South African Interim Counter-trafficking provisions

3.1 Interim counter trafficking
3.1.1 Children’s Act 38 of 2005
Interim provisions on trafficking in children are included in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 (‘the Children’s Act’) in partial compliance with the Palermo Protocol. Given that the Children’s Act applies to children only, it does not fully comply with standard 1, namely the definition of ‘trafficking in persons’. The Children’s Act contains a definition of ‘trafficking in relation to a child’ only. The Act provides that:
‘“trafficking”, in relation to a child –
(a) means the recruitment, sale, supply, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children, within or across the borders of the Republic –
(i) by any means, including the use of threat, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control of a child; or
(ii) due to a position of vulnerability, for the purpose of exploitation; and
(b) includes the adoption of a child facilitated or secured through illegal means.’
This definition is to a large extent similar to the provision in the Palermo Protocol pertaining to the trafficking of a child. However, apart from the similar action and purpose components of the definition, there are a number of differences between the definitional formulations. First, the definition in the Children’s Act is somewhat broader than that of the protocol, in that the terms ‘sale’ and ‘supply’ are added as prohibited actions.
Secondly, adoption secured through illegal means is also included in the action component of the definition of trafficking in children.The unqualified inclusion of illegal adoption in the Act may cause confusion. In agreement with Kassan,it must be pointed out that an ‘illegal adoption’ means the ‘exploitation of the adoptive system and laws and not necessarily the exploitation of the adopted child’. For an illegal adoption to qualify as trafficking, an interpretation should be followed in line with that in the Palermo Protocol, namely that the primary intention of the illegal adoption must be to exploit the child.

Thirdly, the definition of trafficking in the Children’s Act also differs from the provision in the Palermo Protocol regarding the so-called ‘means’ element. The ‘means’ element in the Palermo Protocol requires that the perpetrator must use at least one of the listed improper means, such as force, threat, fraud or deception, in committing the prohibited action. In the case of the trafficking of adults, the Palermo Protocol requires the presence of the means element to constitute human trafficking, but not for the trafficking of a child under the age of eighteen years. In providing special protection for children, the Palermo Protocol lays down that the prescribed action element, namely the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receiving of a child for the purpose of exploitation, constitutes trafficking in persons, even if none of the means set out in the definition were used. Unlike the protocol, the Children’s Act provides that trafficking in children requires the prohibited action to be committed by ‘any means, including the use of threat, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, [and] deception’, for the purpose of exploitation. One interpretation of ‘any means’ is that no means are required for child trafficking, and that the definition in the Children’s Act thus corresponds with the definition in the Palermo Protocol. Then again, Kassan points out that a different interpretation of ‘any means’ is that the Children’s Act does require one of the specified means to be present to constitute trafficking in children.The latter interpretation is problematic, in that, if the means element is required for trafficking in children, it is not in line with the Palermo Protocol, which waives the means element in regard to child trafficking. The formulation of the ‘means’ element in the definition of ‘trafficking’ in the Children’s Act has therefore been ‘criticised for creating a greater evidentiary burden’ than is required by the Palermo Protocol.
The third standard requires the criminalisation of human trafficking. The Children’s Act criminalises the trafficking of children by natural or juristic persons for an exploitative purpose. Unlike the international standard, this provision only applies to children who are trafficked and not to adult victims. It is to be welcomed that the Children’s Act regards child trafficking as a serious offence, for which imprisonment of up to twenty years may be imposed.Additional protection for children is provided, in that it is no defence for the perpetrator that the child, or the person having control over the child, has consented to the exploitation or illegal adoption or that the intended exploitation or adoption did not occur.
As was pointed out in relation to standard four above, states parties are not only obligated to criminalise the main crime of human trafficking, but also any conduct constituting attempts to commit the crime, participation as accomplices, and organising or directing others to commit human trafficking.The Children’s Act does not include the criminalisation of attempts to commit human trafficking, because this is already covered in existing South African law. The attempt to commit any crime is recognised as a substantive crime in the South African legal system.

Participation as an accomplice by unlawfully and intentionally furthering a crime committed by someone else is also punishable in our existing law. Furthermore, the Riotous Assemblies Act 17 of 1956 (‘Riotous Assemblies Act’) criminalises conspiracy and incitement to commit a crime.However, the Riotous Assemblies Act does not include the protocol’s specific term ‘organising’ others to commit human trafficking.
Apart from criminalising the crime of trafficking, the Children’s Act also criminalises certain behaviour ‘facilitating trafficking in children’ in order to cast the net wide enough so as to include the various role players that usually profit from this crime. On conviction of this crime of facilitating trafficking in children, a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment may be imposed. In short, the prohibited behaviour entails leasing any property for the purpose of harbouring a trafficked child or distributing information alluding to trafficking. Further, internet service providers are required to report any site on their servers that contains such prohibited information.
Apart from creating trafficking offences, chapter 18 of the Children’s Act also regulates other matters in regard to trafficking in children, such as the provision of international cooperation, as well as extraterritorial jurisdiction. Underpinning the best-interests-of-the-child principle, the Act further provides for the safety of the trafficked child and specific assistance in returning the child to the Republic,as well as for referral and repatriation procedures. However, Kassan maintains that the provisions for assisting trafficked children in the Children’s Act do not fully comply with all the types of assistance that states parties are obliged to render or consider in terms of the Palermo Protocol.

Finally, the counter-trafficking provisions in the Children’s Act make it possible to prosecute offenders for any type of trafficking where a child is the victim. However, full compliance with the Palermo Protocol is lacking, because this Act applies to child victims only and therefore offers no remedy for trafficked adults.

Manhunt on for Bangladesh Human Trafficking Kingpin (13 July 2015)

bangladesh westbengal

KOLKATA: The kingpin of South-East Asia’s largest network trafficking women has fled Bangladesh to seek shelter in West Bengal, according to a report sent by the Dhaka unit of the Indo-Bangla joint task force against human trafficking.

Shaheen Khondakar gave the slip to Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion which raided his apartment in a highrise building at Turag in Dhaka last week, from where he ran a placement agency for women. Though the kingpin could flee, his aide Seema Akhtar alias Mousumi and five persons were arrested. The police rescued nine women, out of which six were supposed to be trafficked to Central Asia while three were to be sent to Chennai.

The state CID has launched a manhunt for Shaheen and issued an alert for him all over the country after the report reached the Secretariat,”Nabanna”.

According to sources in the Home Department, under the guise of the placement agency, Shaheen and Seema had over the last few years trafficked thousands of Bangladeshi young women to different parts of India, where they were forced into prostitution or sold to rich Arabs.

“In India their favourite destinations were Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. They would assure these women, many of whom could speak English, of lucrative jobs as receptionists in big hotels or medium-sized corporate houses. But once in India, they would be sold by Shaheen’s agents to pimps who forced them into prostitution in big cities,” a CID official told Express.

The CID is the nodal agency for West Bengal’s anti-human trafficking unit and its representatives regularly attend the meetings of the joint task force of the two countries. At a meeting held in Mumbai, names of 556 Bangladeshi human traffickers and 514 agents were handed over to the neighbouring country.

Dhaka was also given a list of Shaheen’s “dens” in Bangladesh — Khulna, Rajshahi, Borishal, Chittagong — other than the country’s capital.

New Delhi has also expressed concern about Dhaka’s not being able to nab Shaheen and his associates, who have links with arms and gold smugglers from both the countries as well.

In West Bengal, Shaheen’s network operates in almost all districts which share a border with Bangladesh. Its agents have connections in the police administration and political parties.

Article from:

Due to false and malicious rumors and accusations going around South Africa against the Armor of God foundation.

Due to false and malicious rumors and accusations going around South Africa against the Armor of God foundation.

The Armor of God Foundation International and Armor of God foundation South Africa has taken the following steps:

  1. We contacted the Hawks police division ourselves in South Africa, whom seems very surprised about what people are saying they are doing, regarding these rumors and accusations
  2. The Hawks are now investigating on behalf of Armor of God International and Armor of God South Africa, these rumors and has asked us to do a press release regarding this matter.
  3. Our Spokesperson and CEO in South Africa will be releasing a press statement.
  4. Anyone who receive messages from 3rd parties, continuing to blacken the foundations name, is being requested to report these issues to the police for their own protection and can supply us with the case number.
  5. Armor of God foundation International and South Africa will not be canceling events, due to false rumors.
  6. Any singers that are threatened, thank you for being honest with us, in the form of letting us know, who contacted you and what was said. This information has been passed on to the Hawks as well. Their advice is that you must please bring it to the attention of your local police and supply us with the case number.
  7. Armor of God will not be discussing this case, and issue, with those that started spreading the rumors and accusations, as advised by the Hawks.

Armor of God foundation International and South Africa would like to point out that every person on this earth has a past. No matter what happened in a person´s past or life, it does not affect the work they can do. Anyone can start rumors about a person, anyone can spread other people’s rumors about a person, and it does not make a rumor the truth.

Like Jesus stated in the Bible, “LET THE ONE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE”.

Our foundation will remain strong in our faith, and will remain faithful to all of those working with us to combat human trafficking.

The Intersection between Environmental Degradation and Human Trafficking

The Intersection between Environmental Degradation and Human Trafficking

Certain industries face particularly high environmental risks, including agriculture, fishing and aquaculture, logging, and mining. Workers in these sectors also face risks; the use of forced labor has been documented along the supply chains of many commercial sectors. Exploitation of both people and natural resources appears even more likely when the yield is obtained or produced in illegal, unregulated, or environmentally harmful ways and in areas where monitoring and legal enforcement are weak.

Agriculture (Crops and Livestock)

Unsustainable agricultural practices around the world are a major cause of environmental degradation. The manner in which land is used can either protect or destroy biodiversity, water resources, and soil. Some governments and corporations are working to ensure that the agricultural sector becomes increasingly more productive, and also that this productivity is achieved in an environmentally sustainable way. Alongside the movement to protect the environment from harm, governments must also protect agricultural workers from exploitation.

Agriculture is considered by the ILO to be one of the most hazardous employment sectors. Particular risks to workers include exposure to harsh chemicals and diseases, work in extreme weather conditions, and operation of dangerous machinery without proper training. Moreover, many agricultural workers are vulnerable to human trafficking due to their exclusion from coverage by local labor laws, pressure on growers to reduce costs, insufficient internal monitoring and audits of labor policies, and lack of government oversight.

As documented in this Report over the years, adults and children are compelled to work in various agricultural sectors around the globe.

For example:

  • Throughout Africa, children and adults are forced to work on farms and plantations harvesting cotton, tea, coffee, cocoa, fruits, vegetables, rubber, rice, tobacco, and sugar. There are documented examples of children forced to herd cattle in Lesotho, Mozambique, and Namibia, and camels in Chad.
  • In Europe, men from Brazil, Bulgaria, China, and India are subjected to forced labor on horticulture sites and fruit farms in Belgium. Men and women are exploited in the agricultural sectors in Croatia, Georgia, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  • In Latin America, adults and children are forced to harvest tomatoes in Mexico, gather fruits and grains in Argentina, and herd livestock in Brazil.
  • In the Middle East, traffickers exploit foreign migrant men in the agricultural sectors of Israel and Jordan. Traffickers reportedly force Syrian refugees, including children, to harvest fruits and vegetables on farms in Lebanon.
  • In the United States, victims of labor trafficking have been found among the nation’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including adults and children who harvest crops and raise animals.

Fishing and Aquaculture

The 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report highlighted forced labor on fishing vessels occurring concurrently with illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which threatens food security and the preservation of marine resources. Vessels involved in other environmental crimes, such as poaching, may also trap their crews in forced labor. Testimonies from survivors of forced labor on fishing vessels have revealed that many of the vessels on which they suffered exploitation used banned fishing gear, fished in prohibited areas, failed to report or misreported catches, operated with fake licenses, and docked in unauthorized ports—all illegal fishing practices that contribute to resource depletion and species endangerment. Without proper regulation, monitoring, and enforcement of laws governing both fishing practices and working conditions, criminals will continue to threaten the environmental sustainability of oceans and exploit workers with impunity.

In recent years, a growing body of evidence has documented forced labor on inland, coastal, and deep sea fishing vessels, as well as in shrimp farming and seafood processing. This evidence has prompted the international advocacy community to increase pressure on governments and private sector stakeholders to address the exploitation of men, women, and children who work in the commercial fishing and aquaculture sector.

Reports of maritime forced labor include:

  • In Europe, Belize-flagged fishing vessels operating in the Barents Sea north of Norway have used forced labor, as have vessels employing Ukrainian men in the Sea of Okhotsk.
  • In the Caribbean, foreign-flagged fishing vessels have used forced labor in the waters of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Along the coastline of sub-Saharan Africa, forced labor has become more apparent on European and Asian fishing vessels seeking to catch fish in poorly regulated waters. Traffickers have exploited victims in the territorial waters of Mauritius, South Africa, and Senegal, as well as aboard small lake-based boats in Ghana and Kenya.
  • In Asia, men from Cambodia, Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, India, and Bangladesh are subjected to forced labor on foreign-flagged (largely Taiwanese, Korean, and Hong Kong) vessels operating in territorial waters of countries in Southeast Asia, the Pacific region, and New Zealand.


One out of five people in the world relies directly upon forests for food, income, building materials, and medicine. Yet laws to protect forests are often weak and poorly monitored. Illegal logging has led to forest degradation, deforestation, corruption at the highest levels in governments, and human rights abuses against entire communities, including indigenous populations. Human trafficking is included in this list of abuses. While some governments and civil society organizations have voiced strong opposition to illegal logging and made pledges to protect this valuable resource, the international community has given comparably little attention to the workers cutting down the trees, transporting the logs, or working in the intermediate processing centers. At the same time, the serious problem of workers in logging camps sexually exploiting trafficking victims has garnered insufficient attention.

There is a dearth of documented information on working conditions of loggers and the way the logging industry increases the risk of human trafficking in nearby communities.

Recent reports of trafficking in this sector include:

  • In Asia, victims have been subjected to labor trafficking in the logging industry. For example, Solomon Islands authorities reported a Malaysian logging company subjected Malaysians to trafficking-related abuse in 2012. Burmese military-linked logging operations have used villagers for forced labor. North Koreans are forced to work in the Russian logging industry under bilateral agreements. Migrant workers in logging camps in Pacific Island nations have forced children into marriage and the sex trade.
  • In Brazil, privately owned logging companies have subjected Brazilian men to forced labor.
  • The Government of Belarus has imposed forced labor on Belarusian nationals in its logging industry.


Mining—particularly artisanal and small-scale mining—often has a negative impact on the environment, including through deforestation and pollution due to widespread use of mercury. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the mining sector is responsible for 37 percent of global mercury emissions, which harm ecosystems and have serious health impacts on humans and animals. In addition to degrading the environment, mining often occurs in remote or rural areas with limited government presence, leaving individuals in mining communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia more vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking.

Examples of human trafficking related to the mining industry include:

  • In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a significant number of Congolese men and boys working as artisanal miners are exploited in debt bondage by businesspeople and supply dealers from whom they acquire cash advances, tools, food, and other provisions at inflated prices and to whom they must sell mined minerals at prices below the market value. The miners are forced to continue working to pay off constantly accumulating debts that are virtually impossible to repay.
  • In Angola, some Congolese migrants seeking employment in diamond-mining districts are exploited in forced labor in the mines or forced prostitution in mining communities.
  • A gold rush in southeastern Senegal has created serious health and environmental challenges for affected communities due to the use of mercury and cyanide in mining operations. The rapid influx of workers has also contributed to the forced labor and sex trafficking of children and women in mining areas.
  • In Guyana, traffickers are attracted to the country’s interior gold mining communities where there is limited government presence. Here, they exploit Guyanese girls in the sex trade in mining camps.
  • In Peru, forced labor in the gold mining industry remains a particular problem. In 2013, a report titled, Risk Analysis of Indicators of Forced Labor and Human Trafficking in Illegal Gold Mining in Peru, catalogued the result of interviews with nearly 100 mine workers and individuals involved in related industries (such as cooks, mechanics, and people in prostitution). It traces how gold tainted by human trafficking ends up in products available in the global marketplace, from watches to smart phones.

Next Steps

Governments, private industry, and civil society have an opportunity to push for greater environmental protections in tandem with greater protections for workers, including those victimized by human trafficking. Additional research is needed to further study the relationship between environmental degradation and human trafficking in these and other industries. It is also essential to strengthen partnerships to better understand this intersection and tackle both forms of exploitation, individually and together.

Media Best Practices

Media Best Practices

Ask most people where their information about human trafficking comes from, and the answer is often “I heard about it on the news.” Unsurprisingly, the media play an enormous role shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about this crime. How the media reports on human trafficking is just as important as what is being reported, and the overall impact of these stories is reflected in the way the public, politicians, law enforcement, and even other media outlets understand the issue.

In recent years, a number of reports about trafficking have relied on misinformation and outdated statistics, blamed or exploited victims, and conflated terminology. Instead of shining a brighter light on this problem, such reports add confusion to a crime that is already underreported and often misunderstood by the public. As the issue of human trafficking begins to enter the public consciousness, members of the media have a responsibility to report thoroughly and responsibly, and to protect those who have already been victimized.

A few promising practices can keep journalists on the right track:

Language matters. Is there a difference between survivor and victim? Prostitution and sex trafficking? Human smuggling and human trafficking? The conflation of terms, as well as the failure to use the correct definition to describe human trafficking, can confuse and mislead audiences. Human trafficking is a complex crime that many communities are still trying to understand, and using outdated terms or incorrect definitions only weakens understanding of the issue.Become familiar with the trafficking definitions of international law, found in the Palermo Protocol to the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention, as well as other related terms that are commonly used.

Dangers of re-victimization. Photos or names of human trafficking victims should not be published without their consent, and journalists should not speak with a minor without a victim specialist, parent, or guardian present. Human trafficking cases often involve complex safety concerns that could be exacerbated by a published story, or if a victim or survivor has not fully healed, a published story may reactivate trauma or shame years later. Ensure that, before a victim of human trafficking agrees to share his or her story, he or she understands that once the story is published, it will be available to the public at large.

Survivor stories. Although interviewing survivors may be the key to understanding human trafficking, there are optimal ways to approach survivors and learn about their experiences. Reporters should invest time engaging service providers and NGOs that work with survivors to learn and understand the best possible approaches. Be flexible, do not make demands, and do not expect the survivor to tell you his or her story in one sitting. Spend time with survivors, get to know them as people, and follow up even after the story is complete.

Half the story. When media report on only one type of human trafficking, the public is left with only part of the story. Human trafficking includes sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and debt bondage. Strengthen the public’s understanding of human trafficking and the full scope of the crime.

Numbers game. Reporters often lead with numbers, but reliable statistics related to human trafficking are difficult to find. Human trafficking is a clandestine crime and few victims and survivors come forward for fear of retaliation, shame, or lack of understanding of what is happening to them. Numbers are not always the story. Pursue individual stories of survival, new government initiatives, or innovative research efforts until better data are available.

Human trafficking happens. Simply reporting that human trafficking occurs is not a story. Human trafficking happens in every country in the world. Go deeper and find out who are the most vulnerable to victimization, what kind of help is offered for survivors, and what your community is doing to eradicate this problem.

Advocacy journalism. Human trafficking is a popular topic for journalists hoping to make a social impact. Journalists may befriend survivors, earn their trust, and in some cases help remove them from a harmful situation. This is typically not appropriate. Everyone should do their part to help eradicate this crime, but victim assistance should be handled by accredited organizations. “Rescuing” a victim is not a means to a story. Instead, connect a victim to a reputable service provider to ensure they are safe and their needs are met.

Reactivating Trauma in Sex Trafficking Testimony

Reactivating Trauma in Sex Trafficking Testimony

Sex trafficking victims face a long road to recovery, and testifying against their exploiters can often hinder that process. While witness testimony can be an effective and necessary form of evidence for a criminal trial, the primary trauma experienced by a victim during the trafficking situation may be reactivated when recounting the exploitation or confronting the exploiter face-to-face. In many cases, the victim-witness has been threatened by the trafficker directly warning against reporting to law enforcement, or the witness’s family members have been threatened or intimidated as a way to prevent cooperation in an investigation or prosecution. In addition, a victim may fear possible prosecution for unlawful activities committed as part of the victimization such as prostitution, drug use, and illegal immigration. This fear is compounded in some cases in which victims experienced previous instances of being treated as criminals, whether arrested, detained, charged, or even prosecuted. The defense may also cite the victim’s engagement in criminal activity or criminal record as evidence of his or her lack of credibility. In fact, sometimes victims are not ideal witnesses. If the victim had a close relationship with the trafficker (also known as trauma bonding), has a deep-rooted distrust of law enforcement, or fears retaliation, a victim may be a reluctant or ineffective witness.

The need for resources for victims throughout, and even after, the investigation and prosecution is critical, especially because some human trafficking trials last several years. During this time, victims often face financial difficulties—including lack of housing and employment—and continued emotional and psychological stress, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in many cases, resulting from the trafficking situation, that require long-term medical and mental health care.

To prevent or reduce the chance of reactivating primary trauma, experts encourage government officials to incorporate a victim-centered approach and provide support to victim-witnesses when investigating and prosecuting trafficking offenses. Specialized courts to hear human trafficking cases and the designation of specific prosecutors who have significant experience in handling these cases have led to a greater number of prosecutions while minimizing victim re-traumatization. Collaboration between law enforcement officials and NGOs that provide comprehensive victim assistance, including legal and case management services, has also proven to be a necessary component in successful prosecutions. The Government of Canada, for example, has fostered partnerships with NGOs through the Victims Fund, resulting in additional support for victims, such as projects that raise awareness and provide services and assistance. Law enforcement officials in many countries would benefit from sharing best practices to ensure that victims are not re-traumatized and traffickers are prosecuted in accordance with due process. Best practices include:

  • Interviewing victims in a comfortable, non-group setting with a legal advocate present where possible.
  • Providing the option, where legally possible, to pre-record statements for use as evidence to avoid the need for repeated accounts of abuse.
  • Adopting evidentiary rules to preclude introduction of prior sexual history.
  • Providing support—such as victim advocates, free legal counsel, and change in immigration status—that is not conditional on live trial testimony.

HUman trafficking and major sporting events

Human Trafficking and Major Sporting Events

Major sporting events—such as the Olympics, World Cup, and Super Bowl—provide both an opportunity to raise awareness about human trafficking as well as a challenge to identify trafficking victims and prosecute traffickers who take advantage of these events. Successful anti-trafficking efforts must be comprehensive and sustainable, addressing both labor and sex trafficking conditions before, during, and after such events.

Prior to the Event: Major sporting events often entail massive capital improvement and infrastructure projects, creating a huge demand for cost-effective labor and materials. Governments and civil society can take steps to prevent this significant increase in construction from being accompanied by an increase in forced labor. Governments should ensure labor laws meet international standards, regulate labor recruitment agencies, and frequently inspect construction sites for violations of labor laws. To prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London, the London Councils, a government association in the United Kingdom, commissioned a report on the potential impact of the Olympics on human trafficking. Governments in countries hosting major sporting events may wish to consider similar analyses to identify potential gaps in human trafficking responses. These strategies will be particularly important in countries planning to host future Olympics (Brazil in 2016, South Korea in 2018, and Japan in 2020) and World Cup tournaments (Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022).

Game Day: Increased commerce, tourism, and media attention accompany major sporting events. Unfortunately, there is a lack of hard data on the prevalence of human trafficking—including sex trafficking —associated with these events. Governments and civil society—including the airline and hospitality sectors—can collaborate to combat trafficking by launching media campaigns, training law enforcement officials and event volunteers, and establishing partnerships to recognize indicators of human trafficking and to identify victims. Additional data collection of human trafficking surrounding major sporting events will inform future anti-trafficking efforts.

After the Event Concludes: Modern slavery is a 365-day-a-year crime that requires a 365-day-a-year response. Traffickers do not cease operations once a sporting event concludes, and stadiums and surrounding areas can remain popular destinations for travel and tourism. The lasting effect of anti-trafficking efforts associated with major sporting events can be even more important than the impact of those efforts during the event itself. This ripple effect can take the form of enhanced partnerships between law enforcement officials, service providers, and the tourism industry, or simply sports fans sustaining the anti-trafficking efforts that they learned about during the event

Marginalized Communities: Romani Victims of Trafficking

Marginalized Communities: Romani Victims of Trafficking

Romani—also known as Roma, Roms, or Romane—are one of the largest minority groups in Europe and are highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Ethnic Romani men, women, and particularly children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor—including forced begging, forced criminality, involuntary domestic servitude, and servile marriages—throughout Europe, including in Western Europe, Central Europe, and the Balkans. This exploitation occurs both internally, especially in countries with large native Romani populations, and transnationally. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council issued a decision in December 2013 that called on participating States to take measures to address Romani victims of human trafficking.

Like other marginalized groups across the world, Romani are particularly vulnerable to trafficking due to poverty, multi-generational social exclusion, and discrimination—including lack of access to a variety of social services, education, and employment. For instance, because of poor access to credit and employment opportunities, Romani often resort to using informal moneylenders that charge exorbitant interest rates, contributing to high levels of debt, which heighten trafficking vulnerability. Furthermore, recorded cases also exist of exploiters fraudulently claiming social benefits from Romani trafficking victims, depriving victims of this assistance.

In general, European governments do not adequately address the issue of identifying and protecting Romani trafficking victims. Victim protection services and prevention campaigns are often not accessible to the Romani community, as they are at times denied services based on their ethnicity or are located in isolated areas where services are not available. Law enforcement and other officials are typically not trained in or sensitized to trafficking issues in the Romani community. At times, combating trafficking has been used as a pretext to promote discriminatory policies against Romani, such as forced evictions and arbitrary arrests and detention.

Many Romani victims are hesitant to seek assistance from the police because they distrust authorities due to historic discrimination and a fear of unjust prosecution. In some instances, police have penalized Romani victims for committing illegal acts as a result of being trafficked, such as being forced to engage in petty theft. Furthermore, in those countries in which governments rely on victims to self-identify, this mistrust can result in disproportionately small numbers of Romani victims identified, which can contribute to continued exploitation of victims. The lack of formal victim identification may also lead to an absence of protection services, which in turn can result in increased vulnerability to re-trafficking.

Some policy recommendations to address the needs of Romani victims of human trafficking include:

  • Governments should include full and effective participation of Romani communities and organizations in anti-trafficking bodies, including anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim identification groups.
  • Trafficking prevention campaigns and efforts should be targeted to Romani communities, particularly those that are segregated and socially excluded.
  • Governments should improve access to prevention and protection services, such as public awareness campaigns for communities and law enforcement, and adequate shelters, legal and social services, and vocational assistance.
  • Law enforcement should not impose criminal liability on trafficking victims, including Romani, for crimes they were forced to commit.
  • Anti-trafficking policies should explicitly recognize the Romani as a vulnerable group.

The Use of Forced Criminality: Victims Hidden Behind a Crime

The Use of Forced Criminality: Victims Hidden Behind a Crime

Methods used by human traffickers continue to evolve, as does the understanding of this crime among law enforcement and anti-trafficking activists. One distinct, yet often under-identified, characteristic of human trafficking is forced criminality. Traffickers may force adults and children to commit crimes in the course of their victimization, including theft, illicit drug production and transport, prostitution, terrorism, and murder. For example, in Mexico, organized criminal groups have coerced children and migrants to work as assassins and in the production, transportation, and sale of drugs. In November 2013, police arrested six adult Roma accused of forcing their children to commit burglaries in Paris and its suburbs. The victims were reportedly physically beaten for failure to deliver a daily quota of stolen goods. In Afghanistan, insurgent groups force older Afghan children to serve as suicide bombers. Non-state militant groups in Pakistan force children—some as young as 9 years old—to serve as suicide bombers in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Children and men, primarily from Vietnam and China, have been forced to work on cannabis farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark through the use of verbal and physical threats and intimidation.

Victims of trafficking should not be held liable for their involvement in unlawful activities that are a direct consequence of their victimization. Trafficked individuals who are forced to commit a crime are commonly mistaken for criminals—rather than being identified as victims—and therefore treated as such by law enforcement and judicial officials. Many victims of trafficking remain undetected among those who have committed crimes because of a lack of proper victim identification and screening. One example in the United States involves victims of human trafficking who are forced to commit commercial sex acts, and are then prosecuted by state or local officials for prostitution or prostitution-related activity. Many states, including New York State, have passed laws to allow trafficking victims to overturn or vacate these convictions where criminal activity was committed as part of the trafficking situation. In 2009, three Vietnamese children were arrested for working on cannabis farms in the United Kingdom, convicted for drug offenses, and sentenced to imprisonment. An appellate court, however, overturned the convictions in 2013, holding that the children were victims of trafficking. This case reflects a growing awareness that victims of human trafficking involved in forced criminality should be shielded from prosecution. It also demonstrates the difficulties that law enforcement and judicial officials face when combating crimes and enforcing the law.

It is important that governments develop and implement policies to identify trafficking victims who are forced to participate in criminal activity in the course of their victimization, and provide them with appropriate protective services. In addition to general awareness training on human trafficking, training law enforcement and judicial officials about the principles of non-punishment and non-prosecution of victims is key to increasing the likelihood that individuals will be properly identified by the authorities, and thereby secure access to justice and protection.

The Vulnerability of LGBT individuals to Human trafficking

The Vulnerability of LGBT Individuals to Human Trafficking

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world often experience discrimination and elevated threats of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2013, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (ILGA) reported that nearly 80 countries had laws that criminalize people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT persons face elevated threats of violence and discrimination in employment, healthcare, and educational opportunities. Some family members have ostracized LGBT relatives from their homes. The cumulative effects of homophobia and discrimination make LGBT persons particularly vulnerable to traffickers who prey on the desperation of those who wish to escape social alienation and maltreatment.

Governments and NGOs have made progress in identifying LGBT trafficking victims and highlighting the vulnerability of LGBT persons to crimes such as human trafficking. For example, in 2013, NGOs working on LGBT issues in Argentina identified traffickers who promised transgender women job opportunities in Europe, but instead confiscated their passports and forced them into prostitution. Police in the Philippines have identified LGBT trafficking victims during anti-trafficking operations. Civil society in South Africa has identified instances of traffickers coercing LGBT children to remain in prostitution under threat of disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to their families. As part of the 2013-2017 Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Trafficking in the United States, U.S. agencies have committed to gathering information on the needs of LGBT victims of human trafficking. NGOs in the United States estimate LGBT homeless youth comprise 20 to 40 percent of the homeless youth population; these youth are at particularly high risk of being forced into prostitution.

Biases and discrimination severely complicate proper identification of, and provision of care to, LGBT victims of human trafficking. Law enforcement officials and service providers should partner with LGBT organizations to enhance victim identification efforts and adapt assistance services to meet the unique needs of LGBT victims. LGBT victims of human trafficking should also be included in the dialogue on these issues as well as on helping victims become survivors.