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In June 2010, USAID launched a $4.2 million, three-year regional project, “Combating Trafficking in Persons in Central Asia”, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This project is the first counter-trafficking project to cover all five Central Asian Countries, and features a robust regional component designed to streamline and standardize counter-trafficking approaches in the region. The project began in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in June 2010, in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in October 2010, and is scheduled to be launched in Kyrgyzstan in October 2011.
The project aims to contribute to the efforts of the Central Asian Republics in addressing human trafficking by focusing on prevention and protection. With the new slogan, “Beware of Human Trafficking! Let’s Stop Trafficking!” the information campaigns will not only raise public awareness but also engage and mobilize the public in the fight against trafficking. The protection component of the project centers on the provision of appropriate direct assistance – including medical, psychosocial, and legal – and of voluntary, dignified, and safe return to the victims of trafficking. The project’s regional component aims to facilitate dialogue, cooperation, and coordination among Central Asian governments and key civil society actors in addressing human trafficking challenges, with an eye to establishing a regional referral network and standardizing the approaches to dealing with the problem.
In Turkmenistan, IOM will collaborate closely with nongovernmental organizations in holding gender-mainstreamed prevention activities, such as information campaigns, and training and educational events. Special attention will be paid to expanding the network of counter-trafficking nongovernmental partners and opening a new hotline office in Turkmenabad city, while continuing to provide comprehensive protection services to victims of trafficking.