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Tajik Officials Step Up Fight Against Human Trafficking --> (RFE/RL) DUSHANBE, August 16, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The Dushanbe mayor's office has set up a special commission to fight human trafficking, which officials say has been increasing at an alarming rate.

Rajabmurod Tolibov, a member of the State Commission Against Human Trafficking, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that most of the victims of human trafficking in Dushanbe are children and young women.

The Tajik General-Prosecutor's Office says that 24 criminal cases on the trafficking of children have been opened during the past seven months.

Some Tajik 80 women who had reportedly fallen victim to traffickers have been brought back from foreign countries in the past four years.

Due to economic hardship and widespread unemployment, many Tajiks leave the country in search of employment. This situation creates a fertile environment for human traffickers to recruit people.

Authorities say the new commission will try to track down organized criminal groups involved in human trafficking as well as raise the public's awareness about the issue.

Some experts, however, are unsure of yet another state commission effectively fighting the increasing human trafficking in the country.

Mavluda Abdullo, a Dushanbe-based expert on social affairs, told RFE/RL that the government should also deal with the corrupt officials in the police, border control, and custom services that reportedly cooperate with traffickers.

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