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“Victims’ Voices Lead the Way”: U.S. Embassy supports Tajikistan’s victim assistance and counter-trafficking in persons efforts

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan, July 30, 2021 – The U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) office supported the “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way” roundtable, dedicated to the “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.” The International Organization for Migration (IOM), INL’s implementing partner, conducted the roundtable to emphasize the necessity of a victims-centered approach in combating human trafficking (TIP). The roundtable highlighted the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking.

In her remarks during the roundtable, INL Director Sita Farrell noted that many victims of human trafficking have experienced ignorance or misunderstandings in their attempts to obtain help. Some have also faced traumatic post-rescue experiences during identification interviews and legal proceedings, revictimization, or punishment for crimes that their traffickers forced them to commit. Others have been stigmatized or have not been adequately supported.

In 2021, INL allocated $600,000 to IOM to further bolster Tajik authorities’ skills and resources to prevent, identify, and prosecute this crime, allowing survivors of TIP to be key actors in the fight against human trafficking. This project will strengthen coordination and provide training and materials to vulnerable groups such as migrants, victims of domestic violence, unemployed persons, young girls, and uneducated women. They will learn about the risks of TIP, methods of recruitment and coercion, preventative measures, and where to refer cases.

Since 2007, INL has supported Tajikistan’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons and provide victim assistance, including more than $4 million to fund projects such as the TIP Victim Assistance Shelter, the Ministry of Internal Affair’s Counter Trafficking in Persons Center, and Tajik State University’s Counter Trafficking Educational Center. INL, through IOM and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, has bolstered Tajik authorities’ skills and resources to effectively combat trafficking in persons and protect victims’ rights.