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I think interrupting human trafficking at entry points can help to stop the practice. However, this requires NGOs working closely with security agents and immigration officials.
NGO workers will have to station their staff at the borders and get involved in monitoring how people allowed to leave the country to the destination where they are abused. This requires interviews of suscipicious passengers and transport owners and contacting relatives of people suspected people toi find out if they are aware that their relatives were leaving the country and the purpose for doing so.
In the case of SADC this should mainly happen at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa becuase of late the practice happens in the countries with South Africa being the recipient country becuase of its economic stability.
The other tactic will be to work closely with labour unions involved in the transport sectors where strong action should be taken against drivers and workers who are accomplices to the crime. This could also involve working with NGO and security forces to stop the practice.
However, in the long run, addressing the socio-economic problems of people in the country of origin can help to stop the practice especially the plight of women and children. An economic stabilization that has been caused by the political crisis and the break down of law and order in the case of Zimbabwe will help to stop this recent phenomenon the country'ss poor and marginalized groups such as women are facing
I agree that interrupting human trafficking at entry points can help to stop the practice. I have been working on a birth registration campaign in Southern Sudan, and in my research I have found that in several Asian countries, and particularly Vietnam, there have been efforts at the border to halt trafficking. These efforts include measures so that police can request a child's birth certificate from adults traveling with a child at any time, and that a lack of birth certificate can serve as an obstacle when pursuing or punishing traffickers. Indeed, this certain requires that NGO workers will have to station their staff at bordres and get involved in the monitoring process. In addition, it might be helpful to train other border workers so as to have more wide-reaching effects. As is generally the case, the stabilization of the economic and political situation will allow for more to be done in cases of human rights abuses, and will also provide the opportunity to make laws tougher in terms of preventing and cracking down on humn rights abuses. The problems are systemic and must be addressed as such.
This aspect of halting trafficking at border points is very interesting work. I would like to hear of more ways in which organizations and police are working together. More often, we hear about police being involved in trafficking themselves - most often through corruption and payoffs.
One example of an NGO working with boarder police I'd like to share from our New Tactics database is from Maiti Nepal. They intercept trafficked women and girls by assisting
the border police by interviewing vulnerable girls and women who
are crossing the border while their traveling companions are interrogated by
the police. You can read more about this tactical example using this link:
Collaborating with the border police to prevent trafficking
The tactic has also resulted in legal
proceedings against human traffickers, putting pressure upon local
administrations to take action against the criminals.
Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager
In Brazil some NGOs have been participating in raising awareness and trainning border police. This has been doing trought grants form the government and from the American Embassy, for exemple. The work consists in instructing the border police (federal officers) about the law, the Palermo Protocol, the need to investigate illegal nets, the resources avaiable at the non governmental area when they rescue victms, as shelters, hot lines, data and others. Some states, as the State of Sao Paulo, have been very active in connecting police and NGOs.
As it happen in many countries there is a mutual lack of trust among the two sectors that causes a lot of distress and is a barrier, an extra problem to deal with. It works like this: many NGOs dont trust the Police and think that it doesn't prioritize human trafficking, as they understand that they are very busy dealing with 'more mportant violations' , or many officers accept bribes from the dealers; the Police don't trust NGOs because they think that they are vere severe judging Police work, dont 'understand' Police work, are just a bunch of curious and demanding organization, that dont have the skills to help and should not to interfere in policing, as being outsiders of the institution.
I am sure that the fight against human trafficking has to be performed with the cooperation among several areas of the State and the society. International trafficking has to be addressed trought the international cooperation among government agencies and NGOs from diferent countries.
The Counter-trafficking (CT) Department under the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, is the biggest specialized CT body in Ukraine. Based on the Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Interior and the IOM in Ukraine, the CT Department of the Ministry refers identified victims for IOM reintegration services. 33% of 2008 victim case load was identified by law enforcement.
Ms. Svitlana Batsyukova
IOM Mission in Ukraine
On my new post In angola, the issue is very new, until now we are starting to sensitize the law enforcement agencies so there are not many cases or examples to share.
But also I have the experience of Colombia, there we made a participative design of a protocol to assist and reintegrate victim, under this protocol we encourage the victims to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies. This protocol, will be adopted by law, and encourage the coordination between law enforcement agencies and the service providers in order to guarantee and restore the human rights of the victims but also encourage the contribution of the VoT during the penal procedures.
Besides the legal document it was created an specialized center of prosecution in which all the law enforcement agencies work in coordination, with specialized equipment to make investigations of trafficking. On this center the VoT have an specialized treatement, in which the main principle is the prohibiton of the revictimization, it has a gessel chamber and the trafficker won´t have any contact with the VoT. This center is begginning to work so until now we don´t have an impact assesment of the center. But I think is a good example to share regarding cooperation with law enforcement.
Addressing the socio-economic problems of people in the country of origin is a major tool to help to stop human trafficking. But, as underdeveloped countries that many of us are, we know how dificult is empowering people and reducing their demand of basic needs. It is a non stop effort for many many years , our history tells us about. We may have many projects, very helpful and effective, but they can not address all the needs of the poor polutation, they can not take care of tmillions of youngsters that are looking for a chance, for surviving, for helping their families. This is why the complexity of the human trafficking needs integration of many diferent agencies and people, community leaders, and time, and hope. The absence of this integration and a common strategy means trowing away resources and time. Slavery, child labor, crime, accepting sexual explotation still being considering an opportuniy, a chance in many countries. It is very sad, but we know that that many families accept this situation to one of the child because they need this money to feed the siblings and the elders.
To stop people at the borders is necessary; to be sure they are part of the family (and here comes the birth certificate issue again); to have access to data about who is who; to be able to 'feel' the special suspect in these cases. And to have laws, good police work, the awareness of local leaders, teachers, judges.
Sergeant John Bandemer
Gerald D. Vick Human Trafficking Task Force
Saint Paul Police Dept.
Saint Paul, MN
I would like to comment on "why patrons are not held accountable" for their actions. In most states the act of hiring or agreeing to hire someone for a sexual act constitutes prostitution. But it is generally a misdemeanor offense which needs to be witnessed by a police officer for the offender to be arested. In some cases a private citizen can make a "citizens arrest" and turn the man over for the police, but this is not recommended for obvious reasons.
The St Paul Police Dept works with a local NGO called Breaking Free to target men looking to pay for sex. We use undercover female officers to attract the men on the street or in a hotel/motel so that we can record the offense and effect the arrest. This program is called Stop The Demand and is designed to try and reduce the demand for the sex trade and teach the men who are arrested about how their behavior affects the women, their families and the communities. We have a very low recidivism rate in this area (under 2%).
We have entered into agreements with our prosecutors and judges to sentence these men to the "John School" which is run by the NGO and also levy fines and court costs. We believe that it has been very effective.
In reference to NGOs working with Police the New Tactics website has a useful notebook about educating the police force which can be found here:
The topic of NGOs working with police or other law enforcement officials has been raised several times in this discussion, including providing treatment centers, "John" schools or assisting at the borders. I would like anyone who has participated in this types of activities to comment a bit further.
- What are the greatest barriers to law enforcement/NGO cooperation?
-What role can an NGO best fill in this type of arrangement?
Obviously, this type of cooperation can be vital in combating human trafficking, and I would just like to know more about how it can be acheived.
I agree with some of the posts about the need of separating sexual explotation, prostitution and trafficking for sexual explotation. They are not the same phenomenon. They may be mixed up, in some cases, but we have to understand and treat them diferently: law, training, enforcement, public awareness, etc. In some countries where prostitution is illegal, there is a strong insistence in consider as trafficking most of the cases of young people been prostituted. Many of these cases are droped in Courts because they not fullfil the standars of the law, and, not at all the Palermo Protocol. It is not good for the cause, because it confuses the public and the judicial understanding of the problem; causes the dismiss of individual cases that may be related with nets; provokes the lack of legitimacy of the human trafficking. Elizabeth
World Hope International/FAAST did training of Police trainers in Sierra Leone in 2005. This was done by law enforcement experts that were brought in from outside of Sierra Leone for that training. We do not feel that non-law enforcement trainers can have the insight/impact on how to actually do the law enforcement. But as an NGO involved in anti-trafficking we contributed during the training the information that was necessary to help them identify trafficking victims, and how to treat victims, etc.
We have had a good relationship with the Sierra Leone Police. One of the reasons for this is that there are a few high-ranking police officers who are very concerned and active in relation to anti-trafficking. We have also pursued an active relationship with them. We have let them know that we want to help them and we are not just asking for them to help us. We make sure that we are working with the local unit commander. Sierra Leone has implemented a new division called the Family Support Unit. This is the unit which works with domestic violence cases, child abuse, etc. We work with them a lot. We always include the law enforcement officers in our community trainings.
We find it necessary to work as much as possible with the cooperative police officers because there are those who are complicit with the crime. We initiate as much contact with law enforcement officers as possible. When they perceive that we are not there just to criticize, they are generally very cooperative.
In Serbia and we can say in most of teh SEE marginalized groups are facing serious birth registration problems, such are Roma communities. Due to that they are more exposed to different risks and deprivation including risks of being trafficked. In order to prevent this a local NGOs in partnership with UN drafted a Model Law on the Procedure for Recognition of Persons before the Law (http://www.praxis.org.rs/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=131&Itemid=73) providing smooth access to birth registration and calling for proactive measures applied by the state - as mentioned by other participants sometimes requirements for birth registration go beyond some parents capacities - illiteracy, language, money, lack of information, stigmatization. This law is still to be adopted, a lot of arguments are being raised, but still it came finally to the governement agenda. There are some good case studies and from practice we can confirm that the issue of documentation is a key when trying to assist a victim of trafficking.
Jovana Mihajlovic, IOM Belgrade CT Team
Thanks for your comments Jovana and also Dr. Miles. Jovana, your reference to the Model Law on the Procedure for Recognition of Persons Before the Law was very interesting and I'm exited to do more research about the implications it might have in other countries. As you mentioned the Roma community, I thought of a tactic which might be helpful which is based on human rights abuses within the Roma community living in Hungary. The tactic is called Testing for Discrimination: Indentifying and Prosecuting Human Rights abuses, and essentially involves testing for discrimination against a minority group. The link is: http://www.newtactics.org/en/TestingForDiscrimination, and I think it might help to respond to Dr. Miles question about whether registration is a good idea in communities where minorities are discriminated against. The concept is that in creating a network of volunteers to monitor compliance with international human rights commitments at a local level, the international community can effectively demonstrate that they are aware that discrimination is occuring -- which would in turn encourage the cease of discriminatory practices.
The Model Law is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of making sure that minorities can be registered without the fear of persecution by the government. The Model Law stipulates that persons who are legally invisible (not registered at birth) are prevented from exercising their basic human rights such as the right to health care, social welfare, education, labor, etc. This has the implications that the state cannot effectively counter things such as protecting children who are trafficked, the problem of girls being forced into marriage before they are legally eligible etc. Thus, these rights are integral to the human rights and well-being of a child. This demonstrates just how important the registration of a child is, and there are many more reasons I haven't listed here.
The Model Law has not been passed, but would provide smooth access for birth registration and calls for proactive measures to be applied by the state in order to counter some of the reasons why parents haven't been registering children. While birth registration has the potential to put minorities at risk in some places, I believe that with the proper legislation, oversight, and enforcement, the international community can help in preventing this from happening. Although I don't know much about the case in Cambodia other than that the Vietnamese community is discriminated against, after doing some research it seems that there are some ways in which the international community could effectively prevent birth registration from resulting in discriminatory practices.
Paradoxically, while some minorities have avoided being registered out of fear, there has also been a deliberate element to the lack of birth registration of particular groups which are excluded due to discriminatory policies that are intended to minimize the size of ethnic minorities for both political reasons and to avoid provisions of assistance to immigrants. So the issue is very complicated, especially when there is the involvement of minorities that are historically persecuted within a country. Here are my thoughts on the matter, and I'd love for people to comment on what they think. First of all, birth registration requires trained staff with necessary equipment. I think that the training methods must integrate the importance of the privacy of records, and the importance of making sure the records are not used for the wrong purposes. Because in many of the places where birth registration isn't occuring NGO's are helping with the training, these same NGO's could make sure to integrate anti-discriminatory practices into training. Secondly, Nancy had brought up the issue of WATCH and their red clipboards and whether their tactic might be effectively adapted to address the issue of human trafficking. My thought is, what if in places in which the government had been known to persecute minorities, the process of birth registration was accompanied with a WATCH-like organization who might make groups aware on both sides that the process was being watched or monitored and there were people making sure that the information was being used for the correct purposes. This would require networking of both governmental and non-governmental groups, but could provide one solution to the problem of information being misused. I'd like to hear more about what people are doing in terms of registration or government practices which might put minority populations and risk and how to prevent it.
Hello from Chisinau! Some participants have brought up the issue of cultural sensitivity and especially to those working in countries of destination I would like to recommend paying particular attention to this in outreach and assistance. Working with migrant communities having representatives of those communities e.g. answering hotline calls, working at a shelter and providing counselling really makes a difference. When it comes to exploitation (sexual, labor, which ever kind) we have very culture-specific norms and understanding of what is acceptable, what is the role of an individual in e.g. settling a family debt etc. Intervening in migrant community based exploitation is almost impossibe without specific knowledge and understanding of particualrities. In addition, having people from ethnic minorities/migrant communities etc. is a powerful empowerment tool: disentangling from an exploitative situation within a tight-knit community is difficult, and can be made easier with priovision of positive role models (of survival outside own community). Similarly, when it comes to rescue operations, the possibility of a VoT to instantly speak in their own language with a person who can not only translate language but interpret the whole "system" of the destination country/culture can be crucial. So e.g. not only send female social workers to raids on sweat shops and brothels but also have someone from the target community with you and create a possibility for the VoTs to build a confidential relationship with this cultural 'interpreter' - someone on their "side".
IOM Chisinau Prevention and Protection Team (Blaec and Elina)
Blaec and Elina,
Your examples of cultural sensitivity are really useful. In Cambodia I was involved in helping develop a karaoke video training pack for youth and children that helped youth to understand that different forms of abuse and trafficking are wrong in the belief that it would help them gain confidence if they heard from outside what they often seemed to know instinctively themselves. We found karaoke to be a culturally appropriate medium. But I think we are often working with 2 sub-cultures at the same time; one that values virginity and another which values the right to have sex and of course these can be contradictory. How do we challenge the latter sub-culture of many men?
Dr. Glenn Miles, Director of Prevention, Love 146
www.Love146.org is involved in aftercare and prevention primarily in Southeast and South Asia
I agree that not every prostitute is a victim. It seems to be a constant battle between LE and NGO's and politicians when we discuss these cases. If we arrest a woman for a prostitution offense people argue that she is a victim and wonder why we are prosecuting her. If we treat every woman arrested like a victim we are not doing justice to the true victims out there when they need services and the NGO's are tapped out. Who decides who the victims are? Are there "historical victims"? If a girl starts out as a victim in a prostitution ring but, through time, is allowed to become a recruiter and enforcer for the organization, is she still a victim when LE becomes involved?
The greatest barrier I have encountered in working with NGO's is that they seem to want to modify federally legislated definitions to fit their purpose and create more "victims".
Excellent questions, John!
Your points were also articulated by the FBI at Downtown Minneapolis. They asked us (the University of Minnesota Law School Humphrey Fulbright Fellows) why there is a great disparity between the statistical report of NGOs and FBI/local police. We answered that there are many factors but the most glaring one is the different interpretation -- or I dare say, framework -- use to understand the definition of "trafficking in persons." There are operational, legal, and internationally-set standards in defining trafficking. I think the NGOs always attempt to reconcile the definitions of the domestic law and the international trafficking in persons protocol.
I guess the question is not a matter of modifying domestic definition to fit the NGO's purpose, thus, increasing the reported number of clients. For NGOs, it's a matter of providing the widest range of direct services to these prostituted/trafficked women and children and respecting later the trafficked person's opinion that s/he does not find her/himself "fitting within the box." Having worked with trafficked persons, I find it extremely helpful if the woman or child personally identifies herself as 'prostituted' or 'trafficked.'
As service providers, it is not for us to determine who is or who isn't a victim. I'm even uncomfortable with the word "victim" because I see it as a disempowering term to call them. I'd rather use the label "trafficked person," "trafficked woman/child." But I understand your difficult predicament especially so that a case begins with police investigation and for purposes of filing a case it is a standard operating procedure to identify a victim (or a complainant.) However, I also want to emphasize that most anti-trafficking laws do not aptly and categorically put within the definition of 'victim' the "prostituted person-turned-pimp-turned trafficker." But does that make that individual less of a 'victim' and more of an 'offender?'
Prostitution is systemic in any cultural and racial context. If a once-prostituted person eventually graduate to the role of a pimp, a mama san, a nightclub manager, a wife of a bar owner, an illegal recruiter, or a trafficker, it is because of the total failure of the family, the community, the State to provide her a chance to get out of that exploitative situation. There might be a wide array of reintegration, educational, and alternative livelihood programs available for prostituted/trafficked persons. But we still have to work more on family and community education to prepare them so they could help ensure that a prostituted/trafficked person's coming home would not feel ostracized and condemned -- and eventually pushed back to the world that preys on human flesh.
We have been discussing here the human trafficking for sexual explotation. I would like to know if any of the participants is working with or have information about the human organ trafficking or commercialization. It became a very important issue around the world, even the Pope sent an alert about last year. A major problem of human rights the organs commerce has been neglected by most of the States and dismissed as a private issue.
Hello from Chisinau! Just a few points to clarify our earlier comment that not all prostitutes are victims of trafficking and in light of what John you write here:
- Frist of all, the fact that not all prostitutes are VoTs does not mean that they should not be considered first and foremost in need of supportive social measures, and not as criminals! That is the point of eg the Swedish legislation: selling sex is never a crimial act as the premise is that it is either an individual choice, and/or that choice is based on a false 'freedom' (poverty, being a VoT etc). The point that prostitutes are not necessarily trafficked does not mean that their needs are that different. A very small precentage of prostitutes globally are not victims of trafficking/pimping/exploitation/violence - so the point of these NGOs you mention could be to offer needs-based support, which might not diffrentiate a prostitute and a VoT, because the needs of the person can be exactly the same. But yes indeed, all exploited people/prostitutes etc. are not VoTs. The matter of historical victims is indeed difficult, and as we mentioned, in Moldova it seems some of the recrtuiters convicted are former victims.
- Secondly, victims or suspected victims should never be arrested! Going into a brothel etc LE should be accompanied by social workers, NGO representatives etc. who offer eg medical services and other support - this would be the way to reach out/identify VoTs among prostitutes, not arresting them!
- Thirdly, on the question who decides who the victims are - all countries have their own legislation, usually based on Palermo protocol. However, if we also actually did enforce international human rights agreements (and in Europe e.g. the CE convention of trafficking) it would be the experience of the person which is the defining factor. So it's really a matter of interpretation and to get the relevant info a real human-rights based approach is needed, which can be very time consuming.
Hello from Cambodia! These are great questions and great responses to the troublesome debate over separating non-trafficked "prostitutes" from "victims of trafficking." I'd like to throw in 2 more points: first, according to the Polermo Protocol and to most national laws against trafficking, any person in prostitution under 18 years old who, regardless of the circumstances (means) by which s/he entered into prostitution, is a victim of trafficking. Thus, anyone under 18 engaged in prostitution is by definition a "victim of trafficking." Second, proving force, fraud, coercion, or the other "means" of trafficking can be complicated when the victim is forced, de-frauded, and coerced into lying about his/her circumstances. In such an inherently dangerous and degrading "job," there should be a presumption of force etc. See http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/c-prostitution-research.html for studies on violence and post-tramatic stress disorder among prostituted persons.
Kristin Wiebe, Anti-Trafficking Program Director (Asia), World Hope International
Successful and sustainable employment of victims of trafficking is one of the main indicators of the effectiveness of reintegration programmes. IOM Mission in Ukraine Micro-Enterprise Development Programme offers victims the opportunity to complete business development courses, develop business plans, and apply for a micro-grant to open their own business. In 2006-2008, 81 businesses were opened by 97 victims (some victims combined there business ideas as they were similar and related to the same territorial communities).
IOM’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme has been impressive in stimulating job growth and asset-value increase. During the course of the programme’s implementation 212 jobs were been created by the set up enterprises. Turned entrepreneurs employed members of their families as well members of the communities. The majority of victims (33%) chose to have their business in the service provision area (hair dressing studios, catering, consulting services, musical lessons, plumbing, car repair services, laundry, beauty salon and others). Other victims have their business in goods manufacturing, agriculture, construction works and retail. Currently, the average salary of victim entrepreneur is twice as high as the average official salary in Ukraine.
92% of the set-up micro enterprises still successfully operate.
Svitlana, thanks for your patience. First of all, we also provide victims with comprehensive assistance, which includes within reingetration or intengration the establishment of business plans and associated businesses, schooling etc , whatever the victim chooses under a grant of usd 2000 to help them rebuild their lives and prevent retrafficking from occuring.
My earlier reference was made to economic stabilization of persons perceived as vulnerable to TIP, and at this stage is focused on women, based on our understanding and experience in this region of who gets trafficked--most. Please find hereunder the details and please come back to me with any further questions that you may have.
TARGET GROUP The target group of the employment assistance programme (income generating), are particularly vulnerable women, for whom the access to information and employment opportunities are the most limited. The target group is unemployed women aged 16 to 30 particularly from the border areas within Southern African region. These potential beneficiaries are not only in a deprived socio-economic situation, but they are also a group at high risk of being lured into trafficking networks. Additionally, these individuals experience gender inequality in their communities and in the labour market, adding to their economic and social instability.In particular, the programme will focus on beneficiaries selected according to high vulnerability factors including: single parent mothers, victims of domestic violence and low skilled women.
identification of Beneficiaries
The beneficiaries will be selected according to their vulnerability and the viability of their income generating project proposals. Vulnerability will be assessed based on their age, marital status, education and qualification levels, socio-economic condition and place of residence. Priority will be given to single parent mothers, victims of domestic violence and other abuse, women earning below minimum wage and low skilled women. The viability of their proposed business ideas will be based on: economic viability; operational feasibility; potential for employment creation and sustainability; the applicant’s relevant working experience or proven skills in the area of proposed business activity.The selection process will be carried out by IOM in collaboration with selected partner NGOs with proven experience in community development or related field.
Development and Selection of Business Ideas:
Micro-grants assistance will be provided to selected beneficiaries aspiring to become entrepreneurs with business ideas found to be potentially viable. An Information Sheet outlining the eligibility criteria and basic conditions for receiving grant assistance and a pre-designed Business Plan will be developed and distributed locally by the respective partner NGOs to the selected beneficiaries. The detailed Business Plans will include a description of the proposed service/product, the targeted market, a needs assessment and the projected cash flow. Constant assistance will be provided by the partner NGOs in collaboration with the IOM staff in the development of business concepts. Once completed by the applicant, the Business Plan will be received by the partner NGOs and submitted to IOM staff. IOM staff in collaboration with the respective NGO will assess the applicants’ business proposal and give a preliminary verification that the eligibility criteria have been met. The appraisal process will include verification visits to determine economic, operational and technical viability of the proposed business activity. Following a positive appraisal of an applicant’s proposal and the assessment of the candidate’s character through individual meetings, IOM staff will approve the project.
small business establishement
Prior to the commitment of the grant, an agreement will be signed outlining the terms under which the grant is being given. The maximum value of the grant will be USD2, 000. Grants will generally be used for: · The purchase of equipment and machinery; · The purchase of start-up raw materials. IOM/NGO partner will be responsible for procuring the needed materials or equipment.In the course of project implementation, IOM staff will be available at scheduled intervals to provide additional business advice to beneficiaries. IOM staff will encourage programme beneficiaries to take advantage of networking possibilities with new and existing businesses in the target region and beyond by linking them with business associations.
monitoring Up to 3 unannounced visits (including the final evaluation visit) will be made by the responsible programme staff to ensure enterprise success and provide a maximum amount of support and advice for the start-up businesses. These visits will further ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement.Two months following the provision of materials and equipment, the beneficiary’s enterprise will be visited for a final evaluation to determine its success and sustainability prospects.
In our research, we have noted that many
women who are trafficked and/or prostituted become chemically dependent, or
perhaps their drug use or chemical dependency led them into prostitution or was
used by a trafficker as an enticement into the life. We found that women may also use drugs as
a survival strategy to tolerate the life as a prostitute or trafficking victim.
In some cases, women may have drug
dealers who also function as pimps and traffickers.
This chemical dependency almost certainly helps
to keep women trapped in prostitution/trafficking situations. Law enforcement officers and healthcare
providers told us that most women in street-level prostitution were addicts. A judge may order a woman into a drug
treatment program, but these often prove unsuccessful because the programs are
too short and may not be covered by insurance. Most drug treatment programs here in the US run for 28
days. One advocate told us that it
was unrealistic to expect someone to recover in that short period of time. In her experience, people enter treatment
heavily addicted. It takes two weeks for their bodies to detoxify leaving them
only two more weeks of the program. Even longer programs can be
ineffective. A survivor told us, “The
[program counselors] don’t understand that it’s taken me 30 years
to get this way, and it’s unrealistic to think that a ninety-six day
treatment program is going to help me…”
In addition, as many have discussed in
this forum, the treatment program must address the special needs and cultural
differences of each client. It must
not only address the issue of chemical dependency, it must address
prostitution-related issues. Otherwise,
it ignores the mental and physical issues that these women face.
The recovery programs that focus on
economic empowerment are really interesting and useful. Thank you for the information! I am wondering what the experience of
those who deal with survivors has been on the issues presented by chemical
Women’s Program Staff Attorney
The Advocates for Human Rights
650 South Third Avenue, Suite 550
Minneapolis, MN 55402-1940 USA
Tel: 612-341-3302, ext. 132
www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org \ www.StopVAW.org
In Ukraine we have the national Counter-trafficking and Migrant Advise http://www.migrantinfo.org.ua/?lng=eng&menu=rest&tbl=cma&submenu=7
In April 2007, three leading mobile operators, MARKET COMPETITORS, joint their efforts to create the short toll free number – 527, so people may access the hotline from their cell phones. Another mobile operator- Beeline - joint the initiative in October 2008.
The success of the initiative is tremendous. Since April 2007, 28,000 calls were received by the Hotline operators though 527 number. Only 3,000-4,000 calls were received through the long number accessible for the land line callers.
I evaluated the efforts made by mobile operators in regard to the hotline. This idea was very inexpensive, but very smart!
Hello again from 75°FPhilippines although I am currently in 15°FMinneapolis, Minnesota.
As a non-profit organization lawyer, I often ask myself how our work could better respond to the needs of the women and children we arehelping. My fellow lawyer-friendsin the Philippines said a conviction of the defendant (whether a sexualoffender, batterer, illegal recruiter/trafficker) is the greatest service I could give to my clients. But my question is: how could I secure that conviction? Or: what process should I – or the court system – subject the plaintiff/private complaint just to get to the goal: conviction?
In my capacity as member of the multi-disciplinary team at the Philippine General Hospital-Child Protection Unit (PGH-CPU), I met various profiles of trafficked minors. One thing they have in common, however, was the way by which they were referred to PGH-CPU. The referral was for conduct offorensic interview to preserve their testimony in case they later disappear or refuse to testify in court. But for PGH-CPU, it takes more than preserving their testimony in a videotape to ensure successful prosecution.
Unlike other child abuse cases, trafficking in persons is more difficult to prosecute. Although Philippines’ Anti-Trafficking Law makes consent a non-issue, the testimony of the trafficked person is still crucial for effective prosecution of the case. This is a huge problem for the People of the Philippines (or the State) because trafficked persons are reluctant to testify due to threats, financial constraints, family pressure,court delay, distrust in the system, among others. This disconnect between the realities faced by trafficked persons and the stringent requirements set by court procedure to prove a case is often not understood by the judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, police, and other key players in a court arena.
PGH-CPU adheres to the principles embodied in the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It does not claim to be perfect. Certainly, it has some lapses – that cannot be avoided in any organization – but it always strives to be mindful and respectful of the rights and opinions of the child, our primary patient/client. Often, we encounter clashing interests and opinions: between the child and the family; between the child and the temporary shelter; between the child and the lawyer/NGO representing her/him in court. Caught in themiddle, I (as CPU-PGH lawyer) would rather err and defer to the minor than impose my and the family’s views on her/him. It’s a constant balancing act. It’s a constant process of weighing ethical practice vis-à-vis legal work. It’s a constant process ofself-introspection.
Whenever I am asked to sit in a forensic videotape interview of a trafficked minor, I always have a nagging question if the child was sitting there with an informed consent or was she merely going through the motions for fear that the police (who is a member of the multi-disciplinary team) might see her as the one in error. What does informed consent really mean? Does informed consent to participate in forensic videotape interview automatically translate to informed consent to use of the video as prosecution’s evidence? Irarely meet a trafficked minor who bravely articulates her views about the case/court process. Again, this is a nuance in trafficking cases as compared to child sexual (rape, incest, lascivious conduct, sexual harassment), neglect, and physical abuse cases I work on. Trafficked persons have been programmed by their recruiters, pimps, and traffickers (and sometimes relatives and family) to believe that they are indebted to the latter and they will be reported to the police if they attempt to escape. And this brings me to another question: are we (the multi-disciplinary team) truly helping and protecting the child or are we, unwittingly, violating her rights to informed consent and exercise her agency?
I know there are no shortcut answers to my questions. I am propounding these because I know I am in the company of similar-minded advocates and practitioners. I also need your help. I am currently doing an independent study here at the University of Minnesota Law School. My project is a development of a “Manual for Multi-Disciplinary Team for Conduct of Forensic Videotape Interview of Trafficked Persons.” I dream of a manual that sets the human rights framework of trafficking and helps the forensic interviewer propound child/gender sensitive yet legally non-objectionable questions. Ifanyone knows of any materials on these, kindly share them with me. I would be very pleased to share with you the final output in May 2009.
Amy A. Avellano
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow
University of Minnesota Law School
In response to our colleague from the Philippines, who currently is enduring a really
winter (sorry about that!) I wanted to highlight a
good practice that we found when researching our report Sex
Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota. With regard to the understandable reluctance
of a trafficked person to testify in court due to threats and pressure from
multiple sources, independent evidence-based prosecutions, which rely on
evidence other than the trafficked woman’s testimony to secure a
prosecution, are a good practice alternative for prosecutors. The United
Nations Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human
Trafficking advocates for states to “encourage and support the
development of proactive investigatory procedures that avoid over-reliance on
victim testimony.” Also,
independent evidence-based prosecutions have been promoted in domestic violence
cases as a way to take pressure off the battered woman in the batterer’s
While these types of prosecutions require
more complex investigative work by law enforcement, they enhance the likelihood
of successful prosecution in all cases, particularly those in which
victim-witnesses cannot testify. Author
Fiona David said the following about the application of this practice to
Some law enforcement
agencies have gone further by adopting proactive approaches to detecting and
investigating trafficking. The objective
of a proactive approach is to investigate, arrest and
prosecute traffickers without having to rely on the cooperation and testimony
of the victim. The intention is not to
disenfranchise the victims but to respond to the fact that a victim’s
testimony will not always be forthcoming or available. It relies on intelligence gathering, human and
technical surveillance, undercover deployments and standard investigative
This approach was
developed by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police and has been incorporated
into police training around the world.
For more information, see Fiona David, Law Enforcement Responses to Trafficking in Persons: Challenges and Emerging Good Practice, Trends
& Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, Dec. 2007, available at http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi2/tandi347.html.
Amy Avellano wanted to share this article that she has written on the use of the Forensic Video Tape Interview as a way to protect minors who have been trafficked while providing evidence for prosecutions.
This [paper] attempts to see how forensic videotape interview can be used to protect trafficked minors.
On the other side of the coin, it attempts to view forensic videotape interview as a process that might – or can – encroach on the minors’ right to exercise agency. If not done properly, it could compound the abuses suffered by the minors at the hands of the traffickers.
This paper is intended to open a discussion among key players who are involved in conducting forensic videotape interview of trafficked minors. It concentrates on the issue of internal trafficking of children. It focuses on girl-children since they are the subjects that the author often encounters.
Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager
We use forensic videotape in cases of our domestically sex trafficked juvenile girls. The Midwest Childrens Resource Center (MCRC) does this work for us as well as for sexual assault victims. They do a wonderful job with the juveniles and actually just received an award from our Department recognizing the work they do for victims and investigators. They have referred several cases to the Task Force for investigation and have helped us with the initial interview. The forensic interview is a well documented, well thought out interview which answers most all of the questions that need to be answered for an investigation to begin. As an investigator I have complete confidence in the work they do. When an investigator does the same type of interview, at least the ones I do, there is always something that gets missed.
In that regard, the forensic interview also helps prevent the re-victimization over and over again of the victim through repeated LE interviews. Once the ininitial questions are answered we can concentrate on the other details that are needed to prove a case against a trafficker. There is nothing worse than having to ask a teenage girl the specifics of her torture and experiences and having her relive it.
I am not going to pretend to know the answers about informed consent, but I do know that without a good interview and a victim there is no prosecution. For all of us the first priority is the rescue of the "potential victim", secondary is the investigation/prosecution. The balancing of those two is sometimes difficult and sometimes easy, but in our framework the task force will always do what we believe is the best for the victim.
Sergeant John Bandemer
John, thank you for sharing your experience regarding video taped evidence as an excellent tool to obtain critical information for investigating cases while keeping the needs of victims paramount in that process.
Obtaining forensic evidence in cases of human trafficking will most certainly have their own unique aspects. I want to offer some excellent tools that have been developed by those working with surivovrs of torture. These tools may be helpful for those working in the area of human trafficking as well.
The Istanbul Protocol (this link is to a downloadable PDF version) is the first set of international
guidelines for documentation of torture and its consequences and set down in the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(known as the "Istanbul Protocol"). It became
a United Nations official document in 1999 and is available in a number
of languages on the United Nations web site. The Istanbul Protocol
provides a set of guidelines for the assessment of persons who allege
torture and ill treatment, for investigating cases of alleged torture,
and for reporting such findings to the judiciary and any other
The International Rehabiliative Council on Torture, located in Demark, has developed a series of practical guides for lawyers, medical doctors and psychologists that are available for free download from their website.
For those practicing in the United States, the Physicians for Human Rights has developed a helpful guide: Examining Asylum Seekers: A Health Professional's Guide to Medical and Psychological Evaluations of Torture. This document
includes detailed US immigration policy information and sample
affidavits, as well as specific guidelines for evaluating torture
I want to expand on what Sergeant Bandemer wrote about the effectiveness of forensic
videotape interviews of young victims of trafficking. Not only can these important safeguards
be useful in the initial investigation of a case, but the State of Minnesota has enacted a
law which allows for the use of pre-recorded and simultaneous closed-circuit
testimony in court of some juveniles:
When a child under twelve years old
testifies about crimes of violence, physical abuse, sexual contact or sexual
penetration, a state court:
may, upon its own motion or upon the
motion of any party, order that the testimony of the child be taken in a room
other than the courtroom or in the courtroom and televised at the same time by
closed-circuit equipment, or recorded for later showing to be viewed by the
jury in the proceeding, to minimize the trauma to the child of testifying in
the courtroom setting and, where necessary, to provide a setting more amenable
to securing the child witness’s uninhibited, truthful testimony.
(Minnesota Statute Sec. 595.02, subd. 4(a))
In criminal proceedings, only the judge,
defense attorneys, prosecutors and “any person whose presence would
contribute to the welfare and well-being of the child, and persons necessary to
operate the recording or closed-circuit equipment” may be present during
the child’s testimony. In
such cases, the court may take measures to ensure that the defendant can see
and hear the testimony, but the child witness cannot see or hear the defendant.
For example, the defendant may
watch a simultaneous broadcast of the child’s testimony from another
Stat/ Sec. 595.02 subds 4 (b) and (c).
Hello again from Chisinau,
In reference to many comments about the importance of increasing awareness and capacity of borger guards, we'd like to share with you some info of a joint initiative in our region concentrating on cooperation and awareness of the issues:
Border Guards to be Trained in Identification of Victims and Potential Victims of Human Trafficking Chisinau, 2008 – The International Organization for Migration, Mission in Moldova (IOM Moldova) is currently implementing “Training for Border Guards from Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine” project, primarily aiming at enhancing transnational border guards cooperation in the field of identification and referral for assistance victims and potential victims of trafficking. Secondarily, the project aims at incorporating border authorities into the National and Transnational Referral Systems as another professional referral actor, as well as raising awareness of the issues related to irregular migration and trafficking. The project will be unfolded following a three-level scheme:
This initiative is based upon positive experience of previous trainings for members of border guards, customs, and police services in the North and South of the country implemented by IOM Moldova and La Strada Moldova in cooperation with EUBAM in October–November 2007. Taking into account the changing nature of the trafficking phenomenon, the role of border guards in combating this phenomenon has significantly increased. The border crossing points are the last but not the least line for identification of victims thus, a new series of capacity building trainings on transnational cooperation of border guards in the field of combating trafficking represents a major response to the new trends. Moreover, due to a recurrent lack of cooperation by victims of trafficking with law enforcement agencies, another aspect of the training sessions aims to clarify the reasons for this and to teach a number of interview techniques which focus on the humane treatment of the interviewee. ***
Hi Blaec and Elina, am very impressed with the work of IOM Moldova. I would like to know more about the guards trainning program. Would you like to send me more details, the issues you cover, the number of hours, criterias of choosing wich borders, and others? Thank you very much.
Dear Elizabeth, here's some more info:
The activity was aimed at fostering the transnational border authorities’ cooperation in the field of identification and referral for assistance of the victims and potential victims of trafficking through the following; training on specific interviewing technics and contributing to incorporation of the border guards into the National and Transnational Referral Systems as another professional referral actor. The purpose was to also raise awareness of the issues related to irregular migration and trafficking and acquaint border guards with the psychological profile of the victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons. The activity was unfolded following a three-level scheme:
Where possible, several operational sessions per border crossing point had been provided in order to cover all shifts to have all staff trained, so that a total of 22 training sessions were provided. Particular attention has been paid to the Transdniestrian region which is a major source of trafficking and a segment mostly lacking internal border oversight. As the Moldovan Border Guards Service does not operate at the Transdniestran internal administrative border, the respective community Police officers were invited to the training along with their corresponding Ukrainian border guards. Additionally, the Chisinau International Airport was specifically targeted, as IOM regularly utilizes the airport for trafficking victim repatriation, to build more effective cooperation with airport border and police authorities as this is a necessary key to success. The trainings were provided by IOM Chisinau staff members, as well as La Strada – Moldova and EUBAM expert assigned specifically for the purpose of this activity for its whole implementation period. Occasionally, representatives of the Moldovan General Prosecutor’s Office, Centre for Combating Trafficking in Persons, and NGO Law Centre from Causeni also participated as trainers. During the operation sessions, the trainers shared their unique experience of working with trafficking victims and actively participated in the introduction and final evaluation sessions contributing to the discussions with the senior border management. Although all trainers were experienced in conducting trainings for various groups, this proved to be a mutual learning experience as the training modules were constantly improved to develop a more adapted agenda. Hope this is the kind of info you were looking for, please do not hesitate to contact us for more info if need be!
A very successful example of cooperation between the NGO and the State Border Guards Service, was set in Odessa (South Ukraine) in recent years. The NGO and specially trained border guards successfully identifies 750 victims among the deportees from Turkey. The victims were identifies in Odessa seaport and airport. All victims were referred for further assistance.
In 2008, 96 victims were identified among the returnees from Poland, in the cooperation between the NGO from Volyn (border with Poland) and State Border Guards Service
Poverty and lack of economic opportunity make women and children potential victims of traffickers associated with international criminal organizations. They are vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries. Many of those who accept these offers from what appear to be legitimate sources find themselves in situations where their documents are destroyed, their selves or their families threatened with harm, or they are bonded by a debt that they have no chance of repaying. While women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the sex trade, human trafficking is not limited to sexual exploitation. It also includes persons who are trafficked into 'forced' marriages or into bonded labor markets, such as sweat shops, agricultural plantations, or domestic service. The prevention of human trafficking requires several types of interventions. Some are of low or moderate cost and can have some immediate impact, such as awareness campaigns that allow high risk individuals to make informed decisions. Strong laws that are enforced are an effective deterrent. However, serious law enforcement is expensive. Pakistani women and men migrate voluntarily to the Gulf, Iran, Turkey, and Greece for work as domestic servants or construction workers. Once abroad, however, some find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with overwhelming recruitment and transportation fees, restrictions on their movement, and physical or sexual abuse.There were no new confirmed reports of the trafficking of Pakistani boys to the Middle East to serve as camel jockeys, but some NGOs contend that Pakistani children are trafficked to the Gulf for sexual exploitation. Pakistan faces a significant internal trafficking problem reportedly involving thousands of women and children trafficked to settle debts and disputes or forced into sexual exploitation or domestic servitude. Unconfirmed estimates of Pakistani victims of bonded labor are in the millionsIt is also noted that women and children from many countries including Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Iran and several Central Asian republics are trafficked to Pakistan for “sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude”. In addition, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepali, and Burmese women are trafficked through Pakistan.The Government of Pakistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government prosecuted traffickers, including government officials facilitating trafficking, and continued to refer victims to available protection services. Pakistan did not, however, demonstrate efforts to address the serious issues of bonded lab our and other forms of involuntary servitude. Over the next year, Pakistan should continue to increase its anti-trafficking efforts, particularly in the areas of bonded labor, forced child labor, and internal trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.The annual survey noted that the Pakistani government made “uneven progress” in prosecuting trafficking this year. During the reporting period, the government convicted 65 traffickers under the Human Trafficking Ordinance. An anti-trafficking investigation of 20 major traffickers was launched and Interpol requested to issue arrest warrants for 22 Pakistanis accused of trafficking. In addition, Pakistan filed cases against 21 government officials for complicity in trafficking. In February 2007, the FIA began investigating a trafficking case involving a current federal minister. Nonetheless, Pakistan did not demonstrate increasing law enforcement efforts against bonded labor or other labor forms of trafficking. Although Pakistan has a significant bonded labor problem - estimated at over one million victims - the government did not provide evidence of any investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for bonded labor or involuntary servitude. The government should strengthen law enforcement efforts against such forms of trafficking, as well as against the internal trafficking of boys and girls for commercial sexual exploitation,” the report proposed. Also noted were steps taken to improve victim protection.
Dear Amjad Ali
Thank you for sharing this info from the USG TIP report. I worked extensively on TIP in Pakistan up until three years ago and was involved in the creation of the ordinance and its rules, followed by training of the FIA and establishment of Anti-tip units in various parts of the country. We also wrote a national plan of action.
You are very right that trafficking is a big issue, however more so for women than most others. The issue of camel jockey children, which was a key concern of mine was i thought for the most part taken care off. I remember there was a special programme funded by the UAE under which most of the children were brought back and eventually reunited with their families, mostly based in the Rahim Yar Khan area. My question is do you have information of children still being trafficked for this purpose? If you have concerns on trafficking you should get in touch with the Migration Management Cell of the Ministry of Interior--they have a lot of information and can provide any information that you may have to the right people to follow up.
Ajmad Ali and Marian, thank you for sharing all this information with us. I would you like to know if you have information about human organ trafficking, medical trips, transplantation and other issues, programs, organizations working with these problems in Pakistan, India and any other countries. Thank you very much.
i have not worked in Pakistan for sometime but can tell you from my experience there that we did not come across any such instances as described in your question. we conducted the first research on trafficking in Pakistan at the time as well, but nothing of this nature was documented. That may also be because we covered the issue of trafficking for the purpose of organ removal, however organ trafficking by itself is not for our purposes considered Trafficking under the Palermo Protocol. If a person is trafficked for the purpose of being exploited by the removal of organs, we would consider that trafficking.
I do know however that there were rare instances outside of the ambit of our work, where one would hear of instances of malpractice in relation to transplants. In such instances, organs donated for particular cases of assistance or those that were 'next in line' for a donor, were sold or awarded instead to persons who would be able to pay an extra amount for those organs.
i hope this helps
Ngos in Southern Africa that deal with Human Trafficking between South Africa and Zimbabwe have done a lot of work after rescuing victims of tracking mainly children.
Upon rescuing the victims, they provide counselling and medical attention to the victims. Once this is done, in the case of children they take these people to their communities and families and explain the circumstances of the victims and how they should be accomodated. They go further to enrol the children in schools and pay the tuition of these people particularly for Zimbabwean victims.
In the cases of elderly victims, they consel them and take them to their families and try to make the families and communities accept them as victims. Some of the NGOs provide grants for the victims to start income generating projects as a way of making the victims become self sufficient. They provide them with money to start projects like dairy programmes where they buy dairy cows for a group of people. The victims then use the proceeds from these activities to look after themselves and their families. In this way the community see them as hard workers and are easily accomodated. They also run programmes such as market gardening where they grow vegetables and sell to the market for their self-sufficiency.
These victims will then use their profits to lend other people in the cummunity to also start projects that benefit them. In this way the victims are seen postively by the society as people who can make a difference in their lives
Recently some Counter-trafficking Units in Ukraine received new facilities with enough space to establish rooms for confidential interviewing of victims of trafficking. There is generally a good understanding among investigators of the sensitivity of human trafficking related crimes and the need to protect victim confidentiality. However, due to scarcity of recourses and budget constrains prevented law enforcement officers to physically protect testifying victims.
The first video link testimony system was installed in the witness interview room in the Court of Appeals in March 2008.
It is so surprising who the haves are misusing the dont haves. However, the opportunitists whether in good faith or in earch for greener pasture, due to economic empowerment struggle, one should learn how to do basic research to establish the truth of the matter.
Internet dating it works since I have seen it work for several of my friends, but before you take an extra step to leave your country to a stranger or online friend, play your cards well. One of my friends narrated how she was being rocked in the house all day and not being allowed to communicate with anybody through the phone, until time came for her to abscord. really bad experience.
Another slavery, marrying someone who will give you EU citizenship and then you become the bread winner of the family with your spouse staying at home. This is only Adult slavery and trafficking, Not mentioning the increased rate of child trafficking, May God forbide.
In 2007-2008, 24% of all victim referrals to IOM Ukraine were male victims. Given the fact that men are usually considered in Ukraine the bread winners, they therefore kind of do not have the right to be weak. Therefore male victims when returned back to Ukraine, usually do not want to recognise themselves as victims (and often they do not know that they are victims), as a result they do not get in-time access to services available.
In 2006, we conducted the Male Victim Needs Assessment. As a result of the Assessment, we have carried out the gender-balanced information campaigns at the local level, included more male-focused consultations by the Migrant Advise Centres, and developed special reintegration programs for male victims mainly focused on income generating activities and professional trainings.
Svitlana, you brought a very important point.
In a research conduct in the larger city in Brazil (Sao Paulo, population about 16 millions), with people returning to the country for not being accepted in airports, or being sent back by the justice of other countries, more than 80% were transgender or men. All these were going out of the country to work at the sex activities outside, and by their free wish.
The trafficking aimed to forced labor or to exploiting labor is most diretcted to men. In Brazil , in the rural areas, forests, mines, is almost exclusively composed by men recruited from diferent regions of the country. The exploitation in small industries at the cities is aimed to both, including very young teens, many of them smuggled from Bolivia, China and Korea or other disempowered people.
Further to our Ukraine colleague's comments here's a link to IOM publication titled
Trafficking of men - a trend less considered : The case of Belarus and Ukraine
Hi, Svitlana, cold you please tell me if this research was about different kinds of male trafficking? Or about trafficking for labor explotation, or for sending illegal migrants abroad? Thank you for the information.
Dear Blaec and Elina, thank you so much for sending this report of IOM. I will share it with the NGOs in Brazil that have been trying to raise awareness about the male condition as a trafficked person.