Istanbul, Türkiye 9 November 2022 – Human trafficking in the context of armed conflict has received increased attention from the international community. Since 2015 the United Nations Security Council has worked to integrate the issue of human trafficking in conflict within post-conflict and rule of law responses.
Wanting to shine a further spotlight on human trafficking as a crime with a nexus to conflict/post-conflict situations, this year's theme for the GLO.ACT Women's Network Annual General Meeting, held in Istanbul from 8 to 9 November 2022, was "TIP in conflict and post-conflict situations, with a particular focus on women and girls."
Addressing the selection of the theme, Danilo Rizzi, Regional Representative of the Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, said, "The theme comes at a particularly relevant time, and it is important to give special consideration of trafficking in person in conflicts situations and post conflict situations, especially as it relates to women and girls who experience additional vulnerabilities."
Evidence indicates that people living in conflict-affected areas may experience abuse, violence and exploitation, including human trafficking. Women and girls, particularly those who are displaced, are disproportionately affected by trafficking for sexual exploitation, often combined with other forms of exploitation, such as forced and child marriage, forced labour and domestic servitude.
Launched to address the highly gendered nature of human trafficking and the serious underrepresentation of women working in rule of law institutions tasked with addressing the crime, the Women's Network has grown into an active community.
Serge Maraite, Head of Section Governance at the European Commission, told the participants, "It is encouraging to see GLO.ACT Women's Network is shaping up to be a powerful vehicle for change, one that is driven by its membership – women and men, responsive to the empowerment needs of women in the region.
The two-day meeting ensured that awareness of how human trafficking and conflict interrelate increased, which is essential to a more nuanced approach to human trafficking and human rights abuses in conflict and post-conflict situations. Participants were also able to share information and insights on the human trafficking and conflict/post-conflict nexus, focusing on challenges and effective approaches grounded in efforts to address the needs of survivors holistically. During the meeting, female practitioners and male gender champions working on countering human trafficking and migrant smugglings informally networked, reflected on key milestones achieved by the Network to date and provided feedback on gender training modules identified as a key delivered during the Network's previous Annual General Meeting.
Over 30 Network members and professionals from GLO.ACT partner countries attended the Annual General Meeting. UNODC and IOM supported the organization of the meeting in its role as the Network's Secretariat. The next Annual General Meeting will be held in Q4 of 2023.
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 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.
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