Wednesday, June 15, 2005



| 17:18:27 | 15-06-2005 | Official |

As part of its efforts to help combat human trafficking in Armenia, the OSCE Office in Yerevan organized a meeting today with Armenian officials and NGO representatives to discuss the establishment of a so-called National Referral Mechanism in the country.

National Referral Mechanisms (NRMs) are co-operative frameworks through which state institutions - in partnership with civil society - fulfill their obligations to protect the human rights of trafficked persons.

"The successful prosecution of traffickers and protection of victims requires strong action and co-ordination on the national level by both state institutions and NGOs," said Blanka Hancilova, the OSCE Office's Democratization Officer.

"An NRM in Armenia would have the benefit of bringing together all relevant actors in the country in a national network, which would institutionalize efforts to assist trafficking victims. This would in turn contribute to making prevention of trafficking more effective in Armenia," she said.

The participants at the event, who represented the Armenian Inter-Agency Commission on Anti-Trafficking Issues and members of the NGO community [The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.], stressed that the establishment of an NRM was a critical step in creating a comprehensive policy to fight human trafficking in Armenia.

The meeting, which was organized with support from the OSCE's Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the US State Department, forms part of a broader effort by the OSCE Office to strengthen identification mechanisms, promote information exchange, and increase awareness of the importance of
victim assistance and protection.

"The OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings has identified the importance of the protection of victims' rights for a successful fight against trafficking. This meeting has brought us one step forward in translating these commitments into practice in Armenia," said Astrid Ganterer, Advisor on Anti-Trafficking issues at the ODIHR.

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