48 Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representatives Better Equipped to Respond and Support Survivors of Human Trafficking

Erbil, Iraq – January 24, 2022: Forty-eight representatives from the KRG’s Directorate of Combating Organized Crimes, the Erbil Residency Directorate, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs have graduated from SEED Foundation’s training program, Best Practices in Screening, Identification, Protection, and Access to Justice for Victims and Survivors of Trafficking in Persons in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

Launched on June 6, 2021, with funding from the United States Government, training participants concluded a combination of in-person and online learning and coaching in December. The program was designed to foster shared learning and bridge classroom theory with real world application in their workplace.

While the KRG has taken significant steps towards improving their ability to prevent and respond to human trafficking – most notably the establishment of specialized anti-trafficking police units in each of its governorates between 2018 and 2020 – the scale of the issue and the complexity of the required response, demands continuous training and capacity building. For some of the police units, this was their first specialized training on trafficking in persons.

SEED Foundation facilitated training by international and national anti-trafficking experts, including criminal court judges, and the US Government’s Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). All participants completed 24 training topics including international best practices on combating trafficking, Kurdistan’s Anti-Trafficking Law of 2018 and other laws, how to protect victims and support survivors while prioritizing their rights, needs and wishes, and importantly, how to collaborate between government entities and local partners to achieve justice for victims and prosecute traffickers.

“Unique to this training was the inclusion of representatives from the Erbil Residency Directorate – the primary government body responsible for reviewing, approving and renewing applications for residency in the KRI. Following this training, these officials are in a better position to identify and support individuals being trafficked into the KRI – primarily for domestic or sexual exploitation,” explains SEED Foundation President and Executive Director, Sherri Kraham Talabany.

This training program forms part of SEED’s Protection of Survivors of Trafficking program funded by the US Government which combines the provision of support directly to victims of trafficking – including access to mental health and legal services, shelter for the most at risk clients, public advocacy and awareness raising and the training and capacity building of key government officials.

SEED Foundation is a local NGO in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, committed to protecting, empowering, and supporting the recovery of survivors of violence and others at risk. Our approach to this mission is integrative and holistic. We provide quality and comprehensive services, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), legal, protection, and shelter services; training and education to those working to protect and serve survivors; and policy and advocacy to strengthen laws, policies, practices and protections for vulnerable people, and promote social change.

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