Abused and Neglected: UNODC study reveals violence suffered by migrants  

Brasilia, January 5, 2022 - A study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) demonstrated that illegal migrants are often victims of torture, rape, kidnapping and imprisonment in captivity.

Torture, rape, kidnapping, and imprisonment in captivity. These are the types of extreme violence to which migrants, who use human trafficking networks to flee their countries of origin, are often subjected. Despite the seriousness of these crimes, little action is taken by the authorities to curb them. In some cases, national public officials are even complicit in the abuses.

These are the conclusions of a study released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report "Abused and Neglected" analyzes interviews conducted over the past three years with migrants, traffickers and experts in the field to determine the different types of violence inflicted on men and women, and to present the motivations that lead to abuse during migration routes.

The interviews, conducted mainly on transit routes in West and North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and Central America, found that violence is used by traffickers or other aggressors as a form of punishment, intimidation, or coercion, and often for no apparent reason.

Gender - According to the research coordinator, Morgane Nicot, migrant men are subjected to forced labor and physical violence, while women are more exposed to sexual crimes, leading to unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

However, for her, everyone is at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment, and there is little evidence that these crimes lead to investigations in the places where they are committed-especially in transit countries.

Among the reasons for neglect is the fear that some migrants feel of being treated as criminals for being in an irregular situation. In an interview, others reported that they fear punishment for having committed acts that are considered illegal in some countries, such as abortion, sexual relations outside of marriage, or same-sex relations.

Nicot explained that there are also reports of migrants who do not seek out the authorities because the perpetrators are public officials, often involved in the trafficking operation. "These officials include border guards, police officers, and employees working in detention centers," she clarifies.

Little information - While there are statistics on deaths at sea, in deserts or suffocated in containers, little data reveals the real reasons for the violence and abuse to which migrants are subjected and the impact on them.

Another "blind spot" in the issue is information about how the authorities deal with the issue. According to Nicot, this was the main reason for the investigation conducted by UNODC. The report is also dedicated to examining how law enforcement responds to cases of human trafficking and highlights the difficulties authorities face in prosecuting these crimes.

For criminal justice practitioners and governments, the study offers guidelines on how to investigate and prosecute international cases of violence and abuse, taking into account women's safety and rights violations.

Trafficking - Migrant smuggling is a criminal activity consisting of paying illegal organizations to smuggle vulnerable people across borders. The victims often wish to leave their home countries but are unable to access the legal means to do so.

Migrants may be fleeing a natural disaster, conflict, persecution, or gender-based violence. Others are motivated by employment opportunities, education, or seeking to reunite with their families.

Through a series of international protocols, the UN and its member states recognize the need to assist and protect trafficked migrants and not treat them as criminals because of their involvement in the act of irregular crossing.


To learn more: http://www.agenda2030.com.br/  

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