16 Days of Activism: Women in law enforcement gaining community trust
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Tajikistan, 5 December 2022 – Zarina has been working at Tajikistan’s Customs Service for over 20 years. She is now a Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Inspector of the Department of Countering Customs Offences. “The work is challenging,” she says. “Sometimes, when I reflect on what brought me into the service, I realize that my choice of profession was initially spontaneous.
“But over the years, through gaining experience and seeing the great importance of this work for society, I discovered that I have a feeling for it, that I belong here, and most of all, that here I can be useful to people. Today I cannot imagine being without my work and our amazing team.”
In Zarina’s opinion, it is critical to have women working in law enforcement, including in Customs. Moreover, “it is important that female officers work with women who have been subjected to violence. These women will feel much more comfortable sharing their concerns and problems with women officers,” Zarina explains.
“It can prevent even greater psychological trauma from being inflicted on them. In any situation, women often feel more at ease with women officers and prefer to communicate with them.” She adds, “we are no different in our professional competencies from men, and we are equally successful in our work.”
From Zarina’s observations, women in law enforcement can easily gain the trust of the communities they work with because they are more inclined to adopt a peaceful approach, better at defusing tensions and thereby preventing conflicts, and typically patient, persistent and dedicated which helps them effectively fulfil their duties.
“The Customs Service under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has been cooperating with UNODC for many years,” says Zarina. “We have participated in many events and training courses under the Cross-Border Cooperation Project, including the border liaison offices’ initiative.”
“Under this project, we have strengthened inter-agency and transborder cooperation and intelligence-sharing with neighbouring countries. These measures help us ensure border security effectively, conduct joint operations, and take proactive measures to prevent crime.”
“Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we took part in several UNODC trainings conducted via videoconferencing with experienced trainers and experts. The project encourages the meaningful participation of women officers in all its activities, empowering us.”
For Zarina, it is gratifying to see that, every year, more and more women are joining the Customs Service in Tajikistan and contributing to the socio-economic development and security of the state.
This year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign kicked off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. The yearly campaign sparks hundreds of events around the world designed to accelerate efforts to end violence against women and girls. The global theme for this year’s UN Secretary-General-led campaign is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”, calling upon governments and partners to show their solidarity with women’s rights movements and activists, and inviting everyone to join the global movement to end violence against women once and for all.
Comprehensive and multi-sectoral solutions are required to end all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls by 2030, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5.2. Crime prevention and criminal justice responses are a key part of this approach.
Source: United Nations office on Drug and Crime