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13 Oct 2015

Minsk hosting expert meeting on human trafficking 13-14 October

MINSK, 13 October (BelTA) – The role of non-governmental organizations in combating trafficking in human beings is discussed in Minsk on 13-14 October, BelTA learned from Svetlana Matskevich, PR manager at international non-governmental organization Gender Perspectives/La Strada Program.

Partaking in the meeting are representatives of 18 organizations from Belarus, the Netherlands, Moldova, and Ukraine. The event is timed for the EU Anti-Trafficking Day celebrated on 18 October. It is expected to draw public attention to this pressing problem and its social consequences.

Yelena Nesteruk, the head of La Strada Belarus, noted that the problem of trafficking in human beings remains acute despite all the international efforts. According to the estimates of the International Labor Organization, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor across the world. Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.

Yelena Nesteruk added that if previously the most common form of human trafficking was sexual exploitation, today there is an increase in cases of trafficking for forced labor.

Head of La Strada Belarus emphasized that thanks to the joint efforts of the Belarusian government and NGOs the overall number of human trafficking victims in Belarus is decreasing. NGOs provide significant assistance to the victims, conduct awareness campaigns, seminars, lectures, and trainings for vulnerable groups and specialists.

Since trafficking in persons often involves cross-border smuggling of people, it is important to discuss cooperation between NGOs providing assistance to victims of trafficking. The participants of the international roundtable in Minsk will discuss interaction and partnership in combating human trafficking and ways to ensure better access to justice for victims of this illicit industry. They will also share best practices in monitoring the compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings ratified by Belarus in 2013.

La Strada Belarus Program is part of the international network addressing trafficking in human beings in Central and Eastern Europe. La Strada specialists have been providing assistance to Belarusians who find themselves in crisis situations abroad for more than 14 years.

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