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OSCE Centre in Astana helps prevent human trafficking among vulnerable groups in Kazakhstan's regions


( OSCE)- The OSCE Centre in Astana launched a series of regional training seminars  to help staff at orphanages and vocational schools prevent human trafficking.


The first of eight planned two-day seminars, co-organized with the Education Ministry and local non-governmental organizations, took place in Karaganda in central Kazakhstan on March 15. Subsequent seminars will be held in Kostanai and Pavlodar in northern Kazakhstan, Kzyl-Orda and Shymkent in the south, and in the western cities of Aktau, Atyrau and Uralsk.


Over the next three months, some 200 Kazakhstani regional governmental officials will participate in the seminars. Social workers, psychologists, teachers and law enforcement officers will learn through interactive presentations and practical exercises how they can reduce the risk of trafficking among vulnerable groups and recognize possible cases of abuse. The participants will also discuss legal assistance and rehabilitation, as well as reintegration programmes for trafficking victims.


"Capacity building and guidance for front-line social and health workers as well as law enforcement officers contribute to these groups' ability to appropriately identify and address situations of vulnerability," said Ambassador Natalia Zarudna, the Head of the OSCE Centre, in a welcoming address. "These seminars aim not only to increase regional authorities' awareness of the problem but also to foster closer co-operation between different stakeholders to make anti-trafficking measures more effective."


"We believe such seminar series will help raise professionals' awareness of the risks of trafficking as they pertain to vulnerable groups of the population," said Liya Livitskaya, an official of the Karaganda Regional Children's Rights Protection Department.


Nazigul Ahmetkalieva, the Director of the NGO Feniks and a seminar trainer, added: "Effective trafficking prevention strategies must address children with disabilities and children in care. Therefore, special training courses for staff working in these specialized institutions will help to empower and protect vulnerable children and reduce the risk of trafficking."


The seminars follow similar events held in Taldy-Kurgan, Kokshetau and Ust-Kamenogorsk in 2011. They are part of the OSCE Centre's long-term commitment to assist Kazakhstan in combating and preventing human trafficking.