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OSCE holds week-long human trafficking exercise in Kazakhstan

Caravanserai

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The second OSCE live exercise to fight human trafficking opened in Nur-Sultan on June 24. [Angela Tsaturian/OSCE]

NUR-SULTAN -- The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held a week-long live-action exercise in Kazakhstan to educate member nations on how to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking.

More than 70 professionals including officials from law enforcement, border and migration authorities, NGOs and public social services from 17 OSCE participating states took part in the training that began June 24, the OSCE said in a statement.

The training exercise offered front-line responders the opportunity to simulate anti-trafficking responses, using live actors. The OSCE recreated fictitious brothels, a construction site, an agricultural field and border crossing points to simulate cases of human trafficking -- including child victims -- for labour and sexual exploitation, the OSCE said.

"The fact that we are offering this training opportunity for the second time within a span of less than one year is a clear indication of the interest from the OSCE-participating states in enhancing their capacity to combat human trafficking," said Valiant Richey, OSCE's acting co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

"This time we have further diversified the professional profile of the participants by including border guards and cultural mediators," Richey said.

Terrorist organisations such as "Islamic State" (IS) have used human trafficking to help finance their causes and as a tool in recruitment. For example, to attract new fighters, IS kidnapped Yazidi women and girls in Iraq to be used as sex slaves for men who joined the militant group.

'A transnational problem'

"Trafficking in human beings has become largely a transnational problem with a high level of social danger," said Ergali Merzadinov, rector of Kazakhstan's Law Enforcement Academy under the prosecutor general's office.

"I believe this joint live simulation training and the development of common approaches to pressing issues will improve the effectiveness of work on prevention and detection of criminal acts," he said in the OSCE statement.

The OSCE said the project is part of efforts by the organisation to facilitate better identification and assistance of trafficking victims through a new, multi-national and cross-sectoral approach.

The simulation exercise in Nur-Sultan, supported by OSCE field operations including the OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan, follows five similar exercises in Vicenza, Italy, and another in Kazakhstan. A further exercise will be conducted in Vicenza this September, the OSCE said.

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