UMCOR Armenia Receives Grant from State Department
December 12, 2008—Thanks to a generous grant, there is new hope for people in Armenia who are subjected to human trafficking. The United Methodist Committee on Relief's non-governmental organization (UMCOR-NGO), received $90,000 to work with law enforcement officials, strengthening their response to trafficking throughout the country.
The award was presented to the head of UMCOR-NGO's Armenia office, Gohar Grigorian by the State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The US Ambassador to Armenia, Marie L. Yovanovitch hosted the event, noting that the timing coincided with the United Nations' "16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women." Most of the people who are victims of human trafficking are women who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
According to UMCOR-NGO executive Thomas Dwyer, "We are honored to be selected for this award. The funding will allow us to train the police to address the illegal exploitation of vulnerable people in Armenia."
The grant supports the second phase of UMCOR Armenia's "Strengthening of Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking." Till now more than 100 front-line police officers are trained in effective management of human trafficking cases, as well as in identification and referral mechanisms. Through the second phase of UMCOR's anti-trafficking program, investigators from the central and regional police departments will be trained to understand the legalities of suspected trafficking and how to respond to cases appropriately. They will learn how to identify victims, protect them and treat them in compliance with international standards.
UMCOR in Armenia
UMCOR has been working in Armenia since 1994 through its non-governmental organization (UMCOR NGO). The Anti-Human Trafficking Program has a variety of components that both prevent people from being trafficked and helps those who have suffered from it.
UMCOR assists persons who have been trafficked with a safe environment and reintegration back into society. UMCOR also provides medical services, psychosocial support, and legal counseling. A vocational training program helps those at risk for trafficking to learn needed job skills so they are less likely to seek employment outside of Armenia and therefore less likely to be trafficked.
In addition to providing support to survivors, UMCOR combats further human trafficking by training border guards and police how to detect and assist populations at-risk for trafficking, operating a telephone hotline for people to get more information, and conducting public education and outreach activities.