Country-Wide Prosecutors of Myanmar Learn the Victim-Centered Approach from Warnath Group Experts

The Warnath Group facilitated two successful multi-day workshops with prosecutors from across Myanmar at the Union Attorney General’s Office in Nay Pyi Taw. The training, which took place August 12-14 and 17-19, 2015, focused on the victim-centered approach in cases of human trafficking and was the first skill based training for prosecutors from across the country based upon the victim-centered approach.

The Union Attorney General, His Excellency Dr. Tun Shin, the Police Major General Zaw Win, and the Warnath Group’s CEO Stephen Warnath opened the first workshop by delivering remarks and welcoming the participants.  U.S. Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell who could not be present provided a statement that was read at the opening of the workshop.  Staff members of the Union Attorney General’s Office and Myanmar Police Force, including Brigadier General Win Naing Tun who heads the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, also attended this opening ceremony.

Warnath Group Senior Advisor on Law and Policy, Sheila Berman and Warnath Group Expert, Jenny Stanger, National Director of the Freedom Project to End Modern Slavery of the Salvation Army of Australia and co-founder of the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) in Los Angeles, created and led modules on international human trafficking law, the victim-centered approach, proving a human trafficking case, working with victims including children, and international and domestic case cooperation.  Interactive exercises were woven into the curriculum to ensure thematic modules were followed by actionable skills practice and open discussion.

Deputy Director General Daw Khin Cho Ohn of the Union Attorney General’s Office presented a module on Myanmar’s human trafficking laws during both workshops, and, Chaw Chaw of the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP) joined the first workshop to present on domestic case cooperation and available resources for victim assistance.

During the second workshop, the prosecutors and the Union Attorney General’s Office staff discussed new procedures to identify and prosecute trafficking cases.  A prosecutor initiated a frank conversation on how police designate cases as crimes of trafficking in persons versus other crimes.  Deputy Director General Ohn responded by providing guidance on how the prosecutors can communicate their concerns about trafficking cases with the Union Attorney General’s Office directly.  This level of problem solving among prosecutors and the Union Attorney General’s staff demonstrates the critical thinking and communication facilitated by the Warnath Group’s teaching approach and skilled training experts.

These workshops included prosecutors from diverse regions of the country, a unique training feature in Myanmar. These workshops were held shortly after serious flooding occurred across the country, causing several participants to travel for days to reach Nay Pyi Taw to attend this training.   This inclusion enriches the workshop discourse as participants share their varying experiences, and ensures that best practices and new skillsets will reach those who are working to combat trafficking in different local contexts.  At the conclusion of the workshops, participants said they gained a new perspective on working with victims and the implications of trauma, and were pleased with the program.

The Warnath Group’s training model is designed to encourage a continuing relationship with training participants to sustain, enrich and advance educational and performance objectives.  WG created a dedicated web page on its website with training materials and other resources to serve as a central portal of communication with the prosecutors.

The experiences and knowledge gained during the workshops further informed the Warnath Group in its training and technical assistance work in Myanmar during the United States – Myanmar Joint Plan on Trafficking in Persons.  These workshops were made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), and with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Burma.

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