28 October 2005

UNODC Joins Republic of Moldova in Renewed Campaign against Human Trafficking

UNODC Project Offers Protection for Thousands of Women and Girls

VIENNA, 28 October (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is partnering with the Government of the Republic of Moldova to assist the country in a renewed campaign to eliminate human trafficking. The UNODC initiative became a reality today, when Sumru Noyan, Deputy Executive Director, UNODC, and Director, Division for Operations, and Ambassador Natalia Gherman, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations (Vienna), signed a project titled "Building Capacity to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Republic of Moldova." The signing ceremony took place at United Nations Headquarters in Vienna today. 

The Republic of Moldova is a major source country for traffickers who typically prey on women and girls via employment scams and ploys that promise better lives. The Republic of Moldova is Europe's poorest country: in the capital city of Chisinau, the average wage is about US$2 a day; in rural areas, it is half that. Scores of women and girls have simply disappeared from communities, and evidence suggests that many are transported against their will by trafficking organizations to Western and South Eastern Europe and the Middle East, where they are forced to work as prostitutes. Victims offer authorities stark accounts of sexual brutalization and dehumanization, and a significant number of victims lose their lives to HIV/AIDS.

"In the long list of crimes against humanity, human trafficking stands out as one of the darkest," said Ms. Noyan. "These young woman fall into the hands of criminals because they have no economic alternatives in their own communities, inadequate information about human trafficking, and no recourse once they become victims. This has to change, and this UNODC project is a huge step in the right direction," she added.

The Government of the Republic of Moldova also supports immediate intervention to counter human trafficking and to provide treatment and support to victims. Despite an ongoing lack of resources, law enforcement authorities are trying to crack down on trafficking in people via enhanced law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, and victim assistance.

The UNODC project also seeks to strengthen judicial capacity in the Republic of Moldova; even when traffickers are caught, the judicial system in that nation lacks the capacity to enforce the law or to ensure justice for victims. UNODC has a strong record of helping governments strengthen their law enforcement and criminal justice mechanisms, bolstering the capacity of countries to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers. The UNODC project in Moldova will also strengthen victim support structures, and help officials at the district level to leverage the resources of NGOs and community-based organizations.

The Government of Moldova will play a central role in  arranging group training sessions and organizing meetings for experts in the field of human trafficking. Moldovan officials will also support and cooperate in efforts to assess progress made and the realization of long-term goals.


To read more about the international initiatives in the field of anti-human trafficking activities, or to learn more about efforts to stem illegal narcotics and organized crime, please refer to www.unodc.org     

For information contact:

Kathleen Millar
Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Mobile: +43 699 1459 5629
E-mail: kathleen.millar@unodc.org