OSCE Special Representative urges Azerbaijan to enhance measures for addressing labour trafficking
( OSCE) - The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, in a three-day trip to Baku from 24 to 26 September 2012 called on the government to increase efforts to combat trafficking for labour exploitation, particularly in cases involving labour migrants in construction and domestic work.
Azerbaijan's increasing wealth 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 the new reality.
"There is increasing awareness of human trafficking, and mechanisms are in place to support its victims," Giammarinaro said. "Today, however, we need a second wave of anti-trafficking action: these mechanisms should now work on a much larger scale, especially concerning the exploitation of migrant labourers."
Giammarinaro's visit was co-ordinated in co-operation with the OSCE Office in Baku. She met with high-ranking government officials, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary and public figures, including Deputy Interior Minister and National Co-ordinator in the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings, Vilayat Eyvazov, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Labour Minister, Ilgar Rahimov, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova and the Head of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Rabiyyat Aslanova.
Giammarinaro also met with civil society representatives from the Citizens' Labour Rights Protection League, the Azerbaijan Migration Centre and the Azerbaijan Children Union. She visited a state run shelter for trafficking victims, and consulted with the OSCE's international partners working on anti-trafficking issues.
In her meetings, Giammarinaro called on the government to step up both prosecution of traffickers and support of trafficked persons, including through making full use of the national fund for compensation of victims of trafficking. The Special Representative also stressed the need to acknowledge the essential role of civil society in the fight against human trafficking, both in the fields of sexual and labour exploitation, especially regarding prevention measures, identification and assistance, and support to victims.