Workshop on combating human trafficking for territorial commissions in the context of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

“Identifying cases of human trafficking in the context of mixed migratory flows. Risks and vulnerabilities of refugees and displaced persons in the context of the war in Ukraine” was the theme of a workshop for members of territorial commissions for combating human trafficking.

The event is part of a series of five regional workshops, organized in the context of marking the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July, and is organized by the International Center La Strada in partnership with the State Chancellery, as part of the project “Prevention and response to refugees’ vulnerabilities to abuse and exploitation in Moldova”, implemented with the support of War Child Holland.

The purpose of the event is to empower the territorial commissions to carry out their tasks of preventing and combating human trafficking at local level by providing up-to-date information in order to respond promptly and appropriately to the risks to which displaced persons may be exposed.

Present at the official inauguration, the organizers and representatives of international anti-human trafficking structures in our country addressed greeting messages.

Elena Botezatu, Executive Director of the International Center La Strada Moldova: “This year, given the enormous flow of displaced persons from Ukraine to Moldova, but also their vulnerability to various forms of abuse, the organization I represent has focused all its efforts in order to mitigate the risks and challenges of human trafficking for Ukrainian refugees. This first event, from a broad agenda of events on the occasion of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, organized by us in collaboration with the State Chancellery and the participation of local level commissions, comes from the desire to provide a categorical response to fight human trafficking at any level and to consolidate all powers to provide resources and support appropriate to the context and new challenges.”

Anna Antonova, representative of the International Organization for Migration in Moldova: “The International Organization for Migration has been active in Moldova since 2000. We get involved in anti-human trafficking cases locally and internationally. We provide support to the Government, local public authorities, NGOs and to those who face this phenomenon, i.e., we helped over 3,000 people here in the last 22 years.

“The risks of human trafficking increase in the event of a crisis, caused by war in this case, and keep growing as long as the crisis lasts.

“The role of local people involved in this process is crucial, as from Chisinau it is harder to see what is happening in the regions. Our support in regions is done through you, dear members of the local commissions, and this event makes it possible to revitalize our communication.”

Martina Bogdeva, representative of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency: “According to government statistics, currently more than 87 thousand Ukrainian citizens are on the territory of Moldova and more than half a million have crossed the border of the country. Human trafficking is facilitated by the flow of people circulating. Our mission is to prevent these cases. The fact that the number of reported trafficking and abuse cases is small does not mean that they have disappeared. It means proper prevention and vigilance, through information and capacity building.

“Localization is very important in such cases. We must ensure that prevention and response actions are implemented and take root locally, in the communities where refugees are accommodated.

“There are eight refugee assistance stations currently throughout Moldova and, as the number of refugees and the need for first aid decreases, they will be transformed into community centers, which the members of the local commissions will be able to use for organizing information and awareness-raising events.” 

Subsequently, during the workshop, participants were familiarized with the content of the National Report on the implementation of the policy on preventing and combating human trafficking 2021; aspects of national policies in the field of social protection of foreign citizens – victims of crimes, including trafficked persons; the findings of the report on the analysis of the regulatory framework and the practice of providing services aimed at social (re)integration of victims of human trafficking in Moldova; the Government’s efforts on the coordinated response to the humanitarian crisis; the situation of human trafficking in Moldova and the readiness to face new challenges, including those related to control at the state border and combating of illegal migration in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine, as well as legal issues and procedures regarding the employment of refugees, migrants and foreign citizens in Moldova.

Background: In 2021, state institutions identified and investigated 357 cases of human trafficking, including 335 adult victims and 22 children.

Moldova is the country of origin of human trafficking victims, and labor exploitation prevails, the majority of victims being men (215), and cases mostly targeted EU countries. 

In the case of children, girls prevail (21). Geographically, in the case of children citizens of Moldova subjected to trafficking, the Russian Federation prevails.

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