GLO.ACT partnership receives a new impetus in Belarus

Minsk, Belarus, 18 January 2019 - The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) is a response to modern challenges posed by trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM). To be successful in addressing these crimes, we need to ensure that coordination and partnership is at the core of project implementation in Belarus. This was the key message of Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev, United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) Chief of Mission in Belarus, that echoed through an inaugural two-day partners' meeting on 14-15 January in Minsk, Belarus.

Hosted by IOM Belarus, the meeting brought together GLO.ACT focal points from IOM, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), European Union Delegation to Belarus and the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the project's principal national counterpart.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to creating a consolidated work plan for GLO.ACT Belarus to present to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. All GLO.ACT implementing partners worked together to review the 2019 work plans and identify potential areas for cooperation, while avoiding duplicating activities of other agencies.

The international round table on national referral mechanisms (NRM), protection and reintegration of victims of trafficking and irregular migrants in the Republic of Belarus scheduled for March 2019, is the first in a series of events that will benefit from contributions and expertise by GLO.ACT implementing agencies and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The roundtable will serve as a platform for mapping the existing cooperation mechanisms in Belarus, identifying the gaps and developing recommendations to meet the international NRM standards. The involvement GLO.ACT partners and stakeholders will guarantee a comprehensive approach to NRM development in Belarus.

UNICEF's work contributes to GLO.ACT's response in Belarus with a systematic approach that has a strong prevention focus. The work foresees three interlinked directions, namely building coordinated responses to combatting violence against children with a special focus on sexual exploitation and abuse; enhancing a child-friendly justice system; and generating statistical evidence on migration and overall child rights.  Their work in 2019 will address both capacity building and strengthening of the national hotline service for children victims of violence, promotion of a safe and enabling environment in schools and responses to ensure Internet and Cyber safety, building up a national dialogue with government and civil society partners to expand restorative justice responses for children that create more opportunities for protection, and the provision of statistical evidence for informed policy development.

Meanwhile, in coordination with UNODC, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will benefit from five training workshops, covering identification and documentation of TIP and SOM cases, trafficking for labour exploitation and combatting online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The particular relevance and timeliness of the latter topic was highlighted by Ms. Olga Stankevich, Head of Unit of Interaction with International Organizations, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs who underlined that the sexual exploitation of children online is a new issue for Belarus and capacity building interventions on this topic are very welcomed by the Ministry. She also reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to continue cooperation under the umbrella of GLO.ACT.

To conclude the meeting, Ms. Outa Hermalahti from the European Union Delegation to Belarus noted that while the project is not new, the partners' meeting gave it a new impetus in Belarus. 'We do not want to miss opportunities in Belarus not only because the needs are high, but also because we have all key ingredients for effective implementation, including the commitment from the national stakeholder and established mechanisms of project coordination' she said.   

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

IOM Belarus: Tatiana Verigo tverigo@iom.int

UNICEF Belarus: Marina Ananenko mananenko@unicef.org

UNODC Vienna: Elena Nyanenkova  nyanenkova-lowry@un.org

European Union Delegation to Belarus: Outa Hermalahti outa.hermalahti@eeas.europa.eu

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/glo-act/

Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter:    @glo_act