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OSCE-supported conference on combating human trafficking in Tashkent

TASHKENT, 17 September 2014 - The National Conference on Trafficking in Human Beings with a focus on capacity-building of governmental and non-governmental actors opened in Tashkent yesterday. The conference is co-organized by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, the Republican Inter-agency Commission on Combating Human Trafficking and the General Prosecutor's Office.

The two-day event includes an in-depth review of international and national practices in terms of policy and legal frameworks in the fight against trafficking in human beings as well as the protection and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking. Presentations will also focus on establishing effective mechanisms of co-operation between state authorities and civil society actors. Participants will discuss the issue of human trafficking prevention and awareness-raising activities.

The event brings together more than 60 participants, including representatives of state agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and local media, as well as international experts from the OSCE Secretariat, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Moldova and USAID.

Ambassador Gyӧrgy Szabό, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, praised Uzbekistan's government for keeping the fight against human trafficking high on its political agenda. Szabό also commended the Republican Inter-agency Commission on Combating Human Trafficking and the General Prosecutor's Office for their expertise, dedication and excellent co-operation.

Deputy General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shukhrat Uzakov said: "Partnership with international organizations is of utmost importance for effectively countering human trafficking at the state level, and for increasing the effectiveness of combating human trafficking, labour exploitation and illegal migration."

Ruth Freedom Pojman, OSCE Deputy Co-ordinator of the Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, noted major improvements in the country's fight against trafficking in human beings, including its institutional and legislative framework to prevent and combat human trafficking.

"All victims, regardless of their legal status in the country or their willingness or not to co-operate with law enforcement agencies should have access to assistance and protection services. Those services can be provided by either the State or NGOs," said Pojman.

The conference is part of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator's long standing commitment to assist Uzbekistan in combating trafficking in human beings.