SEED Launches New Human Trafficking Response Training and Capacity Building Program for Kurdistan Region Authorities

SEED Foundation launched a training and capacity building program for combating human trafficking on June 6 for officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This program is generously supported by the United States government. Particpants come from the KRG Directorate of Combating Human Trafficking (Anti-Human Trafficking Police), Residency Directorate in Erbil, and Ministry of of Labor and Social Affairs. KRG and U.S. government representatives joined SEED leadership at ceremonies on June 6 and 13 to welcome the first two cohorts of trainees.

Yearly, 40 million people are trafficked globally and live in modern-day slavery. Kraham Talabany highlighted the recent progress the Kurdistan Region has made in combating human trafficking, citing the U.S. government’s yearly Trafficking in Persons Report. Despite this progress, she noted, “Kurdistan remains a transit, destination, and origin location for human trafficking.”

“We have partnered with the KRG’s Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs since 2015 — before there was a law, before there was a directorate to combat human trafficking,” Kraham Talabany said. She added, “Now we have the law, the ministry’s high council, the directorate, and six police units collaborating on these issues, as well as a shelter for survivors of human trafficking, under our partnership with the KRG. I am eager to see the impact the training has on your work and the prosecution of those responsible for human trafficking.”

The program provides comprehensive training on identification, protection, and access to justice for survivors of human trafficking in the Kurdistan Region. The training aims to develop the capacity of the KRG in responding to human trafficking cases and protecting affected individuals and vulnerable populations. In addition to the U.S. government funding, SEED is providing all materials, equipment, and accommodation support to the participants.

Senior KRG officials who play a leading role in combatting human trafficking helped to launch the training and communicated to the KRG’s firm commitment to protecting survivors and to holding traffickers accountable. This included the Ministry of Interior’s General Director of the Diwan Sami Jalal Hussein, Director of the Residency Directorate in Erbil Col. Kamil Muhammad Baqir Barznji, and Head of the Directorate of Combating Human Trafficking Col. Dara Faruq Othman, and the General Director of the KRG Department of Labor and Social Security Arif Hito. 

SEED is proud of its history of close collaboration with these partners and pleased to expand our work with the Anti-Human Trafficking Police through training, capacity building, and improved referral process knowledge and mechanisms collaborating with the Residency Directorate and the Department of Labor, especially to respond to widespread forms of labor exploitation in the Kurdistan Region.

The first training program began on June 6 with 24 participants, while a second one commenced on June 13 with another 24 participants. The training program is four months long, consisting of classroom training sessions, assignments, online individual and group coaching sessions, and in-person site visits to participants’ places of work.

SEED’s training is culturally-sensitive, interactive, and informed by practical case studies, making the program directly applicable to participants’ work. Each participant benefits from technical assistance to reinforce the knowledge and skills acquired during their in-person classroom instructions and to bridge theory with practical application in their workplace. Additionally, the training program emphasizes self-care practices to support government frontline responders.

“The training program was developed and will be delivered by international and national anti-trafficking experts, with a broad range of experience and practice in victims services and investigation,” SEED Director of Anti-Trafficking Programs Lili Nikolova said. SEED is pleased that representatives of the US Government’s FBI will be delivering training focused on working with victims and building evidence for prosecutions. She added, “SEED’s training for KRG officials on the frontline against human trafficking is interactive, learner-centered, highly practical, and directly applicable to participants’ work, including focused on case studies. Participants are provided the opportunity to share complex cases from their work in a confidential and supportive setting. After this training, KRG law enforcement officers will better identify and understand the needs of victims and survivors, provide enhanced protection and support for survivors, and, at the same time, efficiently conduct investigations to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of trafficking.”