Baghdad — World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is observed every year on 30 July to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.” The United Nations Network on Migration in Iraq joins the global call to end the scourge of trafficking in persons (TiP).
This year’s theme — Victims’ Voices Lead the Way — highlights the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. Survivors are key actors in the fight against human trafficking. As such, they play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, identify and rescue victims and support them on their road to rehabilitation.
Two important reports released this year provide an overview of the global scale of the problem. The latest UNODC Global Trafficking in Persons report underscores the fact that victims are targeted when they are vulnerable or marginalized, while the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report notes that the COVID- 19 pandemic created conditions “that increased the number of people who experienced vulnerabilities to human trafficking and interrupted existing and planned anti-trafficking interventions”, as governments around the world diverted increasingly stretched resources towards the public health crisis.
As the extent of COVID-19’s impact on the global economy is revealed, rising unemployment rates are likely to lead to an increase in instances of trafficking as vulnerable individuals get targeted for forced labour.
The State Department report classified Iraq as a Tier 2 Country – one that is making significant efforts to comply with the standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 — and recommended measures to:
- Ensure trafficking victims are not punished for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit.
- Protect victims from re-traumatization during trial.
- Amend the anti-trafficking law to ensure that a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion is not required to constitute a child sex trafficking offense.
- Significantly increase access to adequate protection services for victims of all forms of trafficking and their children.
- Prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers by all armed groups and provide appropriate protection services to demobilized child soldiers.
The report also highlighted successes, including the Government of Iraq’s efforts to convict more traffickers and bolster the Ministry of Interior’s anti-trafficking directorate with additional funding and staff; and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s establishment of specialized anti-trafficking police units in each of its governates.
“The UN Network on Migration supports the international community’s overall efforts towards the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM),” said Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, and Resident Coordinator. “Under the GCM, which is the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement covering all dimensions of international migration, Objective 10 focuses specifically on prevention and eradication of trafficking in persons. The Network will continue to support and encourage all progress towards this objective in Iraq.”
In recent years the Government of Iraq has made important strides towards improving its migration policy framework, notably through the development of a National Migration Strategy that sets out recommendations to address areas of migration policy and governance that are lacking. Strong policies, victim-centred approaches and institutionalised victim protection measures will be vital in the fight against trafficking in persons.
The Network in Iraq is coordinated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and counts the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the World Food Programme (WFP); the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the UN Population Fund (UNFPA); the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS); the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF); and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as members. It will meet regularly with representatives from the Government of Iraq.
For more information, please contact the Network secretariat via firstname.lastname@example.org