Vienna, Austria – 23 January 2023 – Climate change has compounding and devastating effects around the world. Over 3 billion people live in contexts highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. Given the ever-increasing effects of climate change, there will continue to be major consequences for migration including the mass displacement of people, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and creating new ones for millions. The fragility of natural environments and the adverse consequences of climate change increasingly push people worldwide to move from and across territories.
Flagged as a priority topic by members of the GLO.ACT Women's Network, given recent floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh and droughts in Iraq, on 10 January 2023 GLO.ACT facilitated a seminar on the nexus between climate change, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, pulling from the research and experiences while developing the policy brief Climate, Crime and Exploitation: The gendered links between climate-related risk, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
During the seminar, relevant experts drew from their own work and research followed by insights from the field, including current country responses. The objective of the seminar was to enhance knowledge and awareness of the effects of climate change on human trafficking and smuggling.
The online seminar featured experts Paul Clewett and Ritu Bharadwaj who, respectively, focused on environmental change and human trafficking in South-West Bangladesh and how climate change, distress migration and exploitation meet, looking at how to develop integrated approach in policy framing.
Both experts stressed the differences in between slow- and sudden-onset climate events and their varied consequences, particularly in conflict and post-conflict regions. Women and girls were identified as especially vulnerable to trafficking in persons and the associated forms of exploitation as they tend to have fewer opportunities for legal and safe employment and are targeted at higher rates for human trafficking.
Introducing an overview of policy and legal recommendations developed for the policy brief, Eurídice Marquez, GLO.ACT Programme Manager, set the stage to hear from UNODC and IOM field officers Mahdy Hassan, Shahida Gillani, and Orlane Mathieu-Maincent to present the current responses from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Libya and Niger.
The seminar will be followed by a workshop, allowing participants to share their personal and professional experiences, discuss more case studies, and collaborate on ideas to address the increasing intersectionality of the issues.
Over 50 GLO.ACT Women’s Network members and Network Secretariat staff joined the event.
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) 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 up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.
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. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.
The project is funded by the European Union.