On 13 September in Bishkek a workshop on standards of assistance to vulnerable migrants was conducted. The event served as a forum for governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to exchange experience and explore the international standards for enhancing the quality and access to basic services for vulnerable migrants, especially victims of trafficking. Over the course of the three-day workshop, government representatives (from the Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs, the Border Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the State Migration Service and other relevant ministries), and BOMCA, IOM and UNHCR experts, as well as representatives from NGOs and civil society partners involved in combating trafficking in persons in Kyrgyzstan, exchanged experiences, shared findings and discussed ways to respond to the needs of victims of trafficking  (VoTs) and migrants in accordance with international standards and best practices.

During the workshop, participants were introduced to the concept and mechanism of the national referral system, discussed VoT identification criteria and state standards on identification and referral of VoTs based on the victim-centred approach. The purpose of this event was to provide relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders with best practices on counter-trafficking efforts, assess the government’s international commitments and further promote an effective approach in identification and referral of victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups based on experiences in other countries. Based on the workshop findings, international experts will define the high priority directions of national legislation which require amendments in order to come in line with international standards.

The overall goal of this BOMCA activity is to further develop the legal and procedural instruments and introduce advanced practices to promote cross-border mobility and address the multifaceted challenges caused by mixed migration flows from, through, and to Central Asia. This includes ensuring proper identification of, and protection for, vulnerable migrants, notably labour migrants; promoting advanced local border traffic regimes; and the use of EU guidelines and examples from EU external borders.