UN meeting in South-Eastern Europe aims to eliminate human trafficking

12 December 2003

With South-Eastern Europe described by the United Nations anti-crime agency as a “high-transit” region for human trafficking, mostly in women and children for sexual exploitation, senior officials from 13 countries in the area will meet next week to launch a training scheme to help police and special investigators tackle the problem.

The two-day meeting in Vienna, arranged by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Romania, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), starts on Monday and is part of a coordinated anti-trafficking strategy being deployed in South-Eastern Europe.

According to a statement issued by UNODC today, the strategy is unique because of its sophistication, its harmonization between national laws and internationally accepted definitions, and its adaptation to each country’s own needs and experiences.

UNODC says South-Eastern Europe’s countries are “high-transit” for human trafficking, with victims flowing to, from and through the region. Most victims are women and children, and are used for sexual exploitation, but UNODC adds that many people are forced to work as domestics or in agriculture.

The new anti-trafficking training programme includes two manuals developed in South-Eastern Europe that will be distributed by UNODC around the world. The programme is designed to help police and special anti-trafficking investigators fight the problem.

Next week’s meeting occurs just ahead of the UN’s Anti-Trafficking Protocol coming into force on 25 December. In South-Eastern Europe, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey have ratified the protocol.


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