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Three Days in “Anti-Trafficking zone”

Final workshop for journalists

“How to raise awareness of trafficking in Mass Media” was the topic which gathered together in Aghveran journalists invited from Yerevan and all the regions of Armenia who had expressed their wish to improve their knowledge in trafficking awareness, gathered.

The workshop, organized by the “Association of Audio Visual reporters” was the last one among the series of training courses launched around one year ago, aimed at establishment and development of a platform for anti-trafficking awareness raising.

The agenda of the course was quite full, and, to the organizers’ and to the experts’ satisfaction, the participants dived into work right away.

The course was officially opened by the president of the “Association of Audio-Visual Reporters” NGO – Arzuman Harutyunyan, who presented the goals and issues of the course right after thanking the participants and the experts for participation, and the representatives of the United States for financial support.

Participants were also welcomed by the head of the Anti-Trafficking working group in Armenia – Vahram Kazhoyan, who emphasized the importance of the course and noted the key role of the journalists in fight against human trafficking.

Edward O’Brian Transnational crime affairs officer of the Bureau for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs (INL) of the Embassy of the United States of America, also had a welcome speech. He noted, in particular, the achievements in the fight against trafficking in Armenia and the role of journalists therein.

The second item of the agenda was introduction of e participants and experts of the seminar, followed by the experts’ presentations.

“The Situation with Human Trafficking in Armenia” was presented by David Tumasyan-Doctor of Philosophy in Law, Senior Legal Assistant “Strengthening the Implementation Capacity of the Armenian Anti-Trafficking National Action Plan Actors” Project Democratization Programme OSCE Office in Yerevan.

“The Necessity of Mass Media Attention towards the Problems of Human Trafficking; The Role of Journalists in the Prevention of the Phenomenon”, was presented by Gegham Vardanyan, Producer of Media.am website, media trainer. Working at Media Initiatives Center (former Internews.

Later the expert also presented analysis of the materials within the frames of 2013 Media coverage of human trafficking, which was the basis for the course topics.

During the entire course, the international expert on human trafficking awareness, Kateryna Ardanyan, Senior Counter-Trafficking Programme Specialist, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine, shared her experience with the participants.

It shall be noted that the best local and international experts of the field were involved in the course.

Second day of workshop was opened by Tigran Petrosyan’s RA Police 3-rd department’s chief colonel presentation “Fights against trafficking in Armenia: Prehistory”, which illustrated reporters’ passed way of Armenia in the fight against human trafficking.

A considerable part of the day was dedicated to the meetings with the NGO’s fighting against trafficking and representatives of international organizations, during which they shared their experience in anti-trafficking sphere and more importantly, devised mechanisms for future cooperation. Among the presenters were the representative of the international migration organization – Nune Asatryan, the representative of AMCOR-Armenia – Victoria Avakova, and the representative of OSCE Office in Yerevan – Ovsanna Babayan.

During the presentations and discussions, the journalists’ attention was mostly drawn towards problems related to their social and judicial responsibilities and the preservation of professional ethics. These issues became the topic of a long-lasting debate since numerous problematic cases of that sort had been registered in the previously published materials regarding human trafficking.

As a continuation participants were presented role and meaning of the Self-Regulating Expert Body of media field. The presentation was made by “Freedom of speech center” NGO’s head Ashot Meliqyan.

By the end of the second day a pleasant surprise waited for the participants – be invited to an upstairs party dance floor. The entrance was by stating their anti-trafficking motto: and there was a prize for the best motto. The evening was a real success and the participants stayed up rather late to learn who the winner would be. The volunteers of the workshop also prepared a surprise – a staged dance called “STOP TRAFFICKING”.

The last day of the workshop became a day of so called “expression of acquired knowledge”. The course organizers invited the journalists for a press conference on an invented topic, during which the participants were supposed to prepare investigation case of the issue with well-prepared questions, and later draft materials for the participant presentation. The semi-humorous press conference went well and the participants prepared materials, presented for newspaper, TV, and online forms.

The Training course was successfully completed and the winner was announced-journalist Ara Eghishyan, with his motto “People are not energizers. Use your own power”. The rest of the participants were distributed symbolic certificates of participation – attached to watches.

This was merely a general presentation about the workshop. Soon the website will present the participants’ and experts’ opinions on the level of development of the media platform in Armenia for fighting human trafficking – including its three resources.

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