Caritas Europa: Human Trafficking: Caritas join forces across continents to protect children
On the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Caritas announces the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean project to conduct cross-border research between Caritas organisations in Europe and the Middle East, towards improving the protection of children from traffickers in human beings.
With this project, nine national Caritas organisations (Albania, Bosnia, France, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Ukraine), along with two regional organisations (Caritas Middle East and North Africa, and Caritas Europa) have agreed to analyse the situation of human trafficking – especially of children – in their respective countries and to study the interactions between them.
Expected results: Better care for victims and more efficient prevention.
The results of the research should contribute to improving care practices for rescued victims by providing data on the impact that trafficking has on victims, which will be useful to produce new and more efficient methods to support the victims during the process of rebuilding their lives.
The Caritas organisations involved also expect that the research findings will help to strengthen existing counter-trafficking preventive actions and enable Caritas to produce a set of tools and techniques to better identify, prevent and combat the practices of traffickers, as well as to improve awareness among groups at risk, law-enforcement authorities and the general public.
Background of this project.
Through its work with rescued victims of human trafficking, Caritas sees how human traffickers are using new technologies to develop more efficient and sophisticated techniques to trap potential victims. In addition to this, the increasing degree of emergency situations forcing people to migrate and the ongoing political trend to restrict migrant’s access to safe and legal channels, are playing into the hands of the criminals and enabling them to successfully run their “multi-billion-dollar form of international organised crime,” as described by Interpol.
“This research is very necessary. Although the fight against trafficking has improved over the last years, traffickers have adapted and found new ways of capturing their victims”, says Geneviève Colas, Caritas Europa’s representative on counter-trafficking in human beings.
All actors with a potential role in countering trafficking need to keep working and learning to stay ahead of the traffickers. Be it the police force, school teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, or others, all of them can intervene to save as many people, especially children, by becoming better at preventing potential victims and quickly identifying and rescuing existing victims.
“If a doctor had asked me, I would have talked to him…” said Yemi (name changed), a young Nigerian woman who was still a minor when she was trafficked to Europe and forced to prostitute herself. She was scared, threatened regularly and did not know who to trust. She went to the hospital to see a gynecologist about pain and vaginal infections and yet no one reacted to her situation or tried to find out more about her.
Caritas recommendations to counter trafficking. As a result of Caritas’ collaboration with the United Nations in the fight against trafficking, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinar, invited Caritas to present its main recommendations to government leaders on countering human trafficking to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018, urging them to:
1. Conduct an effective human rights-based approach to identify victims of trafficking and build on the experience of the survivors of trafficking;
2. Establish in all countries tools to identify trafficked persons or those at risk of being trafficked, along with an effective reference mechanism for identifying and accompanying victims. This must be accompanied by specific training of all actors in the fields dealing direct or indirectly with countering and preventing human trafficking;
3. Give victims time to recover, to rebuild themselves, and to be able to express their suffering, and to find the strength to file a criminal complaint against their abusers;
4. Avoid return procedures for any victim of human trafficking without making an assessment of their vulnerability to return as they may be at risk of retaliation in their home country;
5. Use appropriate UN procedures to ensure that international texts aimed at preventing human trafficking and at accompanying victims are not only translated into the laws of each member country but are also implemented in a way that respects the dignity of the person and her/his rights.