Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
General Debate on Human Trafficking in the context of global migration
Statement by: Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Delivered by: Giorgia Airoldi
We thank the Committee for having a discussion about this important topic and for inviting NGOs to participate.
Trafficking of human beings is one of the main and most insidious form of contemporary slavery which requires an integrated approach to be addressed. We would like to highlight three aspects of addressing the problem: prevention, legal status of victims, and conflict situations.
Prevention tackles the crime at its roots. We believe that trafficking prevention strategies must begin with proper research into the local conditions and include information collection and sharing mechanisms.
Nepal is an example of how economic conditions are not the single root cause of human trafficking, but also social factors play an important role. Lack of education, false expectations, beliefs about the outside world and isolation contribute to trafficking risk. Since traffickers often prey on people’s ignorance, we believe that education plays a crucial role in any trafficking prevention strategy. Education and an appropriate messaging should be focused on both the potential victims and their families and communities.
Where there are large flows of migrants, such as Tunisia, the illegal status of migrants makes them particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.
Since some of these migrants might be qualified as refugees, it is particularly important to develop a solid legal framework to regulate and process claims for asylum. Without institutions providing support to refugees, they become more vulnerable to human trafficking practices.
Retention centres in Tunisia, where people without a legal status are held, are places where traffickers can easily lure victims. It is therefore important to establish mechanisms aimed at identifying at-risk groups.
The risk of trafficking due to migration is increased in societies experiencing armed conflict due to a broad context of violence and instability. In Iraq, the 2003 invasion and following occupation resulted in millions of Iraqi women and girls becoming victims of trafficking and other violence.
We believe that when a conflict or post-conflict situation includes a UN lasting mission there are opportunities for the host state to benefit from the resources and expertise offered by the UN to address human rights issues. However, the situation in Iraq has shown that this does not necessarily happen. The UN should ensure that its ongoing missions are able to provide meaningful assistance to the host states in preventing human trafficking.
We again thank the Committee for welcoming our participation, and we look forward to the outcome of this discussion.