficking and provide all necessary assistance to them.
Mr. Rybakov also highlighted that it was the first time when the issue of modern slavery is discussed not only with traditional partners but also with business representatives.
The Government and business can jointly combat trafficking effectively, especially when we speak about trafficking in persons in terms of supply chains.
Gennady Kazakevich, Head of the Main Directory for Drug Control and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the Criminal Police, MoI of the Republic of Belarus, paid special attention to the fact that in Belarus an effective counter-trafficking system had been created. The MoI has several times amended the Penal Code of the Republic of Belarus:
6 crimes covering all types and forms of modern slavery have been included in the Code.
Mr. Kazakevich also shortly presented the International Training Centre for Migration and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. This year the Centre celebrates 10th anniversary. During this time hundreds of specialists were trained at the Centre in related fields.
Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Mission in Belarus, paid attention to the issues of victims’ identification since
despite all efforts reintegration assistance is provided to only 1% of victims.
Moreover, Mr. Hajiyev stressed the necessity to improve preventive measures in order to eliminate the demand and to unite efforts and enhance partnership between all stakeholders. As an example of the latter Chief of Mission told about a recent joint initiative of IOM, MoI and MFA of the Republic of Belarus — Youth Summer Camp “Learn. Act. Share”. The project was implemented with the support of the UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNHCR Offices in Belarus, UN DPI, USAID as well as private companies, such as Ligaturaprint, Logoton, Nota Kitchen Media Prodution, Epam Systems.
You can find more information about the Camp here .
Representatives of UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and UNHCR pointed that trafficking in persons is closely intertwined with other related problems that’s why it is important to use a comprehensive approach to tackle these problems.
Contribution of civil society organizations in providing reintegration assistance and preventative activities should be acknowledged as well. Elena Nesteruk, Manager of La Strada Belarus Programme IPA “Gender Perspectives” told about the role of civil society organizations in counter-trafficking efforts and informed that through hotlines on safe migration that are managed by IPA “Gender Perspektives” and PA “Business Women Club” more than 60 000 people were consulted on issues of safe travel abroad for free.
At the briefing the participants had a chance to watch the video about Youth Summer Camp “Learn. Act. Share” dedicated to the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
Eugene Bulka, special guest of the Camp, Eugenia Lesnikova, one of 18 Camp participants and representatives of private companies that supported the Camp shared their impressions and emotions about this project. At the end of the briefing representatives of these companies were awarded with certificates of appreciation for their contributions to organizing the Camp.