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Enhancing state assistance to victims of human trafficking in Ukraine discussed at OSCE-supported conference

( OSCE ) - Practical recommendations on improving the efficiency of the state in helping victims of human trafficking were discussed at a conference in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, with the support of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (PCU).

Some 200 social service providers, law enforcers and civil society activists from across Ukraine gathered to share best practices in identifying and assisting people who suffered from various forms of modern-day slavery. Among the proposals tabled for discussion were the need to streamline legislation, to establish mechanisms for monitoring the quality of state assistance, and to expand awareness-raising campaigns. Special attention was paid to the impact of the training programme on the quality of assistance and the outcomes of rehabilitation programmes.

 "Since June 2012 we have helped train almost 4,000 people who work with victims, including social service providers, law enforcement officers, medical practitioners, teachers, journalists and NGO activists," said Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine. "Next year we expect six more regions of Ukraine, and Kyiv, to join the training efforts to equip their personnel with skills and knowledge needed to assist victims of the crime."

The training seminars are designed to enable the functioning of an inter-agency model for providing assistance to victims, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM was developed and introduced following its PCU-facilitated piloting in Donetsk and Chernivtsi regions. As the result of these efforts, 51 people have been able get assistance from the state.

From 2012 to 2013, the PCU has helped establish the NRM in Chernivtsi, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky, Luhansk and Vinnytsya regions, with funding from Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Liechtenstein. The 2014 efforts are expected to cover Kirovograd, Kyiv, Rivne, Sumy, Volyn and Zhytomyr regions, as well as the city of Kyiv itself.