Refugees, Migrants and Human Trafficking

We need more awareness to protect the vulnerable.

Posted on 2023-07-11 12:00:00
"We need more awareness to protect the vulnerable."

3 Things We Need To Do.

There are 3 things we need to be aware of when trying to reduce human trafficking amongst the vulnerable, including migrants and refugees.

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As migration is increasing around the world and refugees are displaced from their homes, there is a continual vulnerability that surrounds migration and the refugee population which has opened the door to human trafficking. There is a growing and widespread agreement for the urgent need to understand, prevent and combat human trafficking in the migrant pathways and corridors to reduce the suffering of many women, men and children. Despite this need, the policy makers fall short in introducing effective policies to end human trafficking (World Migration Report, 2022) as traffickers are often not prosecuted, laws continually need to be revisited to protect victims and collaboration between entities need to improve to move into an approach of prevention. 

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3 Approaches

There needs to be new research, the creation of new policy and programs, and ongoing collaboration between sectors which focuses on three main areas: 

1) increasing education and strengthening the understanding about trafficking among migrants; 

2) protecting migrant victims of trafficking by responding based on the unique situation of the individual; 

3)  improving the collaboration that exists between sectors from a cooperation approach to a collaboration approach (World Migration Report, 2022).

1: Increasing Education

There needs to be better information sharing in the media, and between policy makers when discussing migrants to help clarify the issues. Often migrant trafficking is confused with migrant smuggling. Whether this is purposeful or based on lack of understanding, it results in migrant victims not being identified. This, in turn, impacts the investigation and prosecutions of traffickers and reduces the entitled protections for migrant victims.  

“Improving the understanding and evidence base of migrant trafficking calls for capacity-building efforts not only of State authorities, but also of other relevant stakeholders, including the media” (World Migration Report, 2022).

It is essential for research, data collection and analysis to continue, which can prove useful in enhancing antitrafficking policies and programs.

Read More About #1

2: Protecting Migrants with Tailor-Made Responses

Those helping migrant victims of trafficking need to be aware of the unique needs of migrants regarding protection and assistance. While there are distinct factors that make migrants vulnerable to trafficking, the solutions to help migrants vary a great deal. When migrants are outside their own country, there are specific needs beyond the general protections needed versus when someone is displaced within their own country relating to crimes. 

For example, there is an added stress of reporting crimes as a migrant for fear of being deported.

Read More About #2

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Protecting Migrants

These migrant victims may not want to cooperate in identifying or helping to prosecute traffickers for fear of deportation, which in turn causes them to re-enter the cycle of trafficking. Read More

3: Collaboration and Cooperation

Research shows that when organizations work together, outcomes are better (Holzer, 2020; Foot, 2017; Baker & Grover, 2013). Currently, a number of cross-border departments from multiple countries are discussing how to cooperate in countering transnational trafficking of migrants.

This is an approach that was established in 2000, known as the Trafficking Protocol, that was adopted in the General Assembly of the United Nations, which has dramatically evolved since then.

Cooperation is now seen between governments, societies, crosssectors, and multi-stakeholders. However, it is unclear the effectiveness and impact this cooperation has made. More research needs to be done on how to measure and improve the cooperation, making it more of a collaborative approach where there’s sharing of information and working together to create better outcomes.

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What Can You Do Now?

1) Read the full article from our latest JoNI publication on refugees and migrants. 2) Read "What Refugees Need Most", 2) Then, find a nonprofit that focuses on 1 of the 3 areas this article addresses. 

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