Collaborative Efforts to Strengthen International Partnerships to Combat Human Trafficking in Mongolia

Local news, 05.02.2024

The Government of Mongolia is not yet meeting the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking, but it is making substantial efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, the crime rate remains high. 

Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking ©MGEC

From 2017-2021, the police investigated 145 cases of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and organized prostitution, with only nine cases being resolved in court. Of concern is the increasing number of minor victims and victims from rural areas. In 2021-2022, of the 54 victims investigated, 76 percent were minors. The issue of forced labor remains significantly unrecognized and unresolved.

Since 2003, the Mongolian Gender Equality Center (MGEC) has assisted approximately 1,000 victims of human trafficking. It has repatriated around 400 victims from 14 foreign countries and safely returned 11 victims from three countries to Mongolia. The MGEC collaborated with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation on the Combating Human Trafficking project, which was funded by the Swiss Government from 2007-2010.

Efforts to safely repatriate Mongolian citizens who have become victims of human trafficking abroad involve cooperation between governmental, non-governmental, and international organizations. In 2006, the MGEC, along with other government and law enforcement agencies, conducted a study to address the issue of human trafficking in various places, including Erlian, Beijing, Macao, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea.

According to government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs data, 61 Mongolian citizens were repatriated between 2018 and 2020. The pandemic caused border restrictions and curfews in many countries, resulting in a decrease in outward movement and an increase in internal movement. However, as countries have relaxed their border restrictions post-pandemic, there is a concern that the risk of outward trafficking will increase. Over the past three years, more than 30 victims have been safely brought back to Mongolia from East and Southeast Asian countries, and there is a worrying trend of increasing cases after the pandemic.

In December 2023, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation supported a study led by the MGEC. The research analyzed the trafficking profiles and the process of recruiting and transporting victims. It also assessed the situation and risks for the safe repatriation of victims. It also aimed to coordinate protective and preventive actions with Mongolian consulates and improve collaboration with anti-trafficking iNGOs and networks in countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The research was conducted by representatives of the special anti-trafficking unit of the Criminal Police, the MGEC, and Mongolian consular sections in those countries. They interviewed Mongolian citizens living and working in these countries and individuals at risk. The research report was scheduled to be published in January 2024 and is expected to provide evidence-based findings and policy recommendations.