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May 01, 2012

Mongolia Program Increases Human-Trafficking Victims’ Access to Justice

May 2012

Despite the rise in incidents of human trafficking for sexual and commercial exploitation in Mongolia, only a small number of cases have been tried, with few resulting in convictions or compensation for survivors. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in cooperation with the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) and the National Center against Violence (NCAV), has been working to increase access to justice for human trafficking survivors and to prosecute perpetrators more effectively.

Center for Human Rights and Development and National Center against Violence attorneys engaged in a case strategy meeting.

Many of the survivors are young women who are kidnapped or lured into sexual servitude or forced marriage. Bayan (a pseudonym) is one of them. A neighbor kidnapped her as she walked home from the market and—along with his wife and another accomplice—held her against her will. The captors forced Bayan to engage in prostitution, beating her and threatening her life every time she resisted or attempted to escape. Bayan eventually escaped after convincing a client to release her.

To help fight human trafficking and protect the rights of survivors, ABA ROLI and its local partners provide legal and rehabilitation services to survivors and their families. Bayan’s parents learned of the services and brought her to NCAV to seek help. ABA ROLI and NCAV provided her with an attorney and connected her with counseling services. The attorney assisted the family in drafting and filing a complaint with law enforcement. The case was formally registered with the State Investigation Office and law enforcement officers initiated a criminal case against Bayan’s captors. Bayan’s attorney continued to represent her throughout the criminal proceedings. Her captors were convicted and sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison.

Since its launch in November 2009, ABA ROLI’s anti-human trafficking program has assisted dozens of survivors in civil and criminal proceedings. So far, 40 human trafficking cases have been registered with law enforcement, leading to six convictions. Attorneys have also successfully obtained civil damages for victims in three human-trafficking cases.

To strengthen the fight against human trafficking and in addition to the legal services it provides victims and their families, ABA ROLI has allowed local attorneys to gain in-country litigation advice from international pro bono law experts, including Doug Kramer, a former U.S. federal prosecutor, and Daniel Werner, a human trafficking law and labor rights expert. The experts have also assisted in developing and conducting trainings for attorneys on handling civil and criminal human-trafficking cases. Additionally, ABA ROLI and CHRD support the efforts of multi-disciplinary networks in three provinces to increase public awareness about human trafficking and to connect victims with critical services. ABA ROLI’s anti-human trafficking program in Mongolia is supported by the U.S. Department of State.

To learn more about our work in Mongolia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]