Azerbaijani Judges, Prosecutors and Investigators Take Part in Anti-Human Trafficking Training

The training focused on best practices in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating human trafficking cases, emphasizing the protection of victims throughout the prosecution process.

The training focused on best practices in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating human trafficking cases.

March 2012

In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and the U.S. Embassy in Baku organized a three-day training for 25 Azerbaijani judges, prosecutors and investigators involved with combating human trafficking in the country. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) helped conduct the training.

OPDAT recruited Judge Alia Moses and prosecutor Jessie Ginsburg, both from the United States, to lead the training. They gave an overview of human trafficking, its socio-economic implications and risk factors, as well as common tactics human traffickers employ. They also discussed best practices in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating human trafficking cases, emphasizing the protection of victims throughout the prosecution process. The trainers reminded participants of the need to distinguish between labor trafficking and labor code violations, and between sex trafficking and prostitution.

An ABA ROLI representative discussed relevant provisions in Azerbaijan’s criminal code, comparing them to the United Nations’ Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which Azerbaijan ratified in 2003. A representative of the Azerbaijan Lawyers Confederation, an ABA ROLI partner, presented on the prosecution and adjudication of human trafficking in Azerbaijan. He noted that some human trafficking cases are misidentified and thus not prosecuted. He discussed two human trafficking cases that were pursued as labor disputes. While not uncommon in many countries, failure to correctly identify human trafficking cases leads to failure in investigating them, which in turn results in prosecution of those cases as lesser crimes.

On the final day of the training, participants reviewed and analyzed facts from two ABA ROLI-developed case studies that simulated real human trafficking scenarios. Guided by the trainers, the participants worked in small groups to formulate their own responses, including by identifying relevant criminal violations, and by devising ways to ensure victims’ safety, to coordinate with civil society organizations on victim support, to investigate cases and to prosecute perpetrators. 

ABA ROLI co-funded the training through its anti-human trafficking program, which is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Through the program, ABA ROLI educates at-risk children and rural populations, provides legal advice and representation for human trafficking victims and their families, and conducts technical trainings for judges, lawyers and advocates.

To learn more about our work in Azerbaijan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org. 

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