Vienna, Austria – 10 March 2022 – We know that human trafficking is a heinous crime that shatters lives, families, and dreams. Many migrants experience violence, exploitation, and abuse during and after their migratory journey. Timely and effective assistance to trafficked persons, smuggled migrants in need and people on the move in vulnerable situations is thus critical to ensure their recovery and sustainable reintegration.
Flagged as a priority topic by members of the GLO.ACT Women's Network themselves during the Network's first Annual General Meeting in November 2021, GLO.ACT organized from 8 and 9 March 2022 a substantive workshop on Shelter and Sustainable Reintegration for Victims of Trafficking and Vulnerable Migrants: Victim Assistance Through Survivor Empowerment.
Addressing current members of the Women's Network, along with selected practitioners from GLO.ACT partner countries who previously participated in activities of the Network or have been invited to join this workshop, Dr Ibtisam Aziz, Chairperson of the Women's Network, stressed that activities implemented under the Network aim to facilitate mutual learning and understanding within the Network and beyond.
Leading on workshop facilitation, Andria Kenney, Protection Division, IOM, explained, "This workshop is designed with two goals in mind. To strengthen everyone's understanding of the concepts of comprehensive assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants and to explore together how to put the principles of assistance into action, looking at access to safe shelter, specialized assistance and sustainable reintegration."
Meanwhile, Dima Haddad, interim Counter-Trafficking Specialist at IOM’s HQ Protection Division, and co-workshop facilitator, emphasized that although reintegration is a process taking place in different return contexts, the goal of specialised and tailored assistance is to foster sustainable reintegration.
The workshop's content covered topics such as the consequences of the trafficking experience on victims, the complicated realities faced by many victims such as parallel criminal charges or sustained control by their trafficker; case management approaches and principles of assistance, the social-ecological model and what an integrated approach to reintegration really means. Women's Network members and selected practitioners from GLO.ACT partner countries also worked in groups to discuss access to shelter or safe accommodation, specialized services or how to cope with a lack thereof, and identifying sustainable solutions in practice.
Group work allowed participants to reflect on why it is essential for trafficking victims and vulnerable migrants to access a safe place and what barriers may exist. Another group focused on how shelter and specialized services can support recovery and the obstacles to providing such support in each participant's country context. Focusing on how we can leverage partnerships at the local level to foster social inclusion of victims and vulnerable migrants into their communities of choice was another topic addressed by attendees.
Concluding the workshop, Huma Chughtai, Vice-Chair of the Network's Advisory Board, said, "I thank you all for your participation in this important workshop. Throughout the workshop, your engagements and contributions were testaments to how important it is to strengthen our collective knowledge on shelters and sustainable reintegration. A fantastic way to kick off our Women's Network activities for 2022."
31 (26 female, 5 male) Women's Network members and practitioners from GLO.ACT countries participated in 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 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.
For more information about the network, please contact:
Note: The image displayed was drawn by a trafficking survivor. Image provided by IOM.