Lawyers and legal practitioners from six countries gathered to share good practices in providing accessible and effective legal assistance to trafficked persons, during a regional seminar organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Istanbul on 23 and 24 October 2013.
The seminar brought together legal experts from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan who specialize in providing legal assistance to trafficked persons. They discussed experiences, good practices and challenges in such areas as the provision of pro-bono legal aid, co-operation with state institutions and the private sector, national legal frameworks, access of trafficked persons to free legal aid and the ability of trafficking victims to claim compensation.
The experts worked together to develop recommendations for states, civil society, private lawyers, law firms and bar associations on improving access to legal assistance and remedy for trafficking victims.
“The provision of free legal aid to trafficked persons is often overlooked by state and non-state actors,” said Omer Fisher, Deputy Head of the ODIHR Human Rights Department. “We trust these recommendations will help make legal assistance for trafficked persons accessible, affordable and effective.”
The seminar builds on ODIHR’s work in promoting access to justice, including compensation to trafficked persons, and in supporting the creation of a network of anti-trafficking lawyers across the OSCE region.
The seminar is the first of three regional capacity-building events for a core group of legal experts as part of a three-year ODIHR project aimed at improving protection for trafficked persons and vulnerable groups in Central Asia. The project was launched last year.