Joint conference of the Republic of Turkey, UNODC, Budapest Process and the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) on "Trafficking in Human Beings in the Black Sea Region"
Istanbul 9-10 October 2007
Yesterday ended a two-day conference on trafficking in human beings in the Black Sea Region. The conference, under the initiative of Turkey, was jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Budapest Process and the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The conference took place in Istanbul and was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey which currently assumes the chairmanship in both the Budapest Process and BSEC.
State representatives from Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United States participated in the conference that was also attended by various international organizations and NGOs such as the Eurasian Economic Community, the European Commission, Europol, the International Labour Organisation, the International Organisation for Migration, La Strada, OSCE, UNHCR, ICMPD and UNODC as Secretariat of the Budapest Process.
Participants discussed good practices and assessed challenges in the fight against trafficking in human beings in the Black Sea region. More specifically, the discussions focused on identifying ways to further improve international cooperation, co-operation between law enforcement and NGOs for the referral of victims of trafficking as well as data collection and information management.
Taking place under the umbrella of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) the results of the conference will be presented at the UN.GIFT Vienna Forum in February 2008. The objective of UN.GIFT is to further mobilize state and non-state actors to eradicate human trafficking which is a pervasive crime all over the globe.
In Turkey in 2006, 246 victims were identified, and 422 traffickers were apprehended. A toll free, nationwide, tip off emergency helpline `157` for the victims of trafficking is operational since 2005 and run by Russian, Romanian, English and Turkish speaking operators.