In the dialogue "Human trafficking: Addressing modern day slavery" participants discussed the global phenomenon of human trafficking: concept of trafficking reasons and facilitating factors, mechanisms related to trafficking, and strategies to combat this problem locally and internationally.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Every year millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide what is equal to slavery. Traffickers exploit victims and suppress their freedom with ultimate intent selling them in the trafficking market for profit. Human trafficking is commonly known as modern-day slavery.
The complexity of human trafficking requires an integrated approach and co-operation of different stakeholders: law enforcement institutions, government agencies, non-profit and religious organizations, media, community leaders, and victims of trafficking. The integrated and coordinated approach combating human trafficking includes: prevention, prosecution, provision of a direct assistance to victims, and intervention practices.
Direct assistance practices
Providing multi-lateral assistance to trafficking victims requires dedicated support and comprehensive care to succeed in rehabilitation and social-reintegration of such people who have escaped from this illegal trade.
Considering the very complex nature of human trafficking and how it affects victims (health and psychological problems, security issues – lack of save housing, legal complications, social exclusion etc.), the absolute requirement to install a wide and diverse range of healing methods to deal more effectively with problems victims face, was pointed out.
In addition to rehabilitation and reintegration services, appropriate housing, physical and social security of victims must be ensured throughout the period of rehabilitation. This is especially true in the initial stages when victims are rescued because case studies suggest that traffickers will try to regain control over victims. Obviously, less trafficked victims means less income for traffickers.
Assistance programs in Belgrade and Ukraine provide good examples of comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation and reintegration processes for directly addressing the needs of victims of trafficking.
In addition to providing assistance to victims of trafficking, it’s crucial to have a strong focus on prevention, especially in vulnerable communities. Participants in the dialogue stressed the need not only to promote awareness about trafficking, its forms and consequences, but also to equip and economically empower different target groups (women, youth, men) - a multi pronged approach, that is sustainable and aimed at stabilizing vulnerable people in their countries of origin. Prevention activities at the grassroots level are particularly needed in the communities where trafficking occurs.
Prevention tactics discussed in this dialogue included: the use of technologies, hotlines, initiatives of religious communities and involving the media. In today’s world, mass media is very powerful and also can be very useful tool in prevention. However, it can also cause problems in the efforts of combating human trafficking. Media tends to be sensational and not constructive what might endanger a victim by providing publicly personal details. For this reason, group trainings for different stakeholders including journalists are a very important part of prevention activities.
An important discussion topic was the need for secure areas to accommodate rescued victims and the duties these centers need to meet. Participants believed that centers needed to provide a secure environment as well as holistic treatment without being too restricting. Interventions such as border monitoring or international tracking websites were given as useful tools.
Participants also discussed the importance of cooperation between law enforcement officials and non-governmental organizations. As these two groups share the same aim, they discussed ways how they can help each other, and possible obstacles they need to overcome for continuing successful cooperation.
- Helen C. Armstrong, Rebuilding lives, Free the Saves.
- Celebrating children training – training program for practitioners.
- Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons – published by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Unit of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
- The Face of Slavery
- The Fields of Mudan
- Very Young Girls
- Somebody's Daughter
- Cargo: Innocence Lost
- Trading Women
- Dreams Die Hard
- Not For Sale
- Digital library about child trafficking issues.
- Website resource “Business Travellers against Trafficking”
- Study on health consequences and needs of human trafficking victims.
- Study on Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota.
- Study “Mechanisms for the Monitoring of Trafficking in Human Beings Phenomenon”
- The Vienna Forum report: a way forward to combat human trafficking