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27 March 2023 — SIDE EVENT AT UN GENEVA: Human Trafficking in Armed Conflicts and Post-Conflict Situations

27 March 2023 — SIDE EVENT AT UN GENEVA: Human Trafficking in Armed Conflicts and Post-Conflict Situations

Human Trafficking in Armed Conflicts and Post-Conflict Situations

27 March 2023

Concept note

Co-organisers: Caritas Internationalis, Secours Catholique — Caritas France, Sovereign Order of Malta, with the support of COATNET
Date: Monday 27 March
Duration: 1h 00 min. 11.00–12.00 (CET)
Location: Palais des Nations — United Nations, Geneva Room XXII

1) Rationale and objectives

Twen­ty-three years after the Unit­ed Nations Pro­to­col to Pre­vent, Sup­press and Pun­ish Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons, espe­cial­ly Women, and Chil­dren, the scourge of human traf­fick­ing is far from being defeat­ed. As stat­ed in the last UN Glob­al Report on Human Traf­fick­ing (2022) , every day in every coun­try, women, men, and chil­dren are exploit­ed and enslaved by traf­fick­ers in var­i­ous forms. Mil­lions of peo­ple have been left behind as crises have reversed hard-won devel­op­ment gains and result­ed in record dis­place­ment. UNODC reg­is­tered a decrease in 2020 in the num­ber of vic­tims detect­ed glob­al­ly due to pan­dem­ic-relat­ed restric­tions on move­ment and busi­ness oper­a­tions, which may have reduced some forms of track­ing, includ­ing track­ing for sex­u­al exploita­tion and cross-bor­der track­ing (main­ly in low- and mid­dle-income coun­tries). The num­ber of con­vic­tions for track­ing in per­sons in 2020 decreased by an alarm­ing 27 per­cent over 2019. The poor and the vul­ner­a­ble are most at risk. Glob­al­ly, over 70 per­cent of detect­ed vic­tims are women and girls, while near­ly one-third are children.

Exist­ing and emerg­ing war con­flicts (includ­ing, but not lim­it­ed to, Ukraine, Syr­ia, Yemen, Eritrea, and oth­ers) have led to a dra­mat­ic devel­op­ment of traf­fick­ing. In Europe, the war in Ukraine has con­tributed to reveal­ing this phe­nom­e­non in the coun­try itself, the bor­der coun­tries, and the host coun­tries of peo­ple flee­ing the fight­ing . Pre­vent­ing con­di­tions of traf­fick­ing of human beings in armed con­flicts and sup­port­ing the vic­tims is vital, whether it is sex­u­al exploita­tion (using rape as a weapon of war), the depor­ta­tion of chil­dren for adop­tion, the sale of babies, labor exploita­tion, coer­cion to com­mit crimes or beg­ging, or forced mar­riage under the pre­text of a bet­ter life. In the face of the hor­ror of war, men, women, and chil­dren are some­times exploit­ed to survive.

Despite this grave vio­la­tion of human rights, human traf­fick­ing in con­flict and post-con­flict sit­u­a­tions is a top­ic on which lit­tle research has been con­duct­ed and is rarely addressed by actors sup­port­ing dis­placed per­sons and/or refugees. Emer­gency aid pro­grams, both dur­ing con­flict and in sup­port of exiled peo­ple, still do too lit­tle to address exploita­tion or the pres­ence of vul­ner­a­ble groups, such as chil­dren with­out fam­i­ly guardian­ship, unac­com­pa­nied women, or per­se­cut­ed minori­ties. Accord­ing to orga­ni­za­tions work­ing on the ground, due to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of armed con­flicts around the world (Mid­dle East, Ukraine, Africa, etc.), main­ly affect­ing civil­ians and result­ing in unprece­dent­ed num­bers of dis­placed per­sons and refugees, traf­fick­ing and exploita­tion of human beings seem to be increas­ing­ly in the fore­ground. If these prob­lems are not addressed, the phe­nom­e­non may become per­ma­nent­ly entrenched in coun­tries under recon­struc­tion after armed con­flict .
To effec­tive­ly com­bat this scourge, long-term mea­sures are need­ed. These include trans­lat­ing the rel­e­vant legal frame­works into action, assist­ing vic­tims, empow­er­ing them, strength­en­ing their capac­i­ty-build­ing, and rais­ing aware­ness at nation­al and inter­na­tion­al lev­els to build a space for open dia­logue and exchange of infor­ma­tion between non-state actors and pub­lic administration.

OBJECTIVES

● Under­stand­ing traf­fick­ing in human beings in armed con­flict and post-con­flict sit­u­a­tions: the forms it takes and how it is car­ried out; the impact of armed con­flicts on human rights and on the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion to human trafficking.

● Sup­port­ing more effec­tive­ly refugees flee­ing con­flicts and who are at risk of or vic­tims of traf­fick­ing by pro­duc­ing new tools from insti­tu­tions and NGOs; respond (assis­tance, psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port for peo­ple flee­ing war, legal aid) of insti­tu­tions and Civ­il Soci­ety Organ­i­sa­tions to the peo­ple affect­ed by the armed con­flict (sur­vivors of human traf­fick­ing) in con­flict and post-con­flict situations.

● Draw­ing up a series of rec­om­men­da­tions, based on local research and tri­als, to bet­ter address traf­fick­ing in human beings in aid and reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams for armed con­flict and post-con­flict sit­u­a­tions and dis­sem­i­nate them to local, nation­al, region­al, and inter­na­tion­al stakeholders.

2) Expect­ed outcomes:

● Rein­forc­ing human rights based approach on human traf­fick­ing in armed con­flicts and post-con­flict sit­u­a­tions putting empha­sis on vic­tims and survivors.

● Gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion and share lessons learned from oth­er con­texts with the aim to iden­ti­fy key advo­ca­cy pri­or­i­ties to pro­mote local actions from key actors (includ­ing Gov­ern­men­tal Insti­tu­tions, NGOs, Faith-Based Organ­i­sa­tion, and sur­vivors) to fos­ter bet­ter inclu­sion of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing in local, nation­al and region­al poli­cies and strate­gies, as well as relat­ed poli­cies on migra­tion and dis­place­ment. In every con­flict, have the same con­cern for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing in human beings regard­less of their nationality.

● Pro­mot­ing and improv­ing already exist­ing mech­a­nisms at inter­na­tion­al and nation­al lev­el to fill gaps and face chal­lenges in the imple­men­ta­tion and eval­u­a­tion of pro­grams and rec­om­men­da­tions (oblig­a­tions of States at inter­na­tion­al lev­el under human rights and inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law applic­a­ble in armed conflicts).

● Using restora­tive jus­tice as a com­ple­ment to crim­i­nal jus­tice: restora­tive jus­tice is an approach to jus­tice where one of the respons­es to a crime is to organ­ise a meet­ing between the vic­tim and the offend­er, some­times with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the wider com­mu­ni­ty. The goal is for them to share their expe­ri­ence of what hap­pened, to dis­cuss who was harmed by the crime and how, and to cre­ate a con­sen­sus for what the offend­er can do to repair the harm from the offence.

Proposed Agenda

Intro­duc­tion by the mod­er­a­tor: Geneviève Colas, Sec­ours Catholique — Car­i­tas France and COATNET (6 min.)
Open­ing remarks: Michel Veuthey, Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta (6 min.)
1) Natalia Holyn­s­ka, Man­ag­er of counter-traf­fick­ing projects, Car­i­tas Ukraine and COATNET (6 min.)
Human Traf­fick­ing in the Con­text of Armed Con­flict in Ukraine
2) Codru­ta Fer­nea, pres­i­dent of Catholic Action Roma­nia, Roma­nia (video record­ing 6 min)
Pre­vent­ing human traf­fick­ing at the bor­ders and in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries
3) Hes­sen Sayah, Head of Pro­tec­tion Depart­ment, Car­i­tas Lebanon and COATNET, Lebanon (video record­ing 6 min)
Migrants and refugees in cri­sis with­in a cri­sis
4) Spe­cial Rap­por­teur (6 min.)
Glob­al pri­or­i­ties to com­bat traf­fick­ing in human beings aris­ing from armed conflict

Debate with par­tic­i­pants and wrap up by the mod­er­a­tor (24 min.)

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