Comprehensive institutional and non-governmental responses to trafficking in human beings (THB) are designed based on the “4Ps Approach” -Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership. Collaboration, exchange of knowledge and international standard-setting are at the heart of the success of any institutional response, making peer-to-peer expert facilities like MIEUX invaluable in implementing commitments expressed in international, regional, bilateral and national legislation, strategies and policies.
The importance of a coordinated and multi-agency response by institutions to counter trafficking is increasingly evident as more is understood about the role of vulnerability in contributing to risks of trafficking, as well as trafficking trends in general within mixed-migration flows. Migrants’ vulnerabilities, in some cases due to their irregular status and debts incurred during their migration journey, lead to risks of trafficking for the purposes of labour or sexual exploitation.
ICMPD and anti-trafficking
As our colleagues at the ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme have noted, in the context of mixed migration flows, policymakers and operational staff are struggling to provide victims with the support they are entitled to. Institutional responses that balance activities such as law enforcement, prevention and prosecution with a victim-centred protection and assistance regime are more likely to succeed at meeting the support needs of trafficked people.
The activities that took place the last week of April for the MIEUX Actions in Ghana, Timor-Leste and Thailand are intended to result in operational policy documents and tools that will be used by government officials as part of their everyday tasks: a training module, a handbook and a series of brochures, all focusing on different angles within the 4P Approach to fight against human trafficking.
It is through these small steps, in close coordination with ongoing initiatives, plans of action, and regional and international legal and policy frameworks, that institutions can design targeted responses to combat trafficking.
As an organisation, ICMPD supports governments and other actors in designing responses through several initiatives. From delivering capacity-building to national government staff to conducting cutting-edge research on the trafficking phenomenon, participating in standard-setting international forums on anti-trafficking, such as the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT), and collaborating with the Ethical Journalism Network to produce reporting guidelines on trafficking, ICMPD continues to support policy-makers, frontline service providers, the general public and the media to improve their knowledge about definitions, trends and responses to trafficking.
Reflecting on the multidimensional nature of THB, Elisa Trossero, Head of Anti-Trafficking Programme at ICMPD stated, “At the international level, there is a clear trend towards addressing trafficking in persons as part of a wider set of issues within migration management, international protection, labour law and security frameworks. This is evident in initiatives such as the Global Compact for Migration and the SDG Targets. ICMPD’s Anti-Trafficking Programme, therefore, strives to support states in incorporating anti-trafficking into these areas. This means supporting the development of anti-trafficking policies that are based on robust evidence, empowering multiple stakeholders in government and non-governmental sectors to play a meaningful role, and mainstreaming the rights of trafficked people into every stage of the anti-trafficking response.”
In the context of MIEUX, these activities are part of ongoing Actions providing support to the Governments of Ghana, Timor-Leste, and Thailand, all of which have requested our support on multiple occasions.
How do these Actions relate to current trends in trafficking, migration and mobility?
In the case of Ghana, as a West African country, it is part of a sub-regional Free Movement Area spanning the 15 Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and is a primary region of action for international cooperation on migration governance. Practitioners, academics and Governments are all interested in understanding the forms and incidence of trafficking, profiles of trafficked children and adults, and general migratory trends, in a context where both trafficking and migration are mostly domestic and intra-regional. This MIEUX Action is, in fact, part of ongoing efforts under the FMM West Africa Project and the Rabat Process.
In the case of Timor-Leste and Thailand, as highlighted in the MIEUX “Asia Regional Factsheet”, the issue of THB and labour and sexual exploitation in general, is of primary concern for the region. MIEUX has designed a range of interventions on some of the most pressing issues at the global level, namely, data collection on trafficking; improvement of cooperation between multidisciplinary teams working on anti-trafficking at various levels in government; and complementing ongoing regional dialogues on migration and mobility. As reported during the Asia Regional Round-table in Bangkok, these Actions have contributed to positive developments in the protection of trafficked people.
Why this article?
Ghana, Timor-Leste and Thailand: three countries with very different migration profiles, but all facing challenges when it comes to combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (THB). During the last week of April, MIEUX organised three simultaneous activities part of respective Actions focused on anti-trafficking. To mark the occasion, we are featuring a three-part article showcasing these Actions as examples of what capacity-building activities can achieve in the fight against trafficking.