Strengthening LE's Responce to HT Phase II
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 II
Project Implementation Period: December 10, 2008 - December 9, 2009
Donor: The Department of States’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
The overall goal of the project was to improve law enforcement’s response to human trafficking in Armenia. UMCOR contributed in the strengthening the capacity of law enforcement, in particular investigators and frontline police officers, to adequately respond to human trafficking through the application of effective investigation techniques and victim protection mechanisms based on a human rights approach.
• To increase the capacity of investigators to effectively manage human trafficking cases.
• To strengthen links between regional frontline police officers responsible for identification and protection of victims of trafficking and the Department to Combat Drug and Human Trafficking.
• To strengthen cooperation between frontline police officers and investigators dealing with human trafficking cases.
The project was a logical continuation of "Strengthening Law Enforcement's Responce to Human Trafficking - Phase I" project by strengthening cooperation among frontline police officers from the Department to Combat Drug and Human Trafficking, which has staff in each marz, and the Central Investigation Department, which is involved in the investigation of human trafficking cases. The aim of the project was to increase the knowledge of investigators from the central and regional police departments on how to identify and manage human trafficking cases. UMCOR applied the same methodology as under its Phase I project to train investigators in victim identification and referral, as well as on modern investigation techniques. In addition, the project attempted to create synergy in understanding and development of common conceptual approaches among different law enforcement departments. The project enabled police officers and investigators to deal with allegations of human trafficking crimes and victims of trafficking in a professional and appropriate manner during all phases of law enforcement response.
• Up to 50 investigators from the Central Investigation Department and the regional police departments were provided with general training on the legal definition of human trafficking, international legal instruments for combating human trafficking and other UN and regional instruments, methods of identification and protection.
• Up to 15 police officers from Phase I were provided follow up training on recent developments in AT area.