YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Last week the United Nations Development Program in Armenia commemorated its collaboration with the Migration Agency at Armenia’s Ministry of Territorial Administration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding that pledged cooperation between the UNDP Country Office and the Migration Agency on the implementation of the ‘Travel Safe’: Pre-Migration Registration and Due Diligence Inquiry Program.
The ‘Travel Safe’: Pre-migration Registration and Due Diligence Inquiry Program is preventive in nature and aims to putt into place a network to enable due diligence inquiries, intended to reduce the likelihood of exploitation and trafficking for labor migran’s. For those cases where due diligence proves insufficient to prevent trafficking, it aims to provide potentially useful leads for investigation in the event of an intending labor migrant becoming trafficked or simply ‘gone missing’. The Program will also aim to educate labor migran’s so that they can distinguish between “possibly good” or “possibly bad” job offers’.
The cooperation with the Migration Agency has been made possible through UNDP Anti-Trafficking Program: Capacity Developing Support and Victims Assistance launched back in 2004, which entered its Phase II in September 2006. The idea of Travel Safe Program has resulted from the Counter-human Trafficking Institutional Assessment conducted within the framework of UNDP Anti-Trafficking Project in March-April of 2007.
In her opening speech the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Consuelo Vidal highly praised the cooperation and noted that “the signing of the MOU sends another clear signal about how seriously the Armenian Government and UNDP view the urgency of preventing trafficking, a modern day slavery. We also hope the signing of the MOU will act as a booster in the Region. It is well known that lack of safe and legal migration creates preconditions for trafficking since migran’s are dependent on illegal middlemen to organize migration, exposing themselves in the process to coercion and exploitative practices.”
Gagik Yeganyan, head of Armenia’s Migration Agency also highly appreciated the initiative and specified the importance of such cooperation in achieving common goals. "The most important pillar of our work is raising public awareness by equipping our citizens with relevant information so they can take steps to prevent trafficking and help the victims,” Yeganyan said. “Hence during the 18 months of its implementation the Program aims at establishing Migran’s Support Points (focusing on domestic and cross border labor migration) in three regions of Yerevan, Gumri and Ararat.” Several information nodes in the specified host governmen’s will also be established, he added.