Human Trafficking – Issue no. 4, November 2019 – EEPA News Highlights

Dear readers,

The EEPA team is pleased to present you with the November 2019 issue of the newsletter on Trends in Human Trafficking between the 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:

New book publications from the series Connected and Mobile: Migration and Human Trafficking in Africa
Two book publications came out in relation to movement in Africa, Roaming Africa: Migration, Resilience and Social Protection and Mobile Africa: Human Trafficking and the Digital Divide, published in November 2019 and officially launched in Ethiopia and Uganda. The first book closely looks at mobility in Africa and its different perspectives on migration, the migration dynamics in a specific context, using social theory as a lens. It looks at the practical implications of mobile populations, including health implications. The second book examines the impact of new digital technologies on human trafficking, across the ‘digital divide’ where some people have access whereas others do not. It elaborates on practices of human traffickers broadcasting the sounds and images of torture using smart phones to extort ransom from family and friends, and shows the realities of people moving along the Central Mediterranean Route. The book introduces new theories and tools to better understand these realities.

Handbook on human trafficking published
A broad wide group of international scholars and practitioners have collaborated on new publication The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking. This Handbook brings forward information on history and types of trafficking in persons, response mechanisms on global, country and regional level as well as future perspectives on controlling trafficking in persons. The publication is intended to function as a comprehensive referencing tool.

Human trafficking visible in global supply chain
Several organisations, including IOM and UNICEF, released a report that highlights the substantial role that child labour and human trafficking have in the global supply chain, especially at the lower level. IOM Director General, Antonio Vitorino states that: “[t]hese results make clear that efforts against human trafficking in global supply chains will be inadequate if they do not extend beyond immediate suppliers to include actors upstream engaged in activities such as raw material extraction and agriculture, and serving as inputs to other industries.” The report shows the need for more involvement of the state, a “whole-of-supply-chain approach” and addressing the root causes.

Diaspora groups warn against dangerous migration, but are unheard
A new research by the Mixed Migration Center shows that the myth of diaspora as a pull factor may not tell the full story. In the research, it is shown that diaspora members often already tell their stories of kidnapping, human trafficking and abuses, but they are not seen as primary sources of information, and even with their warnings, they may be seen as success stories. The report looked at people from Mali, Bangladesh and Eritrea along the Central Mediterranean Route. It was noted that Eritreans were most active in sharing of dangers such as human trafficking in Libya, but “such warnings were likely to go unheard among Eritreans, because people’s motivation to leave Eritrea was reportedly so strong that nothing could deter them.”

Statement on better protection of victims of trafficking in the AMF
In a co-written paper on the mandates of the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) proposal, the EU and several NGOs assess the establishment of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund ahead of negotiations by EU co-legislators. The statement highlights that aid is distributed unevenly in affected countries, and that “the needs of migrants and refugees vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse should be better reflected in AMF to ensure support both to those who are entitled to protection under specific legal frameworks, such as victims of human trafficking,” but that other vulnerable people who do not fall under this category are also entitled to protection according to human rights law.

Media Articles:

Yemen is becoming one of the most notorious human trafficking routes
Yemen is becoming a new, highly used migration route especially for migrants from East African countries, leading to the Gulf States including Saudi-Arabia. However, this migration route is particularly dangerous, as people face extremely harsh conditions in the mountains and the desert, and are often captured by traffickers. When caught, many people are taken to the area of Ras al-Ara, where they are trafficked for ransom, imprisoned, starved, beaten, and women are systematically raped. AP News reports on Zahra’s story, revealing that “they [the traffickers] raped the 20 other women with her — for weeks, different men all the time”. AP News further states that as of September this year, 107.000 registered people have migrated to Yemen.

Pregnant women held as hostages by traffickers in Nigeria
In late September, 19 women were rescued by local police forces from alleged baby traffickers. According to several news agencies, the rescued women were pregnant and the traffickers were planning to sell the babies. The Independent reports that some women were kidnapped for that purpose and others were promised jobs as domestic workers, but “they were held in the properties and forced into sex slavery. They were also forced to bear children which were then sold”. One of the rescued women told The Independent that “[s]o far, I have slept with seven different men before I discovered I was pregnant. I was told that after delivery, I would be paid handsomely and that if I decided to leave after then, I could”.

Human Trafficking expert calls for improved measures to fight trafficking
Expert in human trafficking Monique Villa explains in an article published by The Globe and Mail that improved measures are needed in order to fight trafficking. She argues that more attention to locating greater numbers of trafficked people is needed, “so that governments, corporations, the media and the general public understand the true scope of this horror and where and how to combat it,” but she adds that this is hard to address. Improved psychological help is essential, and she argues that more attention should be given to this, as many survivors of trafficking have trouble with compassion and trusting others.

UN General Assembly decides on consensus on human trafficking
The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly decided on a consensus, which aims at advancing cooperation towards fighting human trafficking. The Committee agreed on formalising a meeting to be held before 2022 on the accomplishments of implementing the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and also to encourage Member States to ratify the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Other than this, the General Assembly also noted to improve protection of young girls as well as requesting Member States to ratify the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol on migration.

Improved measures for victims of trafficking to be taken highlighted on Anti-Trafficking Day
On October 18, Europe marked the fight against trafficking in human beings at the annual Anti-Trafficking Day. Secretary General of the European Council, Marija Pejčinović Burić, said that “victims of human trafficking [must] receive justice, including financial compensation, for the abuses they suffer” by European countries. She states that it is not enough just to pay attention to the prosecution of criminals, but as important to prioritise helping victims. This can be done by guaranteeing compensation, protection and help, she argues.

Human Trafficking Gang arrested in the UK
On November 14, Romanian and British police forces in a co-operated action arrested a trafficking gang working in both England and Romania, consisting of 17 people, and rescued 29 women from possible trafficking. The Guardian says that the people arrested “were held on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, class A drug offences and firearm offences relating to a stun gun”.