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Joint Programme of ILO, UNDP and UNODC under UN.GIFT to Combat Human Trafficking in Central Asia

Location: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
Government institution: Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice
Participating Agencies: ILO, UNDP, UNODC
Budget: $4 million

Brief description of the programme:

The Joint Programme aims to prevent trafficking in human beings in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan  through skills development, information dissemination and better organisation of migrant workers and to provide justice for trafficking victims by strengthening protection mechanisms and efforts to prosecute traffickers.


Prevention and awareness-raising: Unskilled men and women, especially potential migrants and those at risk of being exposed to trafficking as well as workers in the informal sector attain employable and productive skills through training. Trade unions in cooperation with other relevant stakeholders take action to prevent violations of the fundamental labour rights of migrant workers. Potential migrants obtain better access to information on migration, trafficking and employment.

Prosecution: Gaps and shortcomings in counter-trafficking, migration, labour and criminal law legislation identified and corrected.  Operational and investigative capacities of law enforcement and migration agencies increased through basic and specialized training and workshops.

Protection: National referral mechanisms established between law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations.

Cooperation and Coordination: Regional/international dialogue and cooperation on anti-human trafficking measures supported through workshops and mechanisms to generate synergy and contribute to capacity building in  fighting human trafficking.

The Challenge:

The transition period in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan has been marked by a dramatic increase in socio-economic insecurity for many people.  Migration has been an important survival strategy for men and women to sustain livelihoods for their families. Despite the demand for flexible and cheap labour in receiving countries such as the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, legal labour migration channels are limited. The scale of migratory movements within Central Asian Republics and outside, as well as the limited capacity to assist and manage migration processes, has promoted growth of informal employment and heightened the potential for exploitation, discrimination and exclusion of people on the move.

Many migrants work in labour intensive economic sectors such as construction and agriculture, where informal labour arrangements are widespread. People also move within the countries in search of work.  A number of studies have identified informal labour markets that serve as a source of internal trafficking and men, women, and children in these markets are subjected to severe abuse and exploitation. All regional governments have ratified the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and most have adapted their legislation to reflect its provisions.  However, counter-trafficking initiatives are relatively new to the region and to date trafficking for labour exploitation remains a challenge.



Ms. Claudia Gioffre
Programme Development Specialist, UN.GIFT
+43-1 26060 - 4584