World Day Against Trafficking – IOM: Necessary to keep attention high on the phenomenon along diversified routes
Rome, 30 July 2019 – Today, 30th July, is World Day Against Trafficking, one of the most serious transnational crimes in the world and one of the most complex human rights-related challenges of our times.
“Human trafficking is a crime disrupting the lives of thousands of people and causing unimaginable sufferings,” underlines Federico Soda, Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. “It is an issue we have been dealing with for years through protection activities, prevention and collaboration with authorities mobilized to counter organized crime”.
Over the years, IOM has conducted several activities in Italy in order to protect victims arriving by sea and it has supported several actors involved in the fight against the phenomenon following a multi-agency and multi-level approach, in collaboration with prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, ministries and all other actors involved in the management of migration flows and in counter-trafficking. IOM's commitment has been recently recognized also by the United States Department of State that has decided to honour with the title “Trafficking in Person Hero 2019” IOM Italy’s Roseline Eguabor, who has been invited in Washington by leading American institutions active in the fight against human trafficking.
The recent decrease in sea arrivals has certainly led to a decrease in arrivals of victims of human trafficking across the central Mediterranean route, but this does not mean that the phenomenon is less significant. Many victims of trafficking are likely to be stranded in Libya, a country where it is even more difficult to protect girls trafficked from their countries of origin and they are often forced into prostitution. Moreover, many migrants and refugees in Italy are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking or serious exploitation due to lack of access to regular work permits and to socio-occupational integration pathways.
There is also a concrete fear that many victims are being taken to Europe through alternative routes to the sea crossing.
As it happened in the past, if a route becomes complicated traffickers will be likely to seek alternatives and it is to be suspected that many girls are being brought to Europe in a less visible but equally effective way than landings.
“Human trafficking is unfortunately an ever-present phenomenon following diversified routes,” commented Soda, “it is therefore necessary to keep attention high on a phenomenon that continues to exist and to counter it through victim identification activities on the ground and by fighting criminal organizations taking advantage of this terrible business. Hence, it remains strategically important to continue working on protection mechanisms that make this crime visible and lead to an effective repression of the phenomenon.”
Faced with a phenomenon that has existed for many years and makes use of an extremely complex and effective organizational capacity at the international level, IOM also underlines the need to promote a deeper reflection on the market these girls are destined to and the ever-present demand for paid sexual services.
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