Strengthening LE's Responce to HT Phase I
Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a multi-dimensional issue. It is a crime that deprives people of their basic rights and freedom, increases global health risks, fuels growing networks of organized crime, and is an obstacle to development. The impacts of human trafficking on the individual, family and society are devastating. Victims may suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, and threats against themselves and their families. Human trafficking undermines the health, safety, and security of nations and has long-term implications for all of society. The proliferation of trafficking in Armenia has been driven by a combination of factors: man made and natural disasters such as war and earthquake; transitional processes that shook social and economic conditions creating an increase in unemployment and poverty; porous borders; and weak legislative protection and legal processes.
Through initiatives by the Republic of Armenia and international actors an effective counter trafficking policy has been developed, legislative changes have been introduced, and many activities have been implemented.The Government of Armenia (GoA) has ratified relevant international counter trafficking instruments, including the UN Palermo Convention and Protocol, and the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Actions Against Trafficking in Human Beings. The GoA has introduced important changes in its own legislation, such as strengthening concepts of THB as they relate to criminal legislation and creating better defined criminal sanctions.
In efforts to comply with minimum international standards, the GoA cooperated in a joint UMCOR/United Nations Development Program (UNDP) program that started in 2004. Under this program, UMCOR developed many important components to prevent trafficking: specialized information materials, seminars, awareness campaigns, radio and TV information programs, a hotline, a victims’ shelter and drop-in center. Effective cooperation has been established with relevant state partners, including border guards, police, the Prosecutor General’s Office, social, health and labor authorities on national and local levels, as well as NGOs and international agencies. Victims of trafficking (VoTs), both men and women, have received various packages of assistance including shelter, legal consulting and representation in court; individual and group psychological therapies; medical assistance including hospitalization; and reintegration activities such as vocational skills training, job placement and financial assistance.
A safe, confidential shelter of UMCOR is providing medical, psychological, employment and legal counseling, as well as reintegration services, for victims rescued from trafficking. It can house eight to ten survivors. Victims stay in the shelter depending on the psychological and physical recovery they need.
In 2010, UMCOR was approached by the GoA to develop a joint model for a national shelter for VoTs with financial support from the GoA. This collaboration and the state financial support covers expenses connected with the shelter premise rent and continued in 2012 as well.
UMCOR also provides project beneficiaries vocational skills trainings and covers their living expenses until they would be able to earn money themselves. Reintegration services also include employment counseling, which refers victims to exsting resources such as governmental programs or projects of local and international NGOs for employment or vocational training. UMCOR staff conducts trainings on health related issues (Prevention of HIV/AIDS and STIs; reproductive health, etc.).
UMCOR maintained the toll-free hotline to prevent human trafficking and to assist VoTs by providing a variety of information to clients including advice about laws and rights of migrants in the destination country, how to access assistance in the destination country, and refer clients to available assistance for health, employment, shelter, medical and legal aid issues.
UMCOR anti-trafficking hotline
Strengthening Law Enforcement's Responce to Human Trafficking Phase I
Project Implementation Period: April 1, 2007 - March 31, 2008
Donor: The Department of States’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
To build the capacity of law enforcement by promoting a better understanding of the issues related to human trafficking and imparting knowledge of human rights principles as they apply to the provision of assistance to victims, as well as to cooperate with the State Police Department of the Republic of Armenia and civil society actors in order to better tailor the project to meet gaps in identification, assistance and referral of victims of trafficking.
UMCOR implemented the Strengthening Law Enforcement’s Response to Human Trafficking project in Armenia for frontline police officers with funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. Under the project UMCOR provided basic training in counter human trafficking, victim identification and referral to service providers. UMCOR conducted a training in order to ensure that the messages from the trainings were delivered to a wider group of frontline officers. UMCOR developed a guidebook on best practices for police officers, which includes a practical toolkit.
• 99 frontline police officers were trained in identification and protection of Victims of Trafficking. Those officers represented Yerevan and six Marzes (Syuniq, Vayots Dzor, Ararat, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik and Tavush Marzes). All of them hold positions in their local police departments, which are responsible for dealing with potential cases of trafficking.
• In close cooperation with the Department of Struggle Against Organized Crime of the Police, 15 most knowledgeable and active police officers were selected from the 99 police officers who received training during this project and were trained as trainers (ToTs) to have higher expertise on the issue of human trafficking and to be able to transfer this information to their fellow colleagues and coworkers.
• 3 roundtables with experts and 4 roundtables with regional stakeholders: Police, Investigation Departments, Prosecutor’s Office, Social and Employment Departments, and local NGOs were conducted.
• 10,000 leaflets were published and distributed.
• 1,000 brochures were published and distributed.
• 1,000 posters were developed, published and distributed to promote the campaign of human trafficking awareness.