Human trafficking: Azerbaijan remains on the second level

Baku/02.07.18/Turan: The Azerbaijani government has not fully introduced minimum standards to combat human trafficking, but at the same time is making efforts to do so, stated in the annual report of the US State Department "Trafficking in Persons Report-2018."

The report was published on June 30 on the official website of the department ( Extensive material reflects a global study conducted in more than 160 countries around the world. The income from illegal human trafficking in the world is about $ 9 billion, according to the report. 77% of the victims of modern slavers are women, 33% are children, the report reads. In 87% of cases they are used for sexual exploitation.

This year, like the previous five years, Azerbaijan is classified as a risk group and is included in the second category of states where this shameful phenomenon has not been eradicated, and the work in this area is not yet meeting the necessary requirements.

"Azerbaijan remained at the second level. The authorities stepped up efforts to create centers for the provision of specialized services to victims of trafficking, to support effective cooperation with civil institutions. The government cooperates with NGOs, organizes awareness-raising campaigns. However, this is not enough, the country does not meet the minimum standards of prevention of this dirty business," the report says.

Law enforcement authorities do not understand enough the importance of the problem of human trafficking, there is no ability to investigate cases of human trafficking, especially outside of Baku, i.e. in the regions of the republic. There are facts of insulting and ignoring the victims of trafficking by local police and prosecutors. Sometimes the investigation of crimes is not carried out consistently, with violation of standard operating procedures. In addition, the Interior Ministry often does not accept victims who do not cooperate with the law, and the government has not provided funding in shelters operating with NGOs.

According to the State Department report, 71 victims of trafficking in human beings were identified last year (70 victims in 2016). 66 women victims of trafficking, used for sexual purposes, five men were forcibly employed. The positive point is that no children trafficking were identified in 2016 and 2017. Among the officially registered victims of trafficking were foreign citizens from the CIS countries.

Finances. The report reads, that the government allocated 150.5 manat ($ 88,030) per victim of trafficking. This indicator decreased in comparison with 154 manat ($ 90,060) in 2016. In the shelter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, these people were provided with housing, financial, legal, medical and psychosocial support. In this complex there are separate areas for women, men and children, but they are limited in freedom of movement. Victims must file an application to leave the shelter.

The new Center for Specialized Rehabilitation Services for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings was established in Goychay. Civilian institutions also provide similar services, but NGOs continue to have an acute shortage of funds, restrictive measures on foreign grants, there is no possibility of obtaining funding from foreign donors. Most NGO shelters that provided victim assistance services worked on a voluntary basis.

"Over the past five years, Azerbaijan has been a supplier, transit country and destination country for men, women and children who have been subjected to forced labor and sexual slavery. Azerbaijani men and boys are subjected to forced labor in Turkey, Russia, United Arab Emirates and in the republic itself. Women from Azerbaijan are exposed to sexual trafficking both within the country, and in Malaysia, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. Azerbaijan is a destination country for sex and labor citizens from Ukraine, China, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In previous years, Azerbaijan was used as a transit country for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and Central Asia-UAE, Turkey and Iran. Inside the country, some children, including gypsies, are forced to begging and labor as roadside sellers," the State Department report notes.

The report also gives recommendations to Azerbaijani NGOs and government agencies to improve the situation in the fight against human trafficking. It is noted that in order to solve this problem, it is necessary to increase the rights of the relevant authorities in the matter of prosecuting and convicting traffickers, improve coordination of activities in combating human trafficking, provide assistance to victims of trafficking, especially children, to provide first aid to victims of domestic violence without requiring them file a formal complaint with the police, etc.--0--

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