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New Joint Project on Preventing Human Trafficking Launched

21 July 2009: The joint project of the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “Preventing, Fighting and Addressing the Social Consequences of Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Belarus” was officially launched yesterday at the National Press Center.

The project will enhance the national capacities in fighting human trafficking through preventive measures and better protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. The funding for the project of 1,334,550 Euro has been provided by the European Commission, UNDP and UNICEF. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus in partnership with other state governance bodies, NGOs and international organizations.

Mr. Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine and Belarus, Mr. Antonius Broek, UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus, Mrs. Irina Chutkova, UNICEF Programme Coordinator in Belarus, and Mr. Sergei Koltun, National coordinator of the project, Deputy head of the Department on Drugs and Trafficking in Human Beings of the Criminal Police of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus shared information about the project goals, tasks and major avenues of activities.

Mr. Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira noted at the start of the press conference that “Trafficking in people, particularly women and children, is a global problem that has considerably grown for the past decade. The European Union countries in partnership with UNDP and UNICEF take active efforts to fight this scourge”. He expressed hope that the new project would turn out to be as much a success as the first European Commission and UNDP project “Combating Trafficking in Women in the Republic of Belarus”, which was implemented in 2003–2005.

Mr. Antonius Broek pointed out in his speech that the fight against human trafficking, if it is to be successful, requires joint and comprehensive efforts from the state, civil society, and the international community. He said, “UNDP supports the Government of Belarus by enhancing strategic partnerships and national capacity building in the sphere of fight against human trafficking”. The UNDP Representative also pointed out that the new project would enhance the national capacity of Belarus in fighting human trafficking through development of prevention mechanisms, improving protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.

Mr. Broek said, “The problem of human trafficking is likely to be aggravated by the current world economic crisis and this calls for more urgent and proactive measures to reduce people's vulnerability to trafficking. The project will therefore also contribute to generating part–time and long–term employment for women and young people – the most vulnerable groups on the labour market”.

Mrs. Irina Chutkova in her turn underscored the vitality of the project activities aimed at tackling the problem of trafficking in children. She informed that the project would undertake a comprehensive review of the situation in the sphere of trafficking in children in Belarus. Also planned are specialized trainings and professional development courses for teachers, social trainers and workers on prevention of human trafficking and work with victims of trafficking. The project will also organize a large–scale awareness raising campaign for young people on human trafficking and the ways to prevent it. “The project will contribute to strengthening international cooperation for prevention, criminal prosecution and punishment of persons responsible for deeds related to trafficking in children”, she said.

The National coordinator Mr. Koltun pointed out that the goal of enhancing the potential of national institutions in improving rehabilitation and supporting victims of trafficking makes the project of great social importance. “It is important to note that the project activities correspond in many ways with the recommendations on development of an effective and efficient mechanism of rehabilitation of victims of trafficking, which were elaborated by order of the President of Belarus, agreed with all stakeholders, including representatives of international organizations, and are being implemented”, he said.

For more information please refer to the Project PR Specialist, Alexander Novikov, ph. (029) 671 88 91, e–mail .

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