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Trafficking in human beings - A human rights violation

Yuzhnyi Kazakhstan № 61-62 (17.976-977) 25/05/2005
N. Kazorina

Trafficking in human beings - A human rights violation
- The project carried out by the Center for Women's Initiatives "Sana Sezim"
on April 19, 2005 in the South Kazakhstan region.

   Despite what trafficking media reports, most citizens have a very vague understanding of the modern methods of the slave trade that take place in the 21st century. Attempts to remove orphans to work abroad have fortunately been unsuccessful.
   Still, there are cases where young girls disappear and later find themselves in trafficking situations. When this occurs there is a trend where they do not speak to the police, let alone teachers and parents, about their situation. There are also forms of "soft" trafficking, where the victim voluntarily accepts a situation, as a result of persuasions and promises. This problem is mainly discussed at seminars conducted by NGOs; however, since this is a narrow platform, the society as a whole has not yet formed an opinion of human trafficking in and from the South Kazakhstan region. As a result, human trafficking has become a big part of business in clandestine trade.
   Law enforcement officials are deeply aware of this problem and acknowledge the South Kazakhstan region as a source and transport center for this illegal trade. Also that those traded become younger every year. They now mainly consist of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, all going abroad in search of paid work but finding themselves victims of fraud or sexual slavery. Since last year the Legal Center for Women's Initiatives "Sana Sezim" has operated a hotline in Shymkent (T: 30-01-52). After 11 months the hotline received 1020 calls. It was found that the group that appealed for help most often were women, consisting of 609 of the calls (411 were from men). 968 people called to receive information and advice on employment abroad. Questions regarding marrying foreigners concerned 15 of these women, emigration 11 people, and commercial sex concerned six people. There were 20 calls to raise complaints about tour agencies. This data suggested that there are many citizens in the South Kazakhstan region that desire to work abroad. As a result, publications were made to inform citizens of human trafficking and working abroad. They urged citizens to leave legally, only with a contract that specifies job descriptions, earnings, and guarantees insurance. Today, education about human trafficking is mainly carried out by NGOs. For example, "Sana Sezim" offers free legal counseling (from 09:00-18:00 daily), helps draw up complaint claims and contracts with firms offering work abroad. Furthermore, training workshops are held, there are special education programs for women who are potential victims of trafficking, pamphlets are distributed, and also a special handbook "Trafficking in human beings: The principles of personal security" are being prepared to be distributed. There are other NGOs working in this area as well. For greater effectiveness, perhaps it is time that they work closely with law enforcement and recruitment and travel agencies to develop a common strategy and share their methods to prevent and control human trafficking. This slave trade, which is a violation of human rights, is incompatible with the civilized society that we are trying to build.