On April 11-12, the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings held the annual Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference in its headquarters at the Hofburg in Vienna, to which UNODC was invited.
The Alliance is a broad international forum bringing together regional, international, and intergovernmental, as well as non-governmental organisations to jointly prevent and combat human trafficking.
On behalf of UNODC, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs John Brandolino delivered an introductory speech on 'Combating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced criminality' - the theme for this year's conference.
Mr Brandolino stated that UNODC's biennial Global Report on Trafficking in Persons for 2016 will closely monitor forced criminality, given that victims of trafficking are often forced to commit an array of crimes.
He also cited UNODC's Model Law on Trafficking in Persons, which includes forced criminality among the purposes of exploitation, along with the associated principle of non-punishment for crimes victims may have committed while in a trafficking situation.
UNODC's work, said Mr Brandolino, has even been referenced by Member States in cases convicting traffickers but acquitting victims for crimes they were forced to commit.
Mr Brandolino stressed the need for a collective response to the needs of trafficked persons and the importance of enacting the right strategies and policies to protect these people while ending impunity for traffickers. This call was echoed by many other conference participants.
The conference featured a wide variety of participants from various organisations and national governments drawn from across the OSCE region and beyond. They contributed a number of important practical experiences and recommendations at the four panels and three side events which took place, designed to cover various practical, legal, and policy approaches to combating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced criminality.
These recommendations ranged from including trafficking for forced criminality in national legal definitions and enhancing proactive identification and protection of victims of this type of crime, to the need to boost transnational cooperation to end the impunity of perpetrators.
HOST AN EVENT ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Helping victims of human trafficking is as simple as talking to a friend. Host an event and invite the community to discuss the exploitation of human beings. At this campaign, we are eager to spread the word and we'd like to talk at any community event about human trafficking and victim identification.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 -- Complete Report (PDF)
-Introductory Material (PDF)
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)
These are some of the things you can do to help fight human trafficking:
Be informed! Educate yourself about human trafficking by reading about it. Follow events in the news. Keep your eyes open - human trafficking is happening all around us.
Raise awareness! Talk to friends, family and colleagues. You could even start talking to your local politicians and authorities.
Get involved! Participate in an anti-trafficking movement in your area and get involved in its activities and campaigns (e.g. hold events, distribute posters, leaflets etc.) in your neighborhood and in schools.
Encourage businesses! Be a responsible consumer! Inform yourself on the labour policies of companies to ensure their products are free from slave labour and other forms of exploitation. If possible, buy fair trade products.
Seek support! If you suspect that someone has been trafficked report it to the institutions or assistance facilities dealing with human trafficking in your area.
"It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery."
– President Barack OBAMA