IOM works in Georgia in partnership with governments, the United Nations, international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships.
IOM takes a comprehensive approach to address trafficking in human beings (THB). Respect for human rights, the physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community, and the sustainability of actions through institutional capacity development and partnerships are at the centre of all IOM’s counter-trafficking efforts.
As a long-standing observer to the Interagency Counter-Trafficking Coordination Council and a participant in the Permanent Group for Victim Identification, IOM is well-positioned to engage with the Government and civil society in providing targeted support for capacity development, prevention and protection initiatives.
- Capacity Development
Since 2005, IOM has supported the Georgian law enforcement authorities in developing capacities to deal with the challenges of THB and the evolving criminal modus operandi. This work has included bolstering the capacities of the Labour Inspectorate and the Social Service Agency to strengthen coordinated and multi-disciplinary approaches to combating THB.
Particular focus has been placed on developing capacities of law enforcement agencies in the region of Ajara. Thanks to a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office, a Counter-Trafficking Task Force was established in Ajara as a means to enforce pro-active cooperation between investigators and prosecutors. Regular training courses with the assistance of local and foreign experts are delivered to secure the knowledge base of government officials is on par with the national as well as international manifestations of THB.
- Preventing Human Trafficking and Protecting Victims
Through information campaigns and outreach supported over the years by the European Union, the US Department of State and the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, IOM seeks to equip vulnerable populations with the information they need to migrate safely and access assistance when necessary.
IOM has been operating Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) in Georgia since 2003 as low-threshold venues for potential migrants and vulnerable populations to access unbiased information on the realities of migration and as a platform to verify the reliability of job offers. Social media are increasingly used as means to reach the MRC target groups and provide individual consultations in a secure environment.
Preventive efforts included a targeted school campaign to introduce trafficking in human beings into the civic education curriculum in all schools in Georgia. IOM Georgia has increased its focus on trafficking in children, among other means by collecting evidence and conducting awareness-raising campaigns on child begging.
Since the early 2000-s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 80 men and women, who were trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude in Georgia as well as abroad. Commercial sexual exploitation, agriculture, begging, construction and manufacturing are some of the sectors in which victims were exploited. IOM’s assistance includes safe accommodation, medical and psychosocial support, and assisted voluntary return and reintegration. IOM has a multi-annual Mutual Cooperation Agreement with the State Care Fund and Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings.
- Fostering Multi-Agency Cooperation and Coordination in the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons
With the support of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, IOM implements in 2021 and 2022 a project fostering multi-agency cooperation and coordination in the fight against trafficking in persons in Georgia. More information about that project is available here.