Madina Jarbussynova, Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, OSCE Secretariat ( OSCE/Vera Djemelinskaia )

­­­­­­I started co-operating with the OSCE more than 15 years ago, while I was working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan as Vice Minister. Later, Eva Biaudet (the OSCE Special Representative from 2006-2009) met with me and other relevant authorities during her visit to Kazakhstan and made us aware of the need to take a broader approach to trafficking in human beings, expanding our focus beyond the issue of sexual exploitation. This was the starting point of my involvement in combating trafficking in human beings.

Now, after many years of co-operation with various international organizations, I can say that the OSCE is a leader in its comprehensive and human rights-based approach to combating trafficking in human beings.

The OSCE is a consensus-based organization, and all the decisions are a collective effort. I experienced this first-hand during the Kazakh Chairmanship (2010) when my country proposed establishing the position of Special Representative on Gender Issues. My role was to negotiate the idea and the mandate with the participating States, and this really gave me tremendous insight into the inner workings of the organization.

Prior to becoming Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine in 2012, my most intense period of co-operation with the OSCE was during the Kazakh Chairmanship. As a member of the Task Force, I was in charge of Human Dimension activities. Together with the OSCE’s anti-trafficking Office, we convened a meeting on the best international practices in preventing and combating child trafficking.

It is part of my job to assist governments in recognizing the problem. Although we are not a large Office, we make up for it through our eagerness to address this pressing transnational threat together with our partners, within and beyond the OSCE. The Government of Kazakhstan has also co-operated closely with the OSCE through such platforms as the Alliance conference, taking a number of successive measures in the framework of the Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

The Office is small and the challenges are great, but at the end of the day I know that we are at the vanguard of the fight against modern-day slavery and the realization that my contribution can make a real change is indeed inspiring.