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SIDE EVENT AT UNITED NATIONS GENEVA 4 JULY 2023 NON-PUNISHMENT OF VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING: ENHANCING PROTECTION OF VICTIMS

SIDE EVENT AT UNITED NATIONS GENEVA  4 JULY 2023  NON-PUNISHMENT OF VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING: ENHANCING PROTECTION OF VICTIMS
YOU CAN FIND THE TEXTS OF INTERVENTION IN FRENCH, ITALIAN, GERMAN, CHINESES, RUSSIAND AND SPANISH HERE.

 

SIDE EVENT AT UNITED NATIONS GENEVA 

4 JULY 2023 

NON-PUNISHMENT OF VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING:

ENHANCING PROTECTION OF VICTIMS

 

TEXTS OF INTERVENTIONS

On July 4th, 2023, from 9 to 10 a. m., a side-event to the 53rd Ses­sion of the Unit­ed Nation Human Right Coun­cil took place at the Palais des Nations in Gene­va. The event was orga­nized by the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Car­i­tas Inter­na­tion­alis and Car­i­tas France and the title was “Non-pun­ish­ment of Vic­tims of Human Traf­fick­ing: Enhanc­ing Pro­tec­tion of Victims”. 

Sev­er­al Per­ma­nent Mis­sions to the Unit­ed Nations co-spon­sored the event: Cos­ta Rica, Poland, Roma­nia, Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta, Great Britain, Domini­can Republic.

As we know Human traf­fick­ing is a grave vio­la­tion of human rights, affect­ing more then 50 mil­lion of indi­vid­u­als world­wide. Vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing often face mul­ti­ple forms of abuse, exploita­tion, and trau­ma. It is cru­cial to estab­lish a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work that not only sup­ports vic­tims but also pre­vents their pun­ish­ment or crim­i­nal­iza­tion for the crimes they were forced to com­mit. Twen­ty-three years after the Paler­mo Pro­to­col (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.

This event host­ed sev­er­al pro­fes­sion­als who dis­cussed the top­ic from dif­fer­ent aspects:

  • Michel Veuthey (Mod­er­a­tor), Ambas­sador of the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta to mon­i­tor and com­bat traf­fick­ing in persons
  • Geneviève Colas, Sec­ours Catholique — Car­i­tas France and COATNET
  • Vir­ginia Gam­ba,Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al for Chil­dren in Armed Conflict
  • Patrick Eba,Deputy Direc­tor for Pro­tec­tion, UNHCR
  • Char­lie Lamen­to,N. Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Glob­al Hope Net­work Inter­na­tion­al (GILLP)
  • Olivia Smith,Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Caribbean Anti Human Traf­fick­ing Foundation
  • Andrea Salvoni,Act­ing Coor­di­na­tor for Com­bat­ting Traf­fick­ing in Human Beings, OSCE
  • Ena Lucia Mari­a­ca Pachecoand Sil­via De Rosa, Inter­pol

Michel Veuthey

 

 

Excel­len­cies, Dis­tin­guished pan­elists, Ladies and Gen­tle­men, Good morn­ing, everyone,

First of all, I would like to express my grat­i­tude to Car­i­tas Inter­na­tion­alis and all the Per­ma­nent Mis­sions that have pro­vid­ed us with their sup­port, in organ­is­ing this side-event. I will keep my remarks brief.

The Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta is com­mit­ted to uphold­ing the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims of human trafficking.

The Spe­cial Rap­por­teur Prof. Siob­hán Mul­lal­ly empha­sized the impor­tance of the non-pun­ish­ment prin­ci­ple, which was the core of her report to her Human Rights Coun­cil in June 2021 (A/HRC/47/34) and was reaf­firmed in her lat­est Report (A/HRC/53/28, Part XI. The Prin­ci­ple of Non-Pun­ish­ment, para­gr. 41–45).

So rather than detain­ing and pun­ish­ing vic­tims of traf­fick­ing, that we pro­vide them with pro­tec­tion, iden­ti­fy them as vic­tims, and seek to com­bat the ongo­ing impuni­ty for trafficking.

I would now like to give the floor to our first speak­er, Geneviève Colas, Sec­ours Catholique France, co-organ­is­er of this side-event. Geneviève, you have the floor!

Geneviève Colas

Enhance the pro­tec­tion of vic­tims of human trafficking

by apply­ing the prin­ci­ple of non-punishment

Geneviève Colas, Sec­ours Catholique-Car­i­tas France and COATNET glob­al network

1/ In a rights-based approach, strength­en­ing the pro­tec­tion of vic­tims is a necessity

Vic­tims of traf­fick­ing are often con­front­ed with mul­ti­ple forms of abuse and exploita­tion, all togeth­er cre­at­ing trau­ma. It is essen­tial to estab­lish a glob­al frame­work that sup­ports vic­tims while pre­vent­ing them from being pun­ished or crim­i­nalised for the crimes they have been forced to com­mit. Twen­ty-three years after the Paler­mo Pro­to­col, vic­tims of traf­fick­ing are still all too often held respon­si­ble for the unlaw­ful activ­i­ties they have com­mit­ted in the course of their vic­tim­iza­tion. They are also held liable for acces­so­ry or con­sec­u­tive acts: immigration/asylum, admin­is­tra­tive or civ­il offences. Vic­tims of traf­fick­ing are often arrest­ed, charged, pros­e­cut­ed and wrong­ly con­vict­ed for crimes and oth­er ille­gal acts com­mit­ted as vic­tims of traf­fick­ing… while traf­fick­ers escape pun­ish­ment and con­tin­ue to engage in traf­fick­ing activ­i­ties with impuni­ty. This is a fla­grant vio­la­tion of vic­tims’ right to protection.

The prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment is there­fore an essen­tial ele­ment in the pro­tec­tion of vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing and the pre­ven­tion of their fur­ther vic­tim­i­sa­tion. By recog­nis­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of vic­tims, encour­ag­ing report­ing, pro­mot­ing reha­bil­i­ta­tion and putting in place com­pre­hen­sive sup­port sys­tems, soci­eties can ensure that vic­tims receive the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance they need to rebuild their lives. Non-pun­ish­ment poli­cies pri­ori­tise the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of vic­tims, giv­ing them access to essen­tial ser­vices such as health­care, coun­selling, edu­ca­tion and voca­tion­al train­ing, enabling them to rebuild their lives.

 

2/ A few ref­er­ences on the non-pun­ish­ment pro­vi­sions con­tained in sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al and region­al anti-traf­fick­ing instruments

In 2002, in its res­o­lu­tion 55/67, the Unit­ed Nations Gen­er­al Assem­bly invit­ed gov­ern­ments to con­sid­er pre­vent­ing vic­tims of traf­fick­ing from being pros­e­cut­ed for their irreg­u­lar entry or res­i­dence with­in the legal frame­work and in accor­dance with nation­al poli­cies, giv­en that they are vic­tims of exploita­tion. The Office of the Unit­ed Nations High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights recog­nised for the first time that traf­fick­ing in per­sons could be aimed at exploit­ing vic­tims by mak­ing them car­ry out ille­gal activ­i­ties. It already indi­cat­ed that vic­tims should there­fore ben­e­fit from pro­tec­tion and not pun­ish­ment for acts direct­ly result­ing from their sta­tus as vic­tims of human trafficking.

In 2005, Arti­cle 26 of the Coun­cil of Europe Con­ven­tion on Action against Traf­fick­ing in Human Beings was the first treaty to con­tain a legal­ly bind­ing non-pun­ish­ment provision.

In 2011, Direc­tive 2011/36/EU on traf­fick­ing in human beings specif­i­cal­ly recog­nis­es the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non where­by traf­fick­ers coerce vic­tims to forced crim­i­nal­i­ty. It refers to this as one of the forms of exploita­tion includ­ed in the def­i­n­i­tion of traf­fick­ing in human beings. This direc­tive con­tains an express bind­ing pro­vi­sion on non-pun­ish­ment (art 8). No lim­it is set on the seri­ous­ness of the offence.

In 2013, the OSCE point­ed out the need for a com­pre­hen­sive approach to com­bat­ing human traf­fick­ing in order to imple­ment the non-pun­ish­ment pro­vi­sion for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing.  The more traf­fick­ers can rely on a State’s crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to arrest, charge, pros­e­cute and con­vict vic­tims of traf­fick­ing, instead of traf­fick­ers, for traf­fick­ing-relat­ed offences, the more favourable the con­di­tions are for traf­fick­ers to take advan­tage and con­tin­ue unhin­dered in their unlaw­ful activ­i­ty and unde­tect­ed by the authorities.

In 2014, the ILO Pro­to­col to the Forced Labour Con­ven­tion includ­ed a pro­vi­sion for States to ensure that the com­pe­tent author­i­ties are empow­ered not to pros­e­cute or impose penal­ties on vic­tims of forced or com­pul­so­ry labour.

In her 2015 report, the Unit­ed Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Traf­fick­ing in Human Beings states that States must pro­tect vic­tims of traf­fick­ing so that they are not held respon­si­ble for any ille­gal acts com­mit­ted as a result of their sub­mis­sion to the dom­i­nant influ­ence of their trafficker.

In her 2023 report on the pro­tec­tion of refugees, inter­nal­ly dis­placed per­sons and state­less per­sons, the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur, Ms Siob­hán Mul­lal­ly, empha­sis­es, build­ing on her 2021 report on the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment, that the State has an oblig­a­tion to ensure that vic­tims of traf­fick­ing have an effec­tive oppor­tu­ni­ty to seek asy­lum and are not penalised because of the way in which they enter the coun­try. The prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment is also includ­ed in the spe­cif­ic pro­tec­tion afford­ed by Arti­cle 31 of the 1951 Con­ven­tion relat­ing to the Sta­tus of Refugees, which pro­tects refugees from pun­ish­ment for ille­gal entry and presence.

Today, traf­fick­ing in human beings for the pur­pose of com­mit­ting crimes is a real­i­ty, even if it is dif­fi­cult to mea­sure its extent due to the invis­i­bil­i­ty of the vic­tims. By recruit­ing minors because of their pre­car­i­ous eco­nom­ic, social and admin­is­tra­tive sit­u­a­tion, and because they are unaware of their rights, traf­fick­ers are able to shift the bur­den of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem onto minors rather than adults. This is a par­tic­u­lar­ly lucra­tive form of exploita­tion that takes many dif­fer­ent forms: pick­pock­et­ing, bur­glary, theft, sale of drugs, sale of cig­a­rettes, sale of coun­ter­feit goods, char­i­ty scams, etc. To com­bat it effec­tive­ly, we need to pre­vent it among poten­tial vic­tims and crack down on those who prof­it from crime. Sanc­tion­ing vic­tims of traf­fick­ing fuels the process.

3 / Pro­tec­tion must come first

The hold exert­ed on the vic­tim of traf­fick­ing may be indi­rect or psy­cho­log­i­cal, tak­ing the form of debt bondage, threats to report to the author­i­ties or oth­er sub­tle means, such as abuse of a posi­tion of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. It is essen­tial that the non-pun­ish­ment pro­vi­sion is applied in prac­tice as soon as the vic­tim is detect­ed by the author­i­ties, in order to offer effec­tive and com­pre­hen­sive protection.

Vic­tims must be imme­di­ate­ly removed from the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem as offend­ers and must be pro­tect­ed as victims.

Fur­ther­more, non-pun­ish­ment remains in force until the vic­tim is ful­ly pro­tect­ed from pros­e­cu­tion and conviction.

When pro­tec­tion fails, the judi­cial author­i­ties them­selves must be able to con­firm the vic­tim’s lack of responsibility.

The oblig­a­tion not to pun­ish also applies to deten­tion. Deten­tion should end as soon as the sit­u­a­tion of traf­fick­ing is iden­ti­fied and the vic­tim should be tak­en into care if nec­es­sary in a spe­cialised struc­ture. Deten­tion com­pro­mis­es the phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and social recov­ery of vic­tims and can lead to an accu­mu­la­tion of trau­ma, sui­ci­dal behav­iour and post-trau­mat­ic syn­drome, as well as sec­ondary victimisation.

How­ev­er, in many coun­tries the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment is not applied.

 

4 / Non-pun­ish­ment train­ing for all pro­fes­sion­als is imperative

Inves­ti­gat­ing, pros­e­cut­ing and judi­cial author­i­ties and legal prac­ti­tion­ers should be trained in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of traf­fick­ing in order to be able to apply the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment. More­over, if vic­tims are iden­ti­fied at an ear­ly stage and receive the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance to which they are enti­tled by virtue of their sta­tus as traf­ficked per­sons, they may also be in a bet­ter posi­tion to coop­er­ate with the author­i­ties in the inves­ti­ga­tion and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of traf­fick­ers by pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion or evi­dence or even by act­ing as wit­ness­es in crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against them.

 

5 / We must pri­ori­tise the rights and well-being of traf­ficked persons

Non-sanc­tion­ing favours an approach focused on pro­tect­ing the vic­tim by recog­nis­ing that vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing are sur­vivors of a crime, not crim­i­nals. By pro­tect­ing vic­tims, non-pun­ish­ment encour­ages them to coop­er­ate with law enforce­ment author­i­ties in iden­ti­fy­ing and pros­e­cut­ing traf­fick­ers, there­by strength­en­ing the over­all fight against human traf­fick­ing. Non-pun­ish­ment also pre­vents re-vic­tim­i­sa­tion: Pun­ish­ing vic­tims exac­er­bates their trau­ma, dis­cour­ages them from seek­ing help and per­pet­u­ates the cycles of exploita­tion. Non-pun­ish­ment is a cru­cial step in break­ing these cycles.

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To con­clude (at the end of the event)

Non-pun­ish­ment responds to the need to iden­ti­fy the true cir­cum­stances in which an offence is com­mit­ted; it enables vic­tims to be direct­ed towards the safe­guard­ing and assis­tance arrange­ments to which they are enti­tled; it encour­ages inves­ti­ga­tions into the crime of human traf­fick­ing, lead­ing to an increase in pros­e­cu­tions against traf­fick­ers and a decrease in pros­e­cu­tions against vic­tims for offences com­mit­ted in the course of their victimization.

Non-pun­ish­ment can­not be prop­er­ly imple­ment­ed by sim­ply mit­i­gat­ing the penal­ties imposed, as this would not take into account the true con­di­tion of the vic­tim under the traf­fick­er’s control.

Legal and pol­i­cy reforms are need­ed to review and amend exist­ing leg­is­la­tion to ensure that vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing are pro­tect­ed and treat­ed as sur­vivors and not as offend­ers. Spe­cif­ic pro­vi­sions must be includ­ed that clear­ly exempt vic­tims from crim­i­nal lia­bil­i­ty for involve­ment in unlaw­ful activ­i­ties that result direct­ly from their exploitation.

Vic­tim sup­port sys­tems must be strength­ened. Estab­lish com­pre­hen­sive sup­port sys­tems that meet the spe­cif­ic needs of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing: safe accom­mo­da­tion, health ser­vices, psy­choso­cial sup­port, legal assis­tance, access to edu­ca­tion, train­ing and employment.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion with civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, NGOs and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers must be strength­ened to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive assistance.

Train­ing and capac­i­ty build­ing for all pro­fes­sion­als and vol­un­teers involved is nec­es­sary for a vic­tim-cen­tred approach. Pro­vide them with the skills to iden­ti­fy vic­tims, han­dle cas­es sen­si­tive­ly and refer them to the appro­pri­ate sup­port services.

Inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion and infor­ma­tion exchange mech­a­nisms must be strength­ened in order to facil­i­tate the extra­di­tion of traf­fick­ers, pro­mote cross-bor­der inves­ti­ga­tions and estab­lish coop­er­a­tion frame­works to guar­an­tee the pro­tec­tion and non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims, regard­less of their loca­tion or nationality.

Michel Veuthey

Mer­ci, Geneviève. Thank you for these impor­tant remarks. Now, our sec­ond speak­er is Vir­ginia Gam­ba de Pot­gi­er, Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al for Chil­dren in Armed Con­flict. She kind­ly pro­vid­ed us with a video state­ment from New York.

 

Vir­ginia Gamba

 

Thanks to the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta and co-orga­niz­ers for the invi­ta­tion to con­tribute to today’s dis­cus­sions on non-pun­ish­ment of human traf­fick­ing vic­tims. My man­date mon­i­tors the six grave vio­la­tions against chil­dren in armed con­flict, includ­ing recruit­ment and use, rape and oth­er forms of sex­u­al vio­lence, killing and maim­ing, attacks on schools and hos­pi­tals, abduc­tion, and the denial of human­i­tar­i­an access.

In 2022, the Unit­ed Nations ver­i­fied an over­all num­ber of 27,080 grave vio­la­tions against chil­dren, includ­ing 2,880 that had occurred pri­or to 2021, but were only ver­i­fied in 2022. A total of 18,890 chil­dren were vic­tims of at least one of the four grave vio­la­tions affect­ing indi­vid­ual chil­dren. Recruit­ment and use, killing and maim­ing, rape, and oth­er forms of sex­u­al vio­lence and abduc­tion are on the increase. At least 2,330 chil­dren were vic­tims of mul­ti­ple vio­la­tions. Due to their inter­con­nect­ed and mul­ti-lay­ered nature, I have been more increas­ing­ly con­cerned with the link­ages between these vio­la­tions and human trafficking.

This is par­tic­u­lar­ly because the ris­ing cross bor­der dimen­sion of con­flict pos­es an addi­tion­al threat to the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren. And in cas­es of abduc­tion, for instance, some vio­la­tions could serve as a pre­cur­sor for human trafficking.

I wel­come your focus on the pro­tec­tion of vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, as often­times we wit­ness that chil­dren as per­sons under 18 years of age per Arti­cle 1 of the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC) suf­fer vio­la­tions despite their sta­tus as minors. In 2018, with the adop­tion of its Res­o­lu­tion S/RES/2427 (2018) on chil­dren and armed con­flict, the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil estab­lished that the chil­dren who have been recruit­ed in vio­la­tion of applic­a­ble inter­na­tion­al law by armed forces and armed groups and are accused of hav­ing com­mit­ted crimes dur­ing their asso­ci­a­tion should be treat­ed pri­mar­i­ly as vic­tims of inter­na­tion­al law vio­la­tions. This was in the con­text of the treat­ment of chil­dren in detention.

But it is impor­tant to note, as the Coun­cil remind­ed Mem­ber States of their oblig­a­tions under the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and this pro­vi­sion relates to the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment being dis­cussed in your event today. In pro­mot­ing a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work for devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing non-pun­ish­ment poli­cies that pri­ori­tise the rights of sur­vivors of human traf­fick­ing, I call your atten­tion to sev­er­al key con­sid­er­a­tions regard­ing chil­dren affect­ed by armed con­flict specifically.

First and fore­most, chil­dren who have suf­fered vio­la­tions and abus­es should be recog­nised as sur­vivors of crimes and offered prop­er treat­ment. We must ensure that chil­dren who are released or escaped cap­tors should be ade­quate­ly sup­port­ed and rein­te­grat­ed safe­ly back into their com­mu­ni­ties, that their spe­cif­ic needs are addressed in a com­pre­hen­sive and sus­tain­able way, while being mind­ful of age and gen­der spe­cif­ic needs, and that no mea­sures tak­en by any actor are re-vic­tim­iz­ing or re-trau­ma­tiz­ing in any way.In the course of these efforts, we must also ded­i­cate ade­quate child pro­tec­tion capac­i­ty in the form of human and finan­cial resources.

We must also work togeth­er to raise aware­ness of the impor­tance of reg­is­ter­ing chil­dren at birth, grant­i­ng them the right to iden­ti­ty in accor­dance with Arti­cle 8 of the Con­ven­tion of the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is a crit­i­cal ini­tial step to ensure chil­dren’s pro­tec­tion in con­text liable to traf­fick­ing and relat­ed vio­la­tions and abus­es. Every per­son under 18 years must be recog­nised as a child. As chil­dren are enti­tled to spe­cial pro­tec­tion under inter­na­tion­al human rights law, par­tic­u­lar­ly under the Con­ven­tion (CRC).

At the local, nation­al, and region­al lev­els, pub­lic aware­ness and ear­ly warn­ing mech­a­nisms can con­tribute to pre­ven­tion efforts against grave vio lations such as abduc­tion, includ­ing its links to traf­fick­ing and gener­ic vio­lence against children.

We must also enhance our under­stand­ing and knowl­edge of the link­ages on a deep­er and more sys­tem­at­ic lev­el. This is why the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on human traf­fick­ing, espe­cial­ly women and chil­dren, and I, are com­menc­ing a ded­i­cat­ed study to fur­ther analyse the nexus between traf­fick­ing of chil­dren and grave vio­la­tions. And to improve the way we address the links between abduc­tion and human traf­fick­ing pur­pos­es, and those between these two evils and oth­er vio­la­tions mon­i­tored through the “Chil­dren and Armed Con­flict Agenda”,such as recruit­ment and use and rape and oth­er forms of sex­u­al violence.

Final­ly, I would like to draw your atten­tion to the Guid­ance Note on Abduc­tion my office launched last July in the pres­ence of the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur aimed at our mon­i­tors on the ground, which is in part a tool for under­stand­ing and refin­ing the def­i­n­i­tions of abduc­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly when exam­in­ing cross bor­der con­texts, includ­ing on child traf­fick­ing and its link­ages to abduc­tion and oth­er grave violations.

I encour­age you to ref­er­ence the Guid­ance Note avail­able on my office’s web­site (childreninarmedconflict.un.org) in your work, as we are hop­ing that it could become the ini­tial step in inter­a­gency and our pro­gram­mat­ic dis­cus­sions in the quest to under­stand and com­bat trafficking.

In con­sid­er­ing pre­ven­tion of re-vic­tim­i­sa­tion of the vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, let us take into account that many of these vic­tims are children.

Thank you very much.

 

 

Michel Veuthey

 

Thank you, Ms Gam­ba, for high­light­ing the impor­tance of the non-pun­ish­ment prin­ci­ple for chil­dren in sit­u­a­tions of armed con­flict. Our third speak­er is Patrick Eba, UNHCR Deputy Direc­tor for Protection.

Patrick Eba

 

Talk­ing Points for DD-DIP

HRC 53rd Session 

Side event on Non-Pun­ish­ment of Vic­tims of Human Traf­fick­ing: Enhanc­ing Inter­na­tion­al Pro­tec­tion for Refugees and IDPs in the Per­spec­tive of Glob­al Refugees Forum

 

Human Rights Coun­cil, 4 July 2023

State­ment by Patrick Eba, Deputy Direc­tor, Divi­sion of Inter­na­tion­al Protection 

 

 

I would like to start by express­ing UNHCR’s appre­ci­a­tion to the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta and Car­i­tas for invit­ing us to speak dur­ing this impor­tant event.

 

[1] In 2022, for the first time, the world passed the sym­bol­ic mark of 100 mil­lion peo­ple forcibly dis­placed. This unprece­dent­ed high lev­el of dis­place­ment is dri­ven by con­flict, vio­lence, and per­se­cu­tion. New con­flicts in coun­tries such as Ethiopia, Ukraine and Sudan com­pound pro­tract­ed and decades-long sit­u­a­tions of forced displacement.

 

When peo­ple are forced to flee, whether inter­nal­ly or across bor­ders, fre­quent­ly along unsafe routes, traf­fick­ers can some­times seem to be offer­ing solu­tions. Recent data com­piled by the Pro­tec­tion Clus­ters in 32 coun­tries affect­ed by dis­place­ment, reveals that in 65%, traf­fick­ing is a mod­er­ate to extreme risk. Often, traf­fick­ing is not a sin­gle phe­nom­e­non in sit­u­a­tions of dis­place­ments. The risk of traf­fick­ing is asso­ci­at­ed with mul­ti­ple-relat­ed risks and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties includ­ing severe and extreme risks of gen­der-based vio­lence, and risks of ear­ly and forced mar­riage and forced recruit­ment, includ­ing of children.

Increas­ing num­bers of the world’s forcibly dis­placed and state­less peo­ple face pover­ty, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and mar­gin­al­iza­tion, which in turn expose them to risks of traf­fick­ing. We need to rein­force pro­tec­tion for them.

[2] Traf­fick­ing affects peo­ple at dif­fer­ent stages of their dis­place­ment. We must be alert to the traf­fick­ing risks from the out­set of crises and rec­og­nize the pat­terns of human rights vio­la­tions and abus­es typ­i­cal of trafficking. 

 

Across all regions, pres­sures to con­trol bor­ders and migra­tion often have seri­ous unin­tend­ed con­se­quences, includ­ing deten­tion and refoule­ment. Denial of access to asy­lum pro­ce­dures or lack of mech­a­nisms for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing often lead to denial of rights with dra­mat­ic consequences.

Where no safe path­ways to pro­tec­tion exist for peo­ple seek­ing safe­ty, resort­ing to smug­glers or using oth­er clan­des­tine means is often the only way refugees can seek asy­lum and access the inter­na­tion­al pro­tec­tion to which they are enti­tled. They may find them­selves at the mer­cy of ruth­less smug­glers and traf­fick­ers who exploit their vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and take advan­tage of their inse­cu­ri­ty to charge high prices to move des­per­ate refugees seek­ing safe­ty and protection.

For refugees and inter­nal­ly dis­placed peo­ple liv­ing in camps or urban set­tings in pro­tract­ed sit­u­a­tions — traf­fick­ing risks often increase over time. For exam­ple, in Bangladesh, risks of traf­fick­ing are exac­er­bat­ed for Rohingya refugees with­out legal sta­tus, no right to work and restric­tions on move­ments out­side camps, on edu­ca­tion and liveli­hood opportunities.

Women and girls, in par­tic­u­lar, are recruit­ed for domes­tic work or as hotel maids but then traf­ficked for domes­tic servi­tude, forced labour and sex­u­al exploita­tion both with­in Bangladesh and transnationally.

In the dis­place­ment and cri­sis con­texts where we serve, for exam­ple, in the East and Horn of Africa, in the Sahel and along the routes to Cen­tral and West­ern Mediter­ranean, in South­east Asia, there are hun­dreds of record­ed traf­fick­ing cas­es. For asy­lum-seek­ers and refugees who flee in search of safe­ty or when mov­ing onward due to the lack of access to effec­tive pro­tec­tion or, traf­fick­ing risks per­sist. UNHCR’s ini­tia­tive enti­tled ‘Telling The Real Sto­ry’  col­lects tes­ti­monies of sur­vivors and pro­vides com­mu­ni­ties with trust­wor­thy infor­ma­tion on the risks of such dan­ger­ous jour­neys.  UNHCR and our part­ners work tire­less­ly to doc­u­ment the abus­es, iden­ti­fy those who have suf­fered harm, map avail­able pro­tec­tion ser­vices and ensure victims/survivors refer­ral and access to them.

[5] Seek­ing asy­lum is not an unlaw­ful act. It is a uni­ver­sal human right. The exer­cise of this right can­not and should not be criminalized. 

 

This is the ratio­nale behind Arti­cle 31 of the 1951 Con­ven­tion, which deals with the non-penal­iza­tion of refugees for irreg­u­lar entry. This pro­vi­sion is cen­tral to refugee pro­tec­tion. It serves to ensure that refugees and asy­lum seek­ers are able to access and exer­cise their human right to seek asy­lum with­out being penal­ized for breach­es of immi­gra­tion laws.

While Arti­cle 31 of the Refugee Con­ven­tion does not pro­vide blan­ket scope for irreg­u­lar entry for refugees and asy­lum seek­ers in all cir­cum­stances, it does artic­u­late spe­cif­ic para­me­ters that should be inter­pret­ed broad­ly and in good faith. Non penal­i­sa­tion of asy­lum seek­ers and refugees will direct­ly con­tribute to non-penal­i­sa­tion of those traf­ficked beyond borders.

[6] Much more is need­ed to address the pro­tec­tion needs of sur­vivors and ensure their access to inter­na­tion­al pro­tec­tion where needed. 

In 2006, UNHCR pub­lished its Traf­fick­ing Guide­lines[1], defin­ing UNHCR’s engage­ment with vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and per­sons at risk of traf­fick­ing whose claim to inter­na­tion­al pro­tec­tion falls with­in the refugee def­i­n­i­tion. More recent­ly, the Glob­al com­pact on refugees has also focused on sup­port­ing States to iden­ti­fy and refer vic­tims of traf­fick­ing to appro­pri­ate process­es and pro­ce­dures, includ­ing for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of inter­na­tion­al pro­tec­tion needs.

Yet, across all regions, chal­lenges remain in ensur­ing access to asy­lum pro­ce­dures and accom­pa­ny­ing pro­tec­tions for vic­tims and per­sons at risk of trafficking.

Some promis­ing prac­tices exist. For exam­ple, in Italy, UNHCR and the Nation­al Asy­lum Com­mis­sion devel­oped the Guide­lines on Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Vic­tims of Traf­fick­ing among appli­cants for inter­na­tion­al pro­tec­tion. Sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of poten­tial vic­tims (i.e. per­sons for whom there are grounds to believe that they may have been traf­ficked) were detect­ed, about 10.400 in the peri­od 2018 to June 2020.

[7] We need to con­tin­ue to sup­port States in ful­fill­ing their inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions of refugee pro­tec­tion and pre­ven­tion of traf­fick­ing and vic­tim pro­tec­tion.

This requires proac­tive pre­ven­tion. This means pro­vid­ing refugees with safe routes of admis­sion to seek pro­tec­tion to avoid risky jour­neys facil­i­tat­ed by smug­glers and traffickers.

Proac­tive pre­ven­tion also means help­ing forcibly dis­placed per­sons access sus­tain­able solu­tions, pro­vid­ing them with oppor­tu­ni­ties to work, enrol chil­dren in school, sup­port the host com­mu­ni­ties and inte­grate locally.

Secur­ing solu­tions includes improv­ing access to com­ple­men­tary path­ways to give refugees more routes to pro­tec­tion, such as reunit­ing with fam­i­lies and access­ing schol­ar­ships and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in third coun­tries. When peo­ple have access to safe­ty and oppor­tu­ni­ties, and when solu­tions are real, they become more resilient and self-reliant.

Con­sis­tent and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of these pre­ven­tion, solu­tions and com­ple­men­tary approach­es will save lives and improve dig­ni­ty by cut­ting the busi­ness mod­el of traf­fick­ers who will not be able to cap­i­tal­ize on vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. The Glob­al Refugee Forum in Decem­ber will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty to advance com­mit­ment by States and oth­er stake­hold­ers on these crit­i­cal issues.

 

 

 

Michel Veuthey

 

Thank you, Mr. Eba, for remind­ing us of the link between non-pun­ish­ment of human traf­fick­ing vic­tims and refugees. Our next speak­er Dr. Char­lie Lamen­to, US Lawyer, Sol­lic­i­tor in Eng­land and Wales, Reg­is­tered Euro­pean Lawyer (Czech Repub­lic), UN Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Glob­al Hope Network

Char­lie Lamento

 

Human Traf­fick­ing Talk­ing Points

Case Stud­ies

  • The aver­age annu­al prof­its gen­er­at­ed by 1 woman via forced sex­u­al servi­tude aka pros­ti­tu­tion is est. ($100,000) (Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe (OSCE)
  • “Sex­ploita­tion” can yield a return on invest­ment rang­ing from 100% to 1,000%, while an forced labor­er can pro­duce more than 50% profits
  • Nether­lands: Inves­ti­ga­tors cal­cu­lat­ed the prof­it gen­er­at­ed by 2 sex traf­fick­ers from a num­ber of vic­tims. 1 traf­fick­er earned $18,148 per month from 4 vic­tims (for a total of $127,036) while the 2nd traf­fick­er earned $295,786 in the 14 months that 3 women were sex­u­al­ly exploit­ed accord­ing to the OSCE.
  • Ger­many: Forced labor saves labor costs: In one case, Chi­nese kitchen work­ers were paid $808 for a 78-hour work­week in Ger­many. Accord­ing to Ger­man law, a cook was enti­tled to earn $2,558 for a 39-hour work­week accord­ing to the OSCE.

Alarm­ing­ly Low Num­ber of Prosecutions/Convictions of Human Traffickers

  • The present day tac­tics and strate­gies are not work­ing, as the num­ber of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions and con­vic­tions for human traf­fick­ers and their accom­plices remain extreme­ly low globally.

Glob­al­ly

  • Esti­mat­ed in 2017, 17,880 offend­ers were pros­e­cut­ed world­wide, and only 7,045 were con­vict­ed = the major­i­ty of human traf­fick­ers are nei­ther appre­hend­ed nor pros­e­cut­ed. (US State Depart­ment (2018) Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Report)
  • Esti­mat­ed in 2018, only 743 per­sons inves­ti­gat­ed in 10 coun­tries — 183 per­sons pros­e­cut­ed in 8 coun­tries - 70 per­sons con­vict­ed in 7 coun­tries. (UNODC Glob­al Report on TIP 2018). Result: the risk for traf­fick­ers to face jus­tice is extreme­ly low

Europe

  • 2015–2016 Euro­pean Union MSs report­ed 5979 pros­e­cu­tions and 2927 con­vic­tions for traf­fick­ing in human being (EU Com­mis­sion Sec­ond report on the progress made in the fight against traf­fick­ing in human beings (2018) as required under Arti­cle 20 of Direc­tive 2011/36/EU on pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing traf­fick­ing in human beings and pro­tect­ing its vic­tims 3/12/2018)
  • MSs/WHO should declare that pornog­ra­phy is pub­lic health cri­sis – espe­cial­ly as it per­tains to children.
  • See 16 US state leg­is­la­tures declarations
  • Peo­ple addict­ed to pornog­ra­phy show sim­i­lar brain activ­i­ty to alco­holics or drug addicts.
  • MRI scans of test sub­jects who admit­ted to com­pul­sive pornog­ra­phy use showed that the reward cen­ters of the brain react­ed to see­ing explic­it mate­r­i­al in the same way as an alco­ho lic’s might on see­ing a drinks advert.

Glob­al Hope Net­work Int. Rue de Varem­bé 1, Genève Switzer­land 1202
Email: charlie.lamento@ghni.org - Web: https://www.globalhopenetwork.org/
Swiss Fed­er­al Com­mer­cial Reg­is­ter No.: CHE 110.622.356 — Genève Canton

See South Korea’s Effec­tive Porn Block­ing Method

  • In Feb­ru­ary 2019, South Korea enact­ed a con­tro­ver­sial new method to block ille­gal con­tent, specif­i­cal­ly pornog­ra­phy and pirat­ed mate­r­i­al, accessed through Hyper­text Trans­fer Pro­to­col Secure (HTTPS) web­sites.21 The new scheme uses Serv­er Name Indication–filtering (SNI), which entails mon­i­tor­ing the unen­crypt­ed SNI that shows which HTTPS sites a user is vis­it­ing.22
  • See: https://freedomhouse.org/country/south-korea/freedom-net/2022

The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty must enact a uni­ver­sal standard/test to iden­ti­fy post-trau­mat­ic stress syn­drome (CPSD) that would reduce the pros­e­cu­tion traf­ficked victims

  • Stud­ies indi­cat­ed that an aver­age of 41% of sur­vivors of mod­ern slav­ery and human traf­fick­ing had CPTSD

See: https://www.elsevier.es/en-revista-european-journal-psychiatry-431-articulo-prevalence-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-S0213616322000076

 

Michel Veuthey

 

Thank you, Dr. Lamen­to, for your insight­ful remarks. Now, our fifth speak­er is Dr. Olivia SMITH, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Caribbean Anti-Human Traf­fick­ing Foun­da­tion. She will give us a video-record­ed statement

 

 

Olivia Smith

 

His Excel­len­cy, Michel Veuthey, Ambas­sador of the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta to com­bat human trafficking.

Oth­er Excel­len­cies, offi­cials, ladies and gen­tle­men, good morning.

Human traf­fick­ing con­sti­tutes a severe and intri­cate form of exploita­tion, cru­el­ly rob­bing indi­vid­u­als of their rights, free­doms, and human dig­ni­ty. It rep­re­sents an affront to our col­lec­tive human­i­ty, inflict­ing harm on indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties world­wide, com­pro­mis­ing nation­al and eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty, and erod­ing the rule of law. This rep­re­hen­si­ble prac­tice has no place in our glob­al soci­ety. Despite the rat­i­fi­ca­tion or acces­sion of over 175 nations to the Unit­ed Nations Pro­to­col to pre­vent, sup­press, and pun­ish traf­fick­ing in per­sons, which metic­u­lous­ly defines human traf­fick­ing and estab­lish­es oblig­a­tion to deter and com­bat this crime, progress remains uneven. Vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing fre­quent­ly bear the legal bur­den of illic­it activ­i­ties com­mit­ted as a direct result of their traf­fick­ing cir­cum­stances. These actions not only encom­pass spe­cif­ic forms of exploita­tion, such as pros­e­cu­tion or engage­ment in ille­gal work, but also the asso­ci­at­ed immi­gra­tion, admin­is­tra­tive and civ­il offences.

How­ev­er, it is cru­cial to under­score that the spot­light of inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions should shine large­ly on the crim­i­nal actions of traf­fick­ers. These per­pe­tra­tors, not their vic­tims, are legal­ly account­able for the pre­cise exploita­tive forms enforced upon the vic­tims. A lack of this nuanced under­stand­ing by States results in risk of re-trau­ma­tis­ing of vic­tims who may be wrong­ful­ly arrest­ed, pros­e­cut­ed, and con­vict­ed for crimes com­mit­ted while engi­neered in the traf­fick­ing sys­tem. Such mis­ap­pli­ca­tion of the law could detri­men­tal­ly affect vic­tims, infringe upon their rights, and dis­cour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion with legal pro­ceed­ings and com­pro­mise the wider jus­tice system.

Notably, this sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ues to dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impact women and girls world­wide. In the land­scape of human traf­fick­ing vic­tim rights, the prin­ci­ple of non-pun­ish­ment is the cor­ner­stone of the human rights pro­tec­tion in inter­na­tion­al, region­al, and domes­tic laws. This con­cept devel­oped sub­stan­tial promi­nence as it relates to the invalu­able legal right of vic­tims to pro­tec­tion. Pros­e­cut­ing traf­fick­ing vic­tims fla­grant­ly vio­lates their rights to protection.Non-punishment pro­vi­sions thus serve the dual pur­pose of extend­ing the legal­ly deserved pro­tec­tion to traf­fick­ing vic­tims and pre­vent­ing re-traf­fick­ing, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ensur­ing that the actu­al per­pe­tra­tors are brought to jus­tice. This approach aligns with the objec­tives out­lined in the Pre­am­ble of the Paler­mo Protocol.

Mov­ing for­ward, Gov­ern­ments should abstain from penal­is­ing or pros­e­cut­ing traf­fick­ing vic­tims for all law­ful activ­i­ties forced upon them by their traf­fick­ers. This prin­ci­ple should shield vic­tims from legal account­abil­i­ty, from actions they were coerced to do by their traf­fick­ers. If a vic­tim has been wrong­ful­ly penalised or pun­ished, Gov­ern­ments should vacate their con­vic­tions and expunge their records.

The post COVID 19 era offers States, inter­na­tion­al organ­i­sa­tions, and com­mu­ni­ties a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to eval­u­ate and re-ener­gize actions on this issue. Key ini­tia­tives should include the devel­op­ment of statu­to­ry defens­es and nation­al law, train­ing across the judi­cial sys­tems and law enforce­ment, and assis­tance ser­vices to sup­port vic­tim iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and the inte­gra­tion of non-pun­ish­ment prin­ci­ples into anti traf­fick­ing frame­works. Apply­ing these prin­ci­ples in a non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry age and gen­der respon­sive man­ner is an imper­a­tive step towards meet­ing State social and legal oblig­a­tion towards vic­tims of human trafficking.

Thank you.

 

 

Michel Veuthey

 

Thank you, Dr. Smith.  Our next speak­er is Dr. Andrea Salvoni, OSCE Act­ing Coor­di­na­tor for Com­bat­ting Traf­fick­ing in Human Beings. He shall give us a short video mes­sage on the role of OSCE in pro­mot­ing the non-pun­ish­ment principle.

Andrea Salvoni

 

 

Michel Veuthey

Thank you, Andrea.Now we have plea­sure to give the floor to Ena Lucia MARIACA PACHECO and Sil­via De Rosa, from INTERPOL.

Ena L. Mari­a­ca Pacheco

 

Ladies and gen­tle­men, Dis­tin­guished guests,

Let me begin by thank­ing the Sov­er­eign Order of Mal­ta, Car­i­tas Inter­na­tion­alis, Sec­ours Catholique, and Cos­ta Rica for invit­ing us to this impor­tant meeting.

My name is Ena Lucia Mari­a­ca Pacheco, and my col­league Sil­via De Rosa are here before you today on behalf of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Police Orga­ni­za­tion, Inter­pol, to address an impor­tant mat­ter that demands our unwa­ver­ing atten­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts.

The issue at hand is the non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, the urgent need to enhance vic­tim pro­tec­tion, fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion across all sec­tors, ensure safe­guard­ing, build­ing capac­i­ty, and strength­en inter­na­tion­al cooperation.

Today, we assert that vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing should not be treat­ed as crim­i­nals. They are vic­tims and sur­vivors, indi­vid­u­als who have endured unimag­in­able suf­fer­ing and trauma.

It is through this safe­guard­ing lens that Inter­pol advo­cates for the non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims and a shift in focus from crim­i­nal­iza­tion to vic­tim-cen­tered approaches.

The Human Traf­fick­ing and Smug­gling of Migrants Unit at INTERPOL is under the Vul­ner­a­ble Com­mu­ni­ties Sub-direc­torate. This sub-direc­torate, dif­fer­ent­ly from oth­ers, as it has a focus on crime areas that place peo­ple in vul­ner­a­ble situations.

There­fore, it is imper­a­tive that in the fight against these crimes, it is not the only pri­or­i­ty for law enforce­ment to dis­man­tle these crim­i­nal net­works, but also safe­guard the vic­tims that have been affect­ed by them.

We need to remem­ber that vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing can be any gen­der and any age – and I would like to high­light the need to not for­get the count­less men and boys of these crimes. At INTERPOL we rec­og­nize this and aim to pro­tect all victims.

INTERPOL has been work­ing on devel­op­ing poli­cies and pro­ce­dures for the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance of vic­tims, it has pro­duced inter­nal guide­lines in this regard, and it is con­tin­u­ous­ly assess­ing how these pro­ce­dures can be enhanced.

In accor­dance with INTERPOL’s Con­sti­tu­tion, which has been draft­ed in the spir­it of the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights, INTER­POL-facil­i­tat­ed oper­a­tions should reach their objec­tives while not fur­ther harm­ing the human rights and dig­ni­ty of vul­ner­a­ble communities.

Law enforce­ment agen­cies are often the first ones to have con­tact with a vic­tim of human traf­fick­ing, and this first approach is cru­cial for good assis­tance and devel­op­ment of the case.

An offi­cial must be aware of the impact of this crime on the vic­tims, and it is their respon­si­bil­i­ty to iden­ti­fy which kind of imme­di­ate assis­tance is need­ed and prop­er­ly refer the victim.

Sil­via will now fur­ther explain our safe­guard­ing frame­work in our glob­al oper­a­tions and projects.

 

Sil­via De Rosa

 

In the frame­work of INTERPOL HTSM oper­a­tions, INTERPOL stress­es to nation­al law enforce­ment agen­cies the impor­tance of hav­ing a plan to ensure vic­tims and vul­ner­a­ble migrants that may be iden­ti­fied dur­ing the oper­a­tion will receive the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance they need.

INTERPOL asks that this be clear­ly detailed in all nation­al oper­a­tional plans.

A ses­sion on vic­tim pro­tec­tion and assis­tance is deliv­ered dur­ing the pre-oper­a­tional train­ing to nation­al law enforce­ment offi­cers that will be involved in the operation.

INTERPOL has an agree­ment with IOM since 2014 that allowed great col­lab­o­ra­tion between the two orga­ni­za­tions. IOM has a com­pli­men­ta­ry man­date to INTERPOL’s, which allows it to pro­vide assis­tance to vic­tims when nation­al insti­tu­tions cannot.

Indeed, in the case where nation­al author­i­ties lack the nec­es­sary resources to pro­vide ade­quate sup­port to vic­tims and vul­ner­a­ble migrants and do not have local/national part­ners that can pro­vide full sup­port, Nation­al Cen­tral Bureaus are invit­ed to noti­fy INTERPOL of this need and request its sup­port in liais­ing with IOM. INTERPOL Gen­er­al Sec­re­tari­at then coor­di­nates with IOM HQ to find solutions.

An exam­ple of this col­lab­o­ra­tion with IOM is Project AKOMA joint­ly imple­ment­ed in 2015. The oper­a­tion orga­nized with­in this project allowed the res­cue of 75 chil­dren vic­tims of human trafficking.

More recent­ly, in 2021, Oper­a­tion PRISCAS, orga­nized with­in the frame­work of the THB West Africa Project res­cued a total of 90 vic­tims, 56 of which were chil­dren and 34 adults. In this case, vic­tim assis­tance has been pro­vid­ed through the direct col­lab­o­ra­tion of the local law enforce­ment agen­cies involved in the oper­a­tion and local insti­tu­tions and NGOs.

This project is an exam­ple of the suc­cess that can be reached through the imple­men­ta­tion of projects that com­bine the capac­i­ty build­ing com­po­nent, offer­ing spe­cial­ized train­ing on THB, on INTERPOL’s polic­ing capa­bil­i­ties and on dis­sem­i­na­tion of knowl­edge (train-the-train­er); with the oper­a­tional com­po­nent, sup­port­ing inves­ti­ga­tions on THB through­out the whole length of the project. Judi­cia­ry is involved too, at the pros­e­cu­tion lev­el espe­cial­ly, which is cru­cial to progress with the crim­i­nal case of the traf­fick­ers after the arrest, but often also for the offi­cial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vic­tims and their access to justice.

In con­clu­sion, INTERPOL stands com­mit­ted to the non-pun­ish­ment of vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, and to achieve these objec­tives men­tioned above, we must work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive sup­port sys­tem encom­pass­ing short and long-term needs to safe­guard and sup­port vic­tims and sur­vivors, regard­less of age, gen­der, or ethnicity.

Thank you.

 

Michel Veuthey

Thank you both for shar­ing the views from INTERPOL HQ and your field experience.

I would like to extend my thanks to all the pan­elists present here today. We all share a com­mon under­stand­ing: traf­fick­ers must be appre­hend­ed, pros­e­cut­ed, and sub­ject­ed to legal mea­sures, where­as vic­tims should be pro­tect­ed by the law and pro­vid­ed with assis­tance to rein­te­grate into society.

In con­clu­sion, non-pun­ish­ment is a cru­cial ele­ment in pro­tect­ing vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing and pre­vent­ing their fur­ther vic­tim­iza­tion. By rec­og­niz­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of vic­tims, encour­ag­ing report­ing, pro­mot­ing reha­bil­i­ta­tion, and imple­ment­ing com­pre­hen­sive sup­port sys­tems, soci­eties can ensure that vic­tims receive the pro­tec­tion and assis­tance they need to rebuild their lives. We hope that this event pro­vid­ed a con­tri­bu­tion to guide pol­i­cy­mak­ers, gov­ern­ments, and stake­hold­ers in devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing effec­tive non-pun­ish­ment poli­cies that pri­or­i­tize the rights and well-being of traf­fick­ing sur­vivors. Vic­tims should be pro­tect­ed and pro­vid­ed with assis­tance to rein­te­grate into society.

 

[1] UNHCR Guide­lines on Inter­na­tion­al Pro­tec­tion No7 on the appli­ca­tion of Arti­cle 1A(2) of the 1951 Con­ven­tion and/or 1967 Pro­to­col relat­ing to the Sta­tus of Refugees to vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and per­sons at risk of being trafficked

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