New system to help trafficking victims in Bahrain

National Referral Mechanism is similar to an existing system in the UK, where gov't agencies identify victims of trafficking
(Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Mon 19 Dec 2016 02:01 PM

A new early notification system in Bahrain is expected to help victims of human trafficking get help faster.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is supported by the United Nations (UN), would identify possible cases through a first-responder initiative, reported Gulf Daily News.

Police, social workers, hospital staff, embassy workers and Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) inspectors will be required to report suspected trafficking victims to the Migrant Workers Protection Society and the Assistance Unit government office, which operates under LMRA.

“The National Referral System is a unique concept that will soon be introduced that complies with international standards. We are going ahead with co-operation from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,” said LMRA chief executive and National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons chairman Ausamah Al Absi.

Once the reports are made, the Assistance Unit would follow up on the cases and initiate legal action. The first responders are required to inform the LMRA of any cases in order for the unit to step in and track them at every stage, including with the judicial bodies.

The new NRM is similar to an existing system in the UK, where government agencies identify victims of trafficking and suspected trafficking cases go through two stages once potential victims are identified. The first is a five-day process in which officials determine whether an individual is a victim of trafficking, while the second involves a 45-day information and evidence gathering period.

Al Absi said a similar framework will be adopted in Bahrain, where the victim can leave the country or remain in Bahrain to allow authorities to co-operate with the investigations related to the case.

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