Workshop “Early identification of victims of human trafficking in mixed migratory flows” for relevant actors

In the context of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, the International Center La Strada developed guidelines for the identification of victims and alleged victims of human trafficking in mixed migratory flows and invited representatives of law enforcement bodies and public institutions to a workshop to build the capacities of specialists for early identification of victims of human trafficking within the massive flows of displaced persons from Ukraine.

Representatives of administrative authorities with anti-trafficking functions who showed openness and interest in participating in the event were the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases, the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, the General Inspectorate of Border Police, the Bureau for Migration and Asylum, the National Agency for Social Assistance.

The guests of the event, Jana COSTACHI, State Secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Alexandru MOLCEAN, Senior Program Manager at U.S. Embassy in Moldova, welcomed and thanked for the initiative of the International Center La Strada to organize the event, at the same time confirming the timeliness and need to strengthen capacities for early identification of victims of human trafficking.

“The migration flow of people differs from all the contingents of foreign persons on the territory of Moldova. Until recently it was known with certainty what tools can be applied to identify a victim of human trafficking early, but now they are not applicable for the contingent of refugees from Ukraine on the territory of the country. Especially given that a large part of refugees uses the territory of the country for transit purposes. Thus, we find multiple cases of trafficking at the border.

“At the same time, we have no classic cases of identification of victims or potential victims of human trafficking immediately after crossing the border or during interaction with them. But that doesn’t rule out that such potential victims exist.

“In conditions of war, new tools are needed, which would allow potential victims to identify themselves and seek help, to identify which groups are the most vulnerable, because the network of public and non-public institutions, including private ones, with which refugees from Ukraine interact is so wide and vast that classic partnerships between institutions may not allow them to reach potential victims of human trafficking immediately.

“Taking into account all challenges, speaking of the guidelines, it would be necessary to have a period of evaluation of this instrument in terms of its efficiency.” Jana COSTACHI, State Secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs

“Moldova is a possible country of transit or destination for refugees from Ukraine, which is why it is especially important to adapt so that we can be more efficient in combating human trafficking. The need to develop the guidelines appeared not in February this year, but in 2019. At that time, a study found that there were not enough instruments and a legal framework aligned with the need to respond to cases of human trafficking committed on the territory of Moldova against foreign citizens.” Elena BOTEZATU, President, International Center La Strada.

During the workshop, the relevant actors received and appreciated information on the early identification of human trafficking victims among migrants and foreign citizens and on granting them access to the necessary assistance and protection. They also discussed the gaps and barriers in identifying human trafficking victims among migrants and foreign citizens, exchanged opinions and established points of convergence regarding the development of cooperation in this field.

After the Guidelines are approved, a piloting session will be carried out in order to adapt them to the needs of beneficiaries.

The recommendations of the workshop participants included developing institutional capacities by training specialists on how to proactively identify victims and potential victims of trafficking, ensure subsequent access to necessary assistance, identify trusted persons who could possibly accompany victims, etc.

The event was organized as part of the project “Strengthening the national response to combating trafficking in Moldova in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine”, implemented by the International Center La Strada with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Moldova.


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