First published in May 2019; additions related to the private sector published in July 2021
This module is a resource for lecturers
This section contains material that is meant to support lecturers and provide ideas for interactive discussions and case-based analysis of the topic under consideration.
Exercise 1: Introductory exercise
Commence this Module with an open discussion on the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the fight against trafficking in persons based on the following questions and supplemented by others deemed appropriate by the lecturer.
- Is the participation of CSOs in the fight against trafficking important and why?
- What roles are CSOs better qualified to play compared with the State?
- What are examples of CSOs working against trafficking in your country? Based on what you know about their activities, how effective are they?
- How are CSOs funded? Do you consider the mechanisms of funding a relevant factor in evaluating their roles and contributions and why?
- Are members of the public part of civil society? How can we individually contribute to the fight against trafficking? Are our individual contributions relevant?
The lecturer should include in the debate the fact that CSOs may have their own agendas, power dynamics and or political bias.
Exercise 2: Collaboration between the Government and NGOs
Students are to develop a hypothetical partnership between the Government and an NGO to provide shelter to large groups of victims of trafficking. This solution would seek to address situations in which law enforcement carry out raids to locations where several trafficked persons are found. Students should be asked to prepare a list of subjects and questions that should be addressed in negotiating a partnership agreement between Government organizations and the NGO. The outcome of the exercise should then be compared with Box 2.
Exercise 3: A code of conduct for NGOs working in the field of trafficking in persons
According to the Arab Model Law on the Establishment and Operation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) developed by The Protection Project in May 2014, an NGO shall:
- "Seek to achieve its specific purposes through peaceful and democratic means within the boundaries of this Law;
- Ensure that its resources are effectively used for the intended purposes;
- Commit to transparency, accountability, and openness in all its operations and activities;
- Observe the fundamental human rights of all its members as well as members of the society;
- Apply the principle of non-discrimination, i.e. equal treatment regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status; in particular non-discrimination of indigenous peoples; persons with disabilities; persons belonging to minority groups or other groups at risk; and non-nationals, including stateless persons, refugees, and migrants;
- Enjoy legal, administrative, and financial independence and freedom from undue interference into its operations and activities by the government."
Based upon the above principles, design a code of conduct for NGOs working in one sector (prevention, protection or prosecution) of the field of combating trafficking in persons.
Exercise 4: Media and trafficking in persons
Students are to research media campaigns aimed at countering trafficking. In class, they should present those that they deemed more striking and those considered less effective, explaining their reasons. For more on media campaigns, see Module 7 on Prevention of Trafficking in Persons.
Exercise 5: Airlines engaged in combating trafficking in persons
Airlines Urged to Step Up Fight Against Human Trafficking
"CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - Airlines are being urged to train more flight attendants to help prevent human trafficking, placing cabin crew on the front line of the fight against sexual exploitation and slavery. Airline leaders meeting in Mexico will be briefed by the United Nations agency responsible for tackling the largely hidden crime, which the United Nations says nets smugglers $150 billion profit a year. "We want ... airlines to join our campaigns and our initiatives in order to make human trafficking and migrant smuggling visible," Felipe De La Torre of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters ahead of the June 4-6 meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to the International Labour Organization, almost 21 million people are in forced labour, meaning three out of every 1,000 people on the planet are enslaved at any given time. In a case that sprang to public attention in February, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant helped rescue a teenage girl from alleged trafficking onboard a domestic U.S. flight in 2011 by leaving her a note in the toilet. Shelia Frederick told NBC TV her suspicions had been aroused by the girl's dishevelled appearance compared to the smart clothes and controlling attitude of her older male companion. The pilot alerted police who arrested the man on arrival.
More than 70,000 U.S. airline staff have been trained to identify smugglers and their victims in that way under the Blue Lightning initiative, launched in 2013 with the support of JetBlue, Delta Air Lines and others. Such training has since become mandatory. But Nancy Rivard, a former flight attendant hailed as a pioneer of such training, said the U.S. federal program is poorly funded and that the majority of foreign airlines are barely starting to focus on the problem. "This exists in every country in the world. There is room for improvement but at least we are beginning to make changes," Rivard, founder of Airline Ambassadors International, said. "Current online training does not go far enough," she added.
Reuters, Airlines urged to step up fight against human trafficking (5 June 2017)
Airlines Launch Initiative to Stem $32bn Human Trafficking Trade
"Amid modern day slavery playing out in Libya and other places in which over 20,000 Nigerians are currently trapped, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it had received the approval of its airline members to launch an initiative that will enable the airline industry to support government initiatives in tackling the problem.
The group described it as a $32 billion a year transnational enterprise and, according to the US State Department, it is the fastest growing crime.
As a result, the association, Airports Council International (ACI), and other aviation industry partners will launch a human trafficking awareness campaign during next year's first quarter, IATA Assistant Director for External Affairs, Tim Colehan, told New Telegraph at the association's annual media day recently. Key indicators of human trafficking include passengers not in control of their own travel documents, acting frightened or nervous, rehearsed or inconsistent stories or uncertainty about their destinations.
At June's IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Sydney, Australia, the association had committed to proposing a resolution for member airlines to commit "to denounce this horrendous crime, and do what we can do to assist in the fight." Unknown to many travellers, the planes they fly on could be vehicles for human trafficking. Traffickers can hide in plain sight, as long as people don't know how to find them.
Human trafficking has been a menace in Nigeria. Over the years, this menace has been the challenge of many families and countries as thousands of men, women and children fall prey to traffickers promising a better life somewhere far from home. Nigerian women and children are subjected to forced prostitution throughout Europe. The country is described as a transit point for West African children subjected to forced labour in the country's granite mines and children and women subjected to sex trafficking.
A report stated that Nigerian women and girls were subjected to forced prostitution throughout Europe. Nigerian women and children are also recruited and transported to destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, where they are held captive in the sex trade or in forced labour. Nigerian gangs subject large numbers of Nigerian women to forced prostitution in the Czech Republic and Italy.
Colehan lamented that the extent of the crime is truly appalling, adding that the last estimates from the International Labour Organisation are that 25 million people are trafficked annually, saying that, "this is more than the population of Australia." According to him, "it is a $32 billion a year transnational enterprise and according to the US State Department, it is the fastest growing crime." He stated that governments and law enforcement agencies had the responsibility to identify, apprehend and prosecute those involved in trafficking.
He chided airlines, saying the air services, which deliver so many social and economic benefits could also be misused by traffickers as a means of transporting victims. "Human trafficking can happen in plain sight. Many of you flew to Geneva for this meeting. Could someone sat next to you or few rows back be the victim of human trafficking? How could you tell? Spotting the signs of potential trafficking situations will only be visible to those trained to have their eyes open to see it." Colehan disclosed that there was also growing awareness that customer-facing staff at airlines and airports can play a role in supporting law enforcement by being trained to identify the signs of potential trafficking and reporting their suspicions. "Governments and law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to identify, apprehend and prosecute those involved in trafficking," Colehan emphasized. "But it is an issue for airlines because the air services can be misused as a means of transporting victims. Human trafficking can happen in plain sight," he added. Over 70,000 U.S. airline staff have been trained to identify smugglers and their victims in that way under the Blue Lightning initiative, launched in 2013 with the support of JetBlue, Delta Air Lines and others.
New Telegraph, Airlines launch initiative to stem $32bn human trafficking trade (12 December 2017)
Proposed question for discussion
You have been chosen as an advisor for the airlines industry on ways and means of engaging airlines in the fight against human trafficking. What recommendations would you make to engage the airline industry in the fight against human trafficking and what measures do you consider important in training airline staff to address trafficking in persons?
Exercise 6: The role of corporations in combating child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism
Child sex tourism and exploitation are on the rise. Companies can help fight it
As night falls in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, the city's colourful environment transforms into a playground after dark. Among the lively scenes of restaurants, bars, dance floors, music, and all night parties, one of the city's darkest secrets is hidden: its proliferating sex tourism industry.
All along the historic wall of the city, prostitutes wait patiently in their usual spots, traffickers make deals in night alleys, and locals say you can buy anything or anyone if you can pay for it. These transactions often involve sex with minors.
Sex tourism is increasing worldwide but its rise has been particularly high in Latin American countries. Tourism destinations such as Rio in Brazil, Cancun in Mexico, and beaches in Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras are often attractive to tourists not only for their climate, nature and culture but also for their cheap and easy access to sex. Major sports events, bachelor parties, business conferences, forums and other events involving mostly men are regularly associated with a demand for sexual services.
While the legislation on prostitution varies from one country to the other, the growing demand for sexual services has propelled a sex industry that operates largely in the shadows and uses coercive methods to force people into prostitution. Victims are mostly women and children, while indigenous people, migrants and LGBT individuals are particularly vulnerable. The conditions of poverty, discrimination, violence, low levels of education, illegal immigration, and lack of law enforcement in these countries allow traffickers to operate and expand their businesses.
Even though in recent years Latin American countries have made significant efforts to combat sexual exploitation, including passing anti-slavery laws, granting resources for special programmes and creating partnerships with NGOs, the problem is still present and it endangers thousands of lives. According to the US State Department 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, the majority of countries in Latin America do not fully satisfy the standards for combating this crime.
The proliferation of sex trafficking and child sex tourism in Latin America is harmful and dangerous not only to its victims but to the entire region as it weakens the state of law, endangers the lives of their citizens, threatens the safety of the businesses, and compromises the countries' economic and social development. Therefore, it is imperative that all sectors of society take immediate measures to eradicate it. National and local governments are at the core of these efforts; nevertheless, the private sector has an important role to play in combating the crime.
Most of the actions taken by companies in the fight against human trafficking have been directed towards philanthropic donations or in training their employees to recognize victims, denounce the crime, and cooperate with the authorities.
While these are important advances in the subject, much remains to be done in the matter of acknowledging companies' employees, directors and stakeholders, as consumers for sex services that are, in some cases, illicit. The recent movements against sexual harassment and sexual abuse have thrown to light a system that allows the abuse of power to remain in impunity to protect private interests. This is even worse when the victim is living in a situation of exploitation, is a child, or has no access to justice.
The corporate culture that has allowed, or in some cases encouraged, the view of certain humans as sexual objects, or tradeable goods, has to change. This will benefit the company's image, internal relationships and operations, and will create a greater good for all society. Here are six actions that companies can take internally to fight against child sex tourism and sexual exploitation:
- Information. Raise awareness and develop specific training programs on the dangers of sex trafficking and sex with minors, brief employees about prostitution legislation in different countries, when they take business trips abroad.
- Accountability. In sex tourism, the perpetrator tends to be a foreigner who leaves the country after committing the crime. This represents a major difficulty for the investigation and the prosecution. While countries' legislation is restricted by their national borders, companies can cooperate with the investigation, share key information and make employees accountable internally for sexual misconduct, even if the crime was not committed in the employee's home country.
- Corporate policies. Require signed statements in which the employee has to state that he/she has not knowingly engaged in the sexual exploitation of children.
- Track transactions. While this is mostly done by companies in the financial sector, any company that provides their employees with a corporate bank account can track down anomalous patterns of transactions made at certain hours of the night, or for large amounts of money.
- Partnerships. Cooperate with authorities, NGOs, institutions and individuals working against sex trafficking. Create spaces for dialogue to share anti-trafficking strategies and practices.
- Support survivors. Rescued victims of trafficking tend to fall back into prostitution and other illicit activities because they suffer from discrimination and they are excluded from society. Companies can create special programmes for supporting trafficking victims, giving them traineeships and jobs and help them reintegrate into society.
It is commonly thought that a company only addresses the sexual misconduct of their employees, directors or stakeholders when it causes a scandal that threatens the company's reputation. But - as the demand for sex tourism increases, and a large proportion of children grow up in poverty and violence where they are easy prey for traffickers - Latin America is jeopardising its own future. This is why companies with business in the region have to take immediate action. Corporate culture has to change before the next sexual scandal, not after.
World Economic Forum, Child sex tourism and exploitation are on the rise. Companies can help fight it (9 March 2018)
Read the above news article and identify corporations in your country that are engaged in the fight against child sex trafficking and sex tourism. Discuss any good practices that you may share with your fellow students.
Exercise 7: The hotel industry
Hotels are Key in the Fight to End Human Trafficking
"As the ski season ramps up in Beaver Creek, Colorado, about 120 seasonal employees at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch gathered inside a series of upscale meeting rooms for onboarding training. The agenda covered hotel rules and expectations, tours of the building, and good customer service. Oh - and how to spot a slave, too. "If a guest pays in cash or requests a room with access to an exit, that's a red flag," said Ritz-Carlton team trainer Wendy Hunter, pacing in front of a small group of employees. Behind her stood a large screen showing an image of a young girl and a list of signs of human trafficking that she ticked off. Does a guest speak for another person in their party? Or seem too protective of them? Maybe he lingers outside their room for long periods of time? That's the time to speak up, Hunter said. The Ritz-Carlton hotel, located in the posh area of Beaver Creek where room rates hit $480 to $700 per night, is not necessarily the first place you'd think human traffickers would hang out. But hotels and motels are prime locations for people to be trafficked, and the Ritz-Carlton isn't immune. "It's not just low-end hotels - this problem is endemic," says Philadelphia attorney Charles Spitz, who follows the issue as the leader of the hospitality practice at Post & Schell PC.
Modern-day slavery is far more pervasive than you'd think. Some estimates project that 24.9 million people worldwide are victims of labour and sex trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization. Hunter told the story of a family who rented a condo, and the resort's staff discovered that they had enslaved a foreign couple to do their cleaning and other chores. "They wore the same clothes day in and out and looked malnourished."
Hotels like Marriott International, which owns the Ritz-Carlton brand, have good reason to address the problem. Human trafficking is a hot-button issue that can cost money and destroy corporate reputations. "In this climate of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, it's on the minds of everyone I talk to in the hospitality industry," says Spitz, "because nobody wants to be known as the hotel where trafficking occurs." A 14-year-old victim of trafficking filed a suit earlier this year against the Roosevelt Inn in Philadelphia for allegedly turning a blind eye while she was sex trafficked. That set off a chain of other suits: In Houston this spring, a mother sued the Plainfield Inn, alleging the motel knew her 21-year-old daughter had been trafficked there for two years before showing up dead less than 10 miles away. And there are four more lawsuits by victims who are accusing America's Best Value Inn in Salisbury, Maryland, of knowing that they had been held there against their will and were forced to perform sex acts with men - reviewers on travel websites even complained of the prostitution there. Airlines are also on the lookout: Delta Airlines posted a story in its in-flight magazine, touting its own training of 54,000 employees and encouraging frequent fliers to donate miles to victims who need to fly home or get to legal proceedings.
Anti-trafficking billboards are popping up in airports and truck stops, the FBI is receiving training on interview techniques for trafficking cases, and lawmakers are taking notice. A Pennsylvania statute now carves out civil liability to hotels, and dozens of states have already passed laws to fight human trafficking. The state of Connecticut passed a law requiring hotels and motels to train employees to identify potential trafficking situations. Training programs could also protect a hotel if they are sued, says Spitz, because they can go to a jury claiming they had a plan and took steps to prevent trafficking. Last year, Marriott hired its first human rights director, Tu Rinsche, who created mandatory human-trafficking awareness training for all 678,000 people who wear the Marriott badge, to include the Moxy, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Courtyard. In the first six months, the company trained more than 100,000 people.
Marriott International wouldn't say how much it is spending on this effort, but they did offer an undisclosed grant to ECPAT-USA, a nonprofit that seeks to end sexual exploitation of children, which embedded people inside Marriott International's offices to collaborate on the training program. Marriott has since provided its training for free to the state of Connecticut and to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The Washington-based non-profit Polaris Project, which operates a hotline for suspected cases of trafficking, documented 1,434 cases inside hotels and motels between 2007 and 2015 and identified 1,867 victims. Only 22% of the calls of cases in hotels and motels were made by victims. "We need to look behind the trespassing, loitering, and domestic abuse calls to see people hiding in plain sight, and business has a significant role to play," says John Richmond, founding director of The Human Trafficking Institute, which is combatting modern-day slavery and trains FBI agents on interview questions for such cases.
So does training bellhops, front desk people, and housekeepers actually help? In general, yes, says Brad Myles, president of the Polaris Project. Hotels stake a lot of faith on their employees to run questionable activity up the food chain. "It's part of the process of getting the hotel to be eyes open about what can happen, but it's not a slam dunk," he says. The more legitimate businesses, such as banks, hotels - even Airbnb hosts - can block traffickers from surfing on their assets, the more at risk traffickers will become, says Myles. Airbnb has partnered with Polaris to educate its hosts about trafficking as well. Most efforts under way, however, may still not be enough to stamp out the problem, warns Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, an anti-trafficking expert and author of the book, Hidden in Plain Sight: America's Slaves of the New Millennium. Very few of the perpetrators are prosecuted. Even worse, the victims are criminalized for such charges as prostitution. Even if a person is rescued, there aren't enough services to address their need for trauma counselling, housing, or employment. While employee training is a good thing, Mehlman-Orozco says, empirical research must be done to analyse outcomes and the contents of the training programs. Right now, there's no evidence to know which trainings, if any, result in a significant increase in identifying human trafficking incidents. "Much less, we don't know the outcomes of suspected cases," she says.
Rische at Marriott International says that in the first three months of rolling out training, two reported cases of human trafficking were brought to hotel management's attention and led directly to the rescuing of victims. "It's been very impactful," she says. The topic engrossed new employees at the Ritz-Carlton during the recent onboarding session. They quizzed Hunter on a range of topics. What if a manager isn't available? Do we interview them if we're suspicious? Should we snap pictures if we're suspicious? "Absolutely not," Hunter said in response to photos. She emphasized safety for guests and employees until the police can investigate. Her advice was basic: Trust your gut, tell a manager, don't alert suspicion or try to handle a situation on your own. "It's up to you to say something to a manager - even if you don't know for sure."
Many of those Ritz-Carlton employees will go through a second, more in-depth training session depending on their department during their first month on the job. Specific training for housekeepers, for instance, would include such warning signs as a guest asking them to change the sheets multiple times in a day, and if there are several condoms in the trash. The balance for hotel companies like Marriott International is respecting guest privacy and staying diligent. "If they've been in for three days, we have to check on them," Hunter told new employees. Rinsche, who worked directly with former slaves in the Peace Corps in Mauritania about 15 years ago, said that kind of awareness is critical to fighting trafficking. "Our businesses are being exploited," she says, "and there is a positive role we can play on an ugly issue."
Fast Company, Hotels Are Key In The Fight To End Human Trafficking (21 December 2017)
Design an action plan for the hotel industry detailing the measures they could adopt to combat human trafficking.
Exercise 8: A survivor story
The following exercise looks at the story of a survivor of trafficking, Nadia Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. The Box below is from an article in The Guardian, written by Ms Murad.
I was an Isis sex slave. I tell my story because it is the best weapon I have
"The slave market opened at night. We could hear the commotion downstairs where militants were registering and organising, and when the first man entered the room, all the girls started screaming. It was like the scene of an explosion. We moaned as though wounded, doubling over and vomiting on the floor, but none of it stopped the militants. They paced around the room, staring at us, while we screamed and begged. They gravitated toward the most beautiful girls first, asking, "How old are you?" and examining their hair and mouths. "They are virgins, right?" they asked a guard, who nodded and said, "Of course!" like a shopkeeper taking pride in his product. Now the militants touched us anywhere they wanted, running their hands over our breasts and our legs, as if we were animals.
It was chaos while the militants paced the room, scanning girls and asking questions in Arabic or the Turkmen language.
"Calm down!" militants kept shouting at us. "Be quiet!" But their orders only made us scream louder. If it was inevitable that a militant would take me, I wouldn't make it easy for him. I howled and screamed, slapping away hands that reached out to grope me. Other girls were doing the same, curling their bodies into balls on the floor or throwing themselves across their sisters and friends to try to protect them.
While I lay there, another militant stopped in front of us. He was a high-ranking militant named Salwan who had come with another girl, another young Yazidi from Hardan, who he planned to drop off at the house while he shopped for her replacement. "Stand up," he said. When I didn't, he kicked me. "You! The girl with the pink jacket! I said, stand up!"
His eyes were sunk deep into the flesh of his wide face, which seemed to be nearly entirely covered in hair. He didn't look like a man - he looked like a monster.
Attacking Sinjar [in northern Iraq] and taking girls to use as sex slaves wasn't a spontaneous decision made on the battlefield by a greedy soldier. Islamic State planned it all: how they would come into our homes, what made a girl more or less valuable, which militants deserved a sabaya [sex slave] as incentive and which should pay. They even discussed sabaya in their glossy propaganda magazine, Dabiq, in an attempt to draw new recruits. But Isis is not as original as its members think it is. Rape has been used throughout history as a weapon of war. I never thought I would have something in common with women in Rwanda - before all this, I didn't know that a country called Rwanda existed - and now I am linked to them in the worst possible way, as a victim of a war crime that is so hard to talk about that no one in the world was prosecuted for committing it until just 16 years before Isis came to Sinjar.
On the lower floor, a militant was registering the transactions in a book, writing down our names and the names of the militants who took us. I thought about being taken by Salwan, how strong he looked and how easily he could crush me with his bare hands. No matter what he did, and no matter how much I resisted, I would never be able to fight him off. He smelled of rotten eggs and cologne.
I was looking at the floor, at the feet and ankles of the militants and girls who walked by me. In the crowd, I saw a pair of men's sandals and ankles that were skinny, almost womanly, and before I could think about what I was doing, I flung myself toward those feet. I started begging. "Please, take me with you," I said. "Do whatever you want, I just can't go with this giant." I don't know why the thin guy agreed, but taking one look at me, he turned to Salwan and said, "She's mine." Salwan didn't argue. The skinny man was a judge in Mosul, and no one disobeyed him. I followed the thin man to the desk. "What's your name?" he asked me. He spoke in a soft but unkind voice. "Nadia," I said, and he turned to the registrar. The man seemed to recognise the militant right away and began recording our information. He said our names as he wrote them down - "Nadia, Hajji Salman" - and when he spoke the name of my captor, I thought I heard his voice waver a bit, as if he were scared, and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake."
Nadia Murad eventually escaped her Isis captors. She was smuggled out of Iraq and in early 2015 went as a refugee to Germany. Later that year she began to campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Nadia Murad. The Guardian (2018)
Reflect on Nadia Murad's story and describe how survivors of trafficking, as members of civil society, can contribute to anti-trafficking efforts.
Additional exercise 1
This exercise engages the students in the concept of complicity and more specifically, business complicity in human trafficking.
Students should discuss a business’ real and perceived complicity in the trafficking in persons within different contexts, such as different sectors, geographies etc. The definition of complicity is ‘knowingly providing practical assistance or encouragement’. Bearing this in mind, students should discuss if businesses are complicit of human trafficking through:
- Simply being present in a country.
- Not causing trafficking but remaining silent amidst such concerns.
- Not causing trafficking but gaining benefit from the crime.
- Not causing trafficking but should have known.
Students should also discuss whether businesses remediate human trafficking within their sector or supply chain by ‘doing good’ in other circumstances?
Additional exercise 2
You are the Head of Sustainability at a multinational company who views human trafficking as a significant risk to your company. You would like to collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies and governments to address the risk and have been tasked with creating a PPP with the relevant public agencies. Your task is to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to outline how this PPP will be structured, function and go about tackling human trafficking.
Additional home exercise 3
In your own time, watch the video on ‘Bankrupting the Business of Human Trafficking’ and discuss with your group.
Additional exercise 4
PhotoDNA is only one example of how technology can be used for good to address human trafficking. As a software developer, you have been asked to create an innovative and technological solution to human trafficking. This solution will then be bought and used by a global company. Work with your group to create the technological solution.
Next: Possible class structure
Back to top