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11 Apr 2019

OSCE welcomes Belarus’ efforts to promote joint response to human trafficking

OSCE welcomes Belarus’ efforts to promote joint response to human trafficking
Valiant Richey and Alena Kupchyna. Photo courtesy of OSCE

MINSK, 11 April (BelTA) – During the 19th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference in Vienna, OSCE Acting Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey pointed to Belarus’ leading role in strengthening international response to human trafficking, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Embassy in Austria.

One of the panel discussions of the conference dealt with harnessing the power of technology to identify victims, carry out investigations and punish human traffickers. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Austria, Belarus’ permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna Alena Kupchyna.

Speaking at the session was also representative of the Belarusian Investigative Committee Galina Suzdaleva. She emphasized the need to expand international cooperation not only when it comes to dealing with individual incidents of human trafficking in the internet. Collaboration is also expected to help enhance competences of law enforcement agents and help exchange best practices in using information products and search engines. Galina Suzdaleva invited partners to take part in international events on combating trafficking in persons that will take place in Belarus in 2019.

On the sidelines of the conference, Belarus’ Permanent Delegation to OSCE and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime arranged a parallel session to discuss ways to challenge trafficking in underage persons in the digital era. One of the speakers was Larisa Belskaya, Head of the Department on Multilateral Diplomacy of Belarus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She emphasized the relevance of international cooperation and coordination of efforts of governments and international organizations in combating sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. The diplomat urged meaningful action to improve international and national laws, to build workforce capacity and expand awareness raising campaigns. In her view, partners from the private sector and civil society should be involved in efforts to combat cybercrime against children.

During the discussion of the role of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) in combating human trafficking at global and local levels, the Belarusian delegation suggested that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as the ICAT coordinator should draft an analytical report on the state of affairs in this field by the 20th anniversary of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Belarus’ strong leadership in promoting international cooperation in combating human trafficking was acknowledged by representatives of foreign states and international organizations, including Valiant Richey, OSCE Acting Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, and John Cotton Richmond, the United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Taking part in the conference were the State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia, the OSCE Secretary General, OSCE ODIHR Director, delegations from 57 states, representatives of international organizations and NGOs involved in combating human trafficking. 

The Alliance against Trafficking in Persons is a broad international forum that includes international, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations in joining forces to prevent and combat human trafficking.

Belarus is actively involved in the work of the Alliance. The country maintains close contacts with the OSCE Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking. Belarus is part of all UN universal conventions aimed at combating trafficking in human beings and trafficking-related crime.

Anti-trafficking efforts are high on the country’s national agenda. The country passed the Law on Combating Human Trafficking and is implementing measures to protect and assist trafficking victims.

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