IOM fosters partnership in promoting capacities to combat Trafficking in Human Beings in Iraq

IOM’s HIJRA AMINA programme and the Gesellschaft Fur Agrikulture’s (GFA Consultancy Group) implementing the Rule of Law and Criminal Justice programme, both funded by the European Union, joined forces in February 2016 to strengthening the response of law enforcement officials of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior in addressing the crime of Trafficking in Human Beings (THB). The training, held from 21 to 25 February, brought together a group of officials and trainers well versed in criminal investigation and legal processes in Iraq to discuss the procedures followed in handling potential THB cases, based primarily on the Counter Trafficking Law 28/2012 as well as other applicable legislation.

Considering that THB impacts the rights of the victims or potential victims, the training also advocated for the need to consolidate the referral mechanism and enhance cooperation between the police and the judiciary. Participants agreed with this position and widely discussed the challenges faced in victim identification as a result of the lack of trained staff in VoT identification and referral. They also expressed the need to broaden the understanding of the application of Law 28/2012 among the different layers of the legal process and to actively encourage compliance with international standards by updating of the legal framework.

Dr. Mohammed Turki, Member of the UN Committee of Enforced Disappearances, and Colonel Ammar Sabah, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, delivered the training. Having Iraqi legal and investigation experts with solid background in human rights, enlivened the debates and allowed for very open discussions on vulnerabilities and recommendations.

As an experienced audience in law enforcement, the participants and experts formulated the following practical recommendations, which would allow to a more proactive response in combating the crime of THB in Iraq:

Ensuring stronger compliance with Iraq’s national and international legal commitments in this field.  Improving coordination and information sharing among key institutions such as: MoLSA, MoFA, and MoI during criminal investigations so that traffickers are identified, arrested and prosecuted. Facilitating access to justice and assistance for victims of trafficking (VoTs). • Strengthening law enforcement and judicial capacities in the areas of victim protection and criminal prosecution. IOM and GFA, through their EU-funded programmes, have successfully contributed to improve the capacities of law enforcement institutions and build consensus on the need to address the crime of THB at various levels. One of the positive outcomes was the general agreement to adopt a victim centered approach for more efficient support to potential VoTs.

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