Trends in Human Trafficking – Issue no. 3, September 2019 – EEPA News Highlights

The EEPA team is pleased to present the September 2019 issue of the newsletter on Trends in Human Trafficking between the Greater Horn of Africa and Europe. Please feel free to forward this information to others or invite them to subscribe via this link. If you have information to contribute, do not hesitate to contact us.

Research & Reports:

Report on particular vulnerability of migrants to human trafficking
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) analysed the close connection between migration and various illicit activities such as human trafficking, modern slavery and exploitation in its new report. Migrants fleeing from violence and conflict, migrant children and youth are groups likely to be affected the most. Their vulnerability intensifies when the state authorities are not providing sufficient protection for migrants. The increasing adoption of restrictive migration policies is showing negative consequences and deepens the risk of migration by driving migration through dangerous migration routes, e.g. via Libya or Eastern Sudan. The report analyses specific characteristics of victims, modus operandi and motives of perpetrators, and provides recommendations for increasing protection for migrants as well as minimizing opportunities for trafficking networks.

UN Secretary-General reports on human trafficking and smuggling situation in Libya
In September 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres submitted a report to the UN Security Council, concerning the current situation of trafficking and smuggling of people within Libya, at the Libyan coast and in the Mediterranean Sea. He reported on officially listed numbers of migrants that crossed the sea, were rescued by vessels, or returned back to Libya, as well as prices paid to smugglers and traffickers while following the Central Mediterranean Route. Guterres underlined the importance of information sharing between the agencies and organizations as the network supporting traffickers and smugglers is broad and covers wide geographic region. Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants “contribute[s] to undermining the process of achieving peace and stability in the country,” says Guterres in his report.

Modern technology’s big impact on human trafficking
Recent research shows that technologies are increasingly embedded in the context of human trafficking, reports the Inter-agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). The report brief explains the negative aspects of technology in the context of human trafficking, as it facilitates human trafficking transactions, exploitation of victims and other misuse by perpetrators. On the other hand, the positive usage of technologies led to the development of various anti-trafficking initiatives that help to collect data, analyze video and audio documents and track down human traffickers.

Report analyses resilience and vulnerability to human trafficking in mixed migration contexts
A 2019 report of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development reflects on the frequency of human trafficking situations as well as practices and experiences of trafficked migrants within the contexts of different migration routes. It shows that factors such as faith, financial means, family support and higher level of education contribute to migrants’ resilience to trafficking, while prior traumatic experience, family expectations or border restrictions are elements which increase their vulnerability towards trafficking. “The main modus operandi of traffickers in the context of the migration routes […], is abusing people’s position of vulnerability” states the report. The research describes different forms of trafficking such as labor, organ and sex trafficking, and human trafficking for ransom. A policy brief on the report was published in July 2019.

Communities in conflict zones are more exposed to human trafficking
Research by Lucia Bird and Tuesday Reitano from ENACT analyses how living in conflict areas, with evidence from Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria and Somalia, affects the vulnerability of the population to human trafficking. The authors state that conflicts intensify the vulnerability of communities to become victims of trafficking. They further argue that more holistic approach should be adopted to counter trafficking networks and enhance community resilience.

Media articles:

Time to deliver on EU commitments, says Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović published an online statement urging the Council of Europe member states to deliver on commitments made to fight human trafficking of people on the move. The Commissioner particularly noted that Europe’s migration policies make it difficult for victims to receive protection, noting that “lack of access to Europe is failing victims of trafficking.” The increasing difficulty of accessing legal migration, such as resettlement and family reunification, acerbates the problems of trafficking, states the Commissioner. She recommends several victim-centered actions for member states to improve the situation.

Men accused of human trafficking of migrants are arrested in Sicily
Three men, one Guinean and two Egyptians, accused of kidnapping, human trafficking, and torture of tens of migrants in Libyan Zawiya detention center were arrested in Sicily, reports The Guardian. Several testimonies of asylum seekers accusing the men were collected by Italian prosecutor. According to the evidence, the alleged men were systematically kidnapping, torturing, and raping their victims in order to extort money for their release.

New anti-trafficking and smuggling project is launched
A joint project between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union aims to fight against human trafficking and smuggling networks in North Africa. A budget of 15 million euro was secured from the EU’s Emergency Trust fund for Africa. The UNODC, as an implementing partner, aims to counter trafficking and smuggling through capacity building, strengthening investigation of perpetrators and enhancing protection of victims of these illicit activities.

Ethiopian migrants face extreme dangers en route towards Saudi Arabia
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports on increasing dangers that Ethiopians face along the journey on Gulf Migration Route towards Saudi Arabia. According to the research, networks of human traffickers and smugglers are connected throughout Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Experiences of Ethiopian returnees reveal abuses, exploitation, and detention by traffickers as well as practices of smugglers on dangerous journeys while trying to cross the Red Sea.

African initiatives aim to combat human trafficking
On 29 July, experts on human trafficking in the African context met in Nairobi, Kenya, at the high-level meeting on “Combating human trafficking”. Bringing together heads of anti-trafficking offices from several countries, including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, the meeting aimed to discuss the challenges and strengthen inter-state cooperation. Meanwhile in Cairo, Egypt, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA), organized a training ‘Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants’ for participants from various African countries. Representatives of military, police units as well as civilians were trained particularly in “understanding of the definitions, root causes and trends of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the differences, interlinkages, and implications of both crimes, and significance of regional and international cooperation”, reports CCCPA.