At an international conference to foster communication and coordination between human trafficking transit and destination countries, representatives from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and from the Ukrainian, Russian and Moldovan governments gathered to discuss related issues. The September 12 event was hosted by ABA ROLI, in partnership with the regional mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and supported by the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event was aimed at improving the efficiency and application of mutual legal assistance (MLA) procedures in joint anti-human trafficking investigations between Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and Belarus.
Participants shared their experiences and best practices from their respective countries and discussed possible solutions to the countries’ shared trafficking problems. Participants discussed the similarities and differences among the countries’ respective laws and their implications on criminal proceedings. Each country was represented by practicing investigators and prosecutors, providing participants an effective platform for practical discussions on the problems encountered in making and executing MLA requests. The conference also allowed the participants to develop a professional network of contacts within each participating country.
Conference participants acknowledged that effective MLA application is challenged by lack of knowledge about the mechanism generally and emphasized the need to train and educate government actors on their use in human trafficking investigations in particular. A copy of an ABA ROLI-developed interactive training module was provided to the participants for their review. ABA ROLI intends to develop the module into a regional template that can be incorporated into the curriculum of governmental training facilities throughout the region. Pilot workshops using the training module template will be conducted in Ukraine and Moldova.
To learn more about ABA ROLI’s work in Ukraine, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.