Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
Republic of Azerbaijan
Eden A. Hodgson
Forest Hills Eastern
Human Trafficking is a rampant and harrowing issue. The action of trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people. The means of trafficking can include the threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability. And simply put, it is intended exploitation. Trafficking can range from prostitution, other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or like practices, servitude, or the removal or exploitation of bodily resources. Trafficking is one of the fastest-growing illicit industries in the world, with most countries deeply affected either through origin, transit, or destination, some countries being a combination of the three. Unfortunately, it is common for most industries to be corrupted by trafficking. It can typically be found in agriculture or horticulture, construction, garments and textiles under sweatshop conditions, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment, and the sex industry. It also affects other mainstream sectors including but not limited to: food processing, healthcare, and contract cleaning, mainly in private but also in public sector employment, such as the provision of healthcare services. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, a significant number of people living against their own free will.
In Azerbaijan, although progress has been made in some areas, others give rise to concern. There is a disparity in actual and reported cases due to certain shortcomings of the identification procedure and insufficient attention to internal trafficking. There may be more cases than what is known by officials. Azerbaijan is typically a country of origin but has also been a place of destination, meaning more Azerbaijani citizens or tourists are sourced in the country rather than brought there. There were 248 victims identified between the years 2014 to 2017, 95% (Human Rights First) of which being women trafficked by the means of sexual exploitation and the rest of which being men exploited for labor. However, GRETA (a council in Europe: Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) and other NGOs engaged in defense against human trafficking have urged Azerbaijan officials to take preventative measures against trafficking.
Azerbaijan recommends amending legislation, training relevant professionals, raising awareness of human trafficking and amending the rules for the identification of victims of trafficking and their referral to assistance. More methods for combatting human trafficking are to prevent trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, reintroducing workplace inspections by labor inspectors and strengthening their mandate, regulating and monitoring the functioning of recruitment and temporary work agencies, and reviewing the regulatory system concerning domestic workers.
- Eden A Hodgson