OSCE appraises Azerbaijan’s efforts to combat human trafficking

By: Sara Rajabova

Madina Jarbussynova, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, praised the Azerbaijani government for its progress in the fight against human trafficking.

Ambassador Jarbussynova was in Azerbaijan for four days to assess the country’s implementation of the anti-trafficking recommendations made in the official report issued after the OSCE’s visit in 2012.

“I would like to commend the valuable efforts undertaken by the authorities,” Jarbussynova said at the event on March 13. “I would like to particularly highlight recent legislative amendments to improve the government’s response to trafficking in human beings.”

The measures strengthening criminalization of human trafficking and forced labour, as well as the adoption of rules on the repatriation of victims, are two of the key changes in the legislation.

Azerbaijan’s growing economy has made it a more attractive destination for labour migrants and the country now faces the challenge of preventing and combating abuse and exploitation of migrant workers. This includes adapting its regulatory framework and enforcement mechanisms to a complex and ever-changing reality.

The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Baku has enjoyed excellent co-operation with the government and continues to provide substantial support to efforts by the state and civil society to combat trafficking in human beings.

“In line with our Office’s 2012 recommendations, more efforts have been made to prevent labour exploitation and I encourage the authorities to continue inspections, without prior notice, of sectors at-risk, such as construction sites” Jarbussynova said. “I am pleased to report that Azerbaijan’s latest Action Plan to combat human trafficking puts more emphasis on labour exploitation.”

Jarbussynova visited shelters which provide assistance to victims of trafficking in Baku and the surrounding region. She also welcomed the opening of a new facility in Ganja, the country’s second largest city. Indeed, assistance, along with protection and non-punishment of victims, is a crucial element of any integrated efforts aiming to eliminate modern day slavery.

During the visit, Jarbussynova met Minister of Labour and Social Protection Salim Muslumov, Deputy Interior Minister and National Co-ordinator in the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings Vilayat Eyvazov, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Chairman of the Criminal Board of the Supreme Court Shahin Yusifov, Deputy Chairperson of Parliament and two Heads of Committees of Parliament, and several other high-ranking officials, including representatives of the Office of Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) of Azerbaijan. She also met with representatives of civil society and international organizations.

SOURCE: Azer News