Manama: Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking (QFCHT) has launched a research project to determine the extent of public awareness in the country about human trafficking.

The exercise is within the framework of the Arab initiative to Build National Capacities to Combat Human Trafficking, adopted by Qatar in co-operation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Qatari media reported on Wednesday.

The results of the research project will provide QFCHT with information to target their future campaigns and this, in turn, will help to combat human trafficking in the Middle East and North Africa.

"It is necessary to begin the initiative with accurate information about the understanding of the real meaning of human trafficking," a spokesperson said. "We can then measure and track changes in community awareness over the years to emphasise how useful the initiative has been."

QFCHT staff, backed by a team of volunteers, conducted personal interviews in both English and Arabic with 426 Qatar residents of different nationalities, and the results of the study will be announced at the end of this year.

While the general objective of QFCHT is to combat human trafficking in its different forms, the forum intends to work towards establishing full awareness in the community about the seriousness of the phenomenon.

QFCHT intends to propose policies, develop national action plans and enact laws to combat human trafficking and to supervise the Qatari House for Lodging and Human Care.

It also aims to establish a database in accordance with modern techniques and methods to assess the dangers of human trafficking in co-operation with governmental and non-governmental organisations in the country and with the Arab and international bodies and UN organizations, Qatari daily Gulf Times reported.

QFCHT will co-ordinate with concerned authorities and government and non-governmental organisations to educate and raise awareness among employees to prevent participation in the practice of human trafficking.

It will develop training and awareness programmes focusing on combating human trafficking, and conduct conferences and initiatives in co-operation with neighbouring countries.