GLO.ACT holds first training for members of its women’s network on control methods of traffickers

Vienna, Austria - 16 December 2020 – The Women’s Network of Gender Champions against Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, launched in 2020 under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East), is an active community of female officials and male champions of women’s rights working in policy making, the justice sector, law enforcement, civil society and other relevant local entities. The network was constituted to help address the gendered nature of trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM), and grave underrepresentation of women working in and/or leading institutions responding to both human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

A key objective of the network is to provide professional training and coaching to its members who work on TIP and SOM cases and, during a consultation process to develop the network’s roadmap to action, members had identified the topic of control methods of traffickers as one of the priorities for substantive training.

GLO.ACT therefore organized a day two training on 16 and 21 December 2020 on control methods of traffickers. It is crucial to understand that success for traffickers only comes if they can control their victims, as by definition, a victim of trafficking does not consent to what is happening to them. Traffickers use different control methods depending on the individual victim, the type of trafficking, the stage of the trafficking process, the nature of the location, and opportunities presented by circumstances.

Welcoming 32 (19 female/13 male) participants to the first day of the workshop, Aimée Comrie, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, explained that in order for us to address the full scope of the crime, we need to actually understand it and identify victims as without knowing how complex and subtle this control can be, we risk failing to protect victims and bringing traffickers to justice. Meanwhile Craig Murphy, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, IOM said that, “IOM supports the training and mentoring of women in decision-making positions and policy development for the response to trafficking and smuggling, and in ensuring the protection of women and girls.”

Maria Chiara Piazza, Programme Manager, Forced Displacement and Migration European Commission referred to the new EU-Gender Action Plan (GAP III) as the latest EU policy development on gender. She explained that “stronger engagement on gender equality is key to a sustainable global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and building fairer, more inclusive, more prosperous societies.”

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • To clarify concepts of TIP and SOM and how they apply and intersect in practice using case studies;
  • To discuss indicators of TIP;
  • To explain and discuss control methods used by traffickers to keep victims in situations of exploitation as experienced in policing practice and as described in court judgments from around the world.

Providing the keynote address, Huma Chugtai, Chairperson of the Women’s Network took the opportunity to remind members that “we must be inclusive in our efforts to have successful outcomes in addressing TIP and SOM.”

During the substantive part of the workshop, UNODC colleagues administered an interactive pre-workshop survey, provided sessions on why terminology matters, delved into concepts of TIP and SOM illustrated through case studies, and outlined the differences between these phenomena and irregular migration. Martin Reeve, GLO.ACT Law Enforcement Adviser then conducted a highly interactive session on actual control methods by traffickers, involving the audience through the use of case studies and a case-based quiz. Day two of the training included a brief recap session, an extensive segment on observations from the courts with regards to control methods in trafficking and a session on psychological reactions of trafficking victims, illustrated with IOM’s experiences in providing direct assistance.

Upon conclusion of the first women’s network workshop, members were encouraged to engage in individual action planning and join informal/formal communication platforms. Following the network’s road map to action the next training for members will be facilitated during Q1, 2021. In total 43 people (24 female/19 male attended the workshop).

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in four countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Iraq and Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms.

This project is funded by the European Union.

To find out more about the Women’s Network, please check:

Further Information

GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East


UNODC and Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women