TBILISI, Georgia (ILO News) --The International Labour Organization (ILO), its partner agencies and the government of Georgia are to co-host a regional conference in Tbilisi on 18-19 May to forge new partnerships in the fight against trafficking in human beings and forced labour in the Caucasus region.
The Conference will bring together international experts and stakeholders from the Caucasus region and selected countries of destination, including representatives of government and law enforcement agencies, international and non-governmental organizations and representatives of workers and employers. Participants will share emerging good practices and discuss challenges to effective action against trafficking and forced labour.
The event is a major milestone of an EU-funded regional anti-trafficking project in the Caucasus which is implemented jointly by ILO, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Combining their respective mandates, expertise and national partners has already made a positive impact in the region.
“Eliminating modern-day forced labour and trafficking requires a coherent approach involving the labour, migration, human rights and gender aspects. This joint inter-agency initiative demonstrates that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts”, says Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO Executive Director of the ILO.
The meeting will take stock of lessons learned and discuss new aspects of ever-changing migration flows, including the fact that the region is no longer only sending migrants but also becoming an attractive destination for them. The construction sector in particular will require further attention to prevent abusive recruitment and employment practices.
“To eradicate human trafficking and forced labour, States should take more effective measures, including through training of relevant government officials. Too often, trafficking in human beings is wrongly qualified as the smuggling of migrants, leaving the criminals with impunity and the victims without due assistance and protection", says Maria Grazia Giammarinnaro, Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Human Trafficking at OSCE.
The Conference is expected to produce a set of recommendations to guide further action in the fight against trafficking and forced labour. The event will also facilitate the transfer of know-how, cooperation and networking among international and national experts.