From May 30 to June 10, 2022, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project "Safe Migration in Central Asia" (SMICA), implemented by Winrock International, in cooperation with training centers for judges, prosecutors and lawyers and in partnership with UNODC in Kyrgyzstan, conducted training for 66 judges, prosecutors, investigators and advocates from all regions of Kyrgyzstan.
The purpose of the training was to strengthen intersectoral cooperation in pre-trial and court consideration of cases related to human trafficking. During the training, special attention was paid to strengthening cooperation between participants from different agencies for the effective consideration of cases, as well as the need to take into account the rights and interests of victims of human trafficking during an investigation and court consideration of criminal cases.
During the training, the participants got acquainted with the novelties of criminal legislation, studied the elements of trafficking in persons, and also took part in a mock court hearing. Special sessions were dedicated to the national referral mechanism of victims of trafficking and gender aspects during investigation and court proceedings of criminal cases.
"This is the first interagency training, where judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and investigators gathered on one platform. Previously, such training sessions were held with the participation of only prosecutors and investigators. The intersectoral approach shows its effectiveness since all participants in criminal justice can discuss issues of prosecution and court consideration of cases on the same platform, share practical recommendations at each stage of criminal proceedings," says trainer Marlis Dzhumabaev, Head of the First Department of the Main Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
As Tara Neal, Senior Specialist in Democratic Development of the USAID Mission in the Kyrgyz Republic, said "one of the main goals in combatting trafficking in persons is bringing traffickers to justice and protecting the rights of victims of trafficking. Criminal justice practitioners are the main actors who ensure effective prosecution of perpetrators and play a key role in the detection, identification, referral and protection of victims. It is therefore important for such practitioners to stay equipped with up-to-date knowledge about criminal justice novelties, legislation, procedures, and best practices.”
During the training, judges, prosecutors and lawyers received the Guidance on applying of an approach focused on the interests and needs of victims of human trafficking in the investigation and court proceeding of cases related to human trafficking, developed with the support of the SMICA.
Elmira Baitikova, Head of the Higher Justice Training Center under the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic, noted that “the Guidelines will help judges, lawyers, and prosecutors to update their knowledge at any time on how best to apply a victim-centered approach. Such an approach will help not only protect the rights of victims of trafficking in persons but will also increase the public’s trust in law enforcement and the judiciary”.
For more information, please contact Meder Dastanbekov, Project Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan, by email: Meder.Dastanbekov@winrock.org, phone number +996 770 337 500
The project "Safe Migration in Central Asia", financed by USAID, is being implemented in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The project uses evidence-based practices and cross-border linkages to strengthen mutual accountability and effectiveness of governments, NGOs and the private sector to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and promote safe migration. The activities are carried out in close cooperation with local authorities, civil society and the private sector to improve migration practices and prevent exploitation. More information about the USAID project "Safe Migration in Central Asia" can be found here.