St. Petersburg hosted a conference “Cooperation in combatting trafficking in human beings in the Baltic Sea region” on 8-9 October 2014

15 Oct 2014
St. Petersburg hosted a conference “Cooperation in combatting trafficking in human beings in the Baltic Sea region” on 8-9 October 2014. The conference, which was attended by about 150 people, has summarized the experience of leading experts from all five Nordic countries, as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the cities of the North-West of Russia and international organizations. The conference was held over two days, the first of which was dedicated to the children as victims of human trafficking, and the second - the overall objectives to combat human trafficking in the Baltic Sea region.

The conference became the final event of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Programme to combat trafficking in human beings. Since 2011, a number of international projects in the Baltic countries and Northwest Russia have been implemented within the frames of the Programme. However, the main goal of the conference was not to sum up the work already fulfilled, but to discuss what still has to be done.
The participants noted the importance and global character of human trafficking issue. The representative of the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs Lāsma Stabina stressed the need to "include combating human trafficking in priority tasks set by governments."
V.A.Surkov, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that "constructive, substantive dialogue," is needed in the context of international cooperation.
Speakers and participants noted the need for knowledge exchange and cooperation, both between different countries in the Baltic Sea region, and between different groups of stakeholders. Eva Biaudet, the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Finland stated that "learning from each other" is one of the main success factors in combatting human trafficking.
In addition to the plenary sessions, the conference programme included interactive formats such as round tables and panel discussions.
Participants of the conference suggested a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of combating human trafficking. These recommendations included improvement of legislations in the field of human trafficking, development of national action plans and state programmes, strengthening the role of municipalities in the area of assistance to victims of trafficking, organization of trainings for different sectors involved in combating human trafficking, as well as broader discussion on the topic of human trafficking in the community.
 
Author: Alla Nilsen, The Information Office of the Nordic Council of Ministers in St. Petersburg
Photo: Anna Boycheva