The United States Department of State has released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report for 2015, where Azerbaijan has been included in the second category of states taking adequate measures to combat trafficking.
Azerbaijan actively combats the trafficking in persons for sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation.
The report analyzed the efforts of 188 countries to comply with the minimum standards necessary to eliminate the trafficking of adults and children and stressed that Azerbaijan, due to its location, faced the problem of being a transit country for victims of trafficking from Central Asian countries to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Iran.
The report noted that there are still some cases of sex trafficking and forced labor.
The Government of Azerbaijan has implemented a range of measures to combat against all spheres of human trafficking inside the country for the reported period.
The report highlighted Azerbaijan’s resolve to increase the number of investigations related to human trafficking, approved a new national plan of activity, and presented a new law to ensure the integration into society of vulnerable children who have been in prisons, children’s homes, and boarding schools.
The U.S. Department of State recommended in the report that countries vigorously investigate and prosecute persons, who are complicit in human trafficking, to strengthen efforts to identify foreign and domestic victims of labor trafficking, and improve communication among government agencies, providing safe accommodation for victims.
The Trafficking in Human Beings Combating Department of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry has completely renovated and improved its shelter, which accommodates 50 people, in order to provide better living conditions for victims.
The government has determined that 50 women and one girl were victims of trafficking, while 3 men have been recognized as having been forced into labor since 2014.
The country provides victims of human trafficking with social rehabilitation, ensuring support at the state level.
There were 35 women and three men (of the 54 victims) that were referred to the Ministry shelter, where they received legal, medical, and psychological support.
The government provided 53 victims with a one-time allowance of 400 manats (approximately $380), 24 with jobs, and 35 with vocational training.
For additional social services, the government directed 36 (of the 54) victims to NGOs, and 51 to the state-run Victim Assistance Center (VAC).
The two NGOs provided 48 potential and recognized victims with shelter and care without government funding.
The government allocated 314,330 manats (approximately $298,500) to trafficking victims in 2014, according to a statement by the Trafficking in Human Beings Combating Department.
Earlier, the Cabinet of Ministers reported that a confidential e-database will be created in Azerbaijan in order to provide support for victims of human trafficking.
Therefore, a decision has been made to amend the “Rules on creating, financing, operation of special institutions for victims of human trafficking, as well as control over their activities” that will create a special police unit against human trafficking with data contained in the database.
Moreover, the special department will involve external experts in order to provide social rehabilitation for victims of human trafficking under an agreement with the Department on Struggle Against Trafficking in Human Beings.
While the first National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings was endorsed by Presidential decree in Azerbaijan on May 6, 2004, the history of combating human trafficking in Azerbaijan started back in 1996.
Human trafficking is one of the most immoral crimes, turning men, women and children from all around the world into victims each day, destroying their lives, dreams, and futures.
July 30 marks the annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, reminding us about this global problem and the danger to humanity.
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