Creative thinking contributes to possible activities in helping combat human trafficking. This has been proven true by Kimberly Ritter, a corporate executive who credits Religious sisters (the Foundation of Sisters of St. Joseph) with heightening her awareness about Human Trafficking and motivating her to take preventative action.
Realising hotel rooms can be easily identified by their décor, Ritter and her colleagues at Nix Conference and Meeting Management in St. Louis, USA, devised an ‘’Exchange Initiative’’ whereby Washington University researches created the TraffickCam app, which ‘’allows smartphone users to take photographs of their hotel rooms and add it to a photo database… The database of photographs collected on the TraffickCam app can be used by law enforcement officials to pinpoint the hotel and locate victims of trafficking.’’
For more, information please see:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.
Regarded by the United States’ State Department as ‘’…the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts,” the 422 paged TIP report rates 190 nations – increased from188 in 2015, with the addition of Yemen and Libya this year – on how effectively governments are addressing the human trafficking industry.
“The purpose of this report is to enlighten, energise and empower. That is why it incorporates the insights of NGO’s, advocates and survivors with first-hand experience of this horrific crime. By issuing it, we want to bring to the public’s attention, the full nature and scope of the $150 Billion illicit human trafficking industry. We want to provide evidence and facts that will help people who are already working to achieve reforms and alleviate suffering. And we want to provide a strong incentive for governments at every level to do all they can to prevent and prosecute trafficking, identify and support victims and shield at-risk populations.’’ John F. Kerry, US Secretary of State. Please click here for more information…
OSCE launches innovative project to combat human trafficking along migration routes
On the 17th June 2016, the OSCE launched a ground-breaking capacity-building programme to combat trafficking along migration routes through a series of simulation exercises for 200 regional experts, running from November 2016 to 2018.
The courses are designed for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, labour inspectors, financial investigators, civil society representatives and other regional experts. Three trainings will be held at the Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units’s (CoESPU) state of the art facility in Vicenza, Italy.
‘’In co-operation with the (CoESPU), the OSCE is bringing together all relevant frontline actors from the countries of origin, transit and destination along migration routes, in an innovative, reality-based simulation exercise to enhance their capacity to investigate crime and develop effective referral mechanisms for identifying victims,” Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said.
The project, with an overall budget of 550,000 euros, allows participants to boost their ability to combat human trafficking by working through realistic, expert-developed scenarios that simulate cases of labour and sexual exploitation among migrants, including child victims.
“We are extremely pleased to join hands with our partners at the OSCE on this project,” Tullio Del Sette, General Commander of the Carabinieri said. “Mixed migration flows have increased dramatically in the region, underscoring the demand for such training programs.”
The project receives extra-budgetary support from the governments of Italy, Hungary and Monaco as well as the German Chairmanship.
“This project will uphold values that are at the core of the OSCE’s anti-trafficking efforts, and show that protection and security are not mutually exclusive – criminal law enforcement against traffickers must go hand in hand with victim protection,” Detlef Karioth, Germany’s Special Representative for the Establishment of Refugee-Hotspots in Greece and Italy said. “We are proud to be a part of it.”
RENATE is hopeful that this upskilling programme will enhance victim-identification skills as workers strive to reduce the numbers of trafficked people. It is also hoped that news of this programme will act as a deterrent to the traffickers, who are more likely to be prosecuted as a result.
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.
Secours Catholique-Caritas France has launched the report entitled ‘’Trafficking in Human Beings in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations’’, with contributions from by Caritas Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Kosovo, Lebanon, Romania, Turkey and the Ukraine.
The report highlights the poor level of trafficking prevention in conflict and post-conflict situations and the urgency of adherence to protocols which safeguard people who are already traumatised and rendered vulnerable through conflict.
The full report is available at: http://www.caritas.eu/sites/default/files/report_-_trafficking_in_conflict_and_post-conflict_situations_en.pdf
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.
Ian Urbina, New York Times journalist shares with us some small developments related (at least tangentially) to The Outlaw Ocean series, which has featured as News items on the RENATE website during the Summer months, 2015. (29th July, 2015: Criminality at Sea, Involving Trafficking and the Exploitation of Human Beings)
Firstly, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently offered more insight on his hopes and plans for improving policing at sea. He gave this input in a couple of interviews with the Times. During the ‘’Our Ocean’’ conference in Chile, he also riffed a little on the sea slaves story. But more importantly he ended by saying that he intends to make the topic a focus of next year’s conference.
The US Senate caucus on Human Trafficking held a fascinating panel on the role the U.S. government might play through marketplace leverage. Two ideas discussed: stricter traceability rules on seafood imported to the U.S., and raising the bar on transparency and labour standards for the more than $300 million worth of seafood bought by U.S. agencies.
Lastly, this week, a court in Sao Tome and Principe convicted the three officers of the Thunder. This was the pirate fishing ship at the top of Interpol’s Most Wanted list and which the Sea Shepherd pursued relentlessly on the high seas.
A conviction such as this is a fairly rare occurrence, since so few of these notorious scofflaws are apprehended or prosecuted. It is heartening to know that some of the documents seized on The Thunder are now being used by Spain and other countries to target the criminal syndicates tied to illegal fishing on the high seas.
Adapted and compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person
The National Reception Centre for Refugees in Albania is in Babrru, Tirana. This centre is supported from the state budget and by the ministry of social welfare, with 15 staff members who offer all services: food, clothing, health care, education for children and integration into the albanian society. Food costs are provided by the state budget, who give approximately 3 dollars a day. Although this is not much it helps. Support also comes from other organizations such as the United Nations aid to Refugees organization which operates in Albania. (UNHCR) The link to this agency in the Balkans is: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e48d676.html. The process of their local integration is still a difficult challenge and a joint effort takes place between the stakeholders: refugees, public authorities, non-governmental organizations and foreign agencies.
Once the refugees have been registered and received the necessary immediate support such as legal aid, medical, both psychological and physical help, and the necessary financial aid, they either leave the centre to move on to a further country or they are housed in private accommodation which is self-financed or supported by NGOs. The centre in Babrru was opened in 2014. In this centre are all the refugees who are applying for asylum in Albania, mainly for political reasons. The refuges over the past year have come from many countries such as Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Kosovo (these are regarding the present conflict between Serbia and Kosovo).
The highest number of refugees which they have had in the camp at any one time was 170 refugees. This was in February when a large number of Syrian refugees came to the camp. At the moment there are 56 refugees in the camp, either as individuals or as a family, this includes a newly born baby who has special services. Right now there are 3 Syrians in the camp, last week there were 32 Syrians who left after they had received their initial papers. This gave them the freedom to travel through Albania and in to another country.
It should be said that in all this chaos, there were no identified cases of trafficking, however there were immigrants violated along the way and who could have been in the hands of traffickers and who were in trauma on arrival and are receiving psychological assistance. One girl from Afghanistan, whom we met, had a terrible rash all over her body, a distinct sign of being in post trauma.
Click here to read the entire Report on Visit to the Reception Centre for Refugees in Babrru, Albania written by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM & Manushaqe Cypi.
An Outlaw Ocean series of investigative journalism draws attention to criminality at sea, involving trafficking and the exploitation of human beings
Writing for The Outlaw Ocean Series in the New York Times this summer, 2015, investigation journalist Ian Urbina’ s articles encapsulates the complex web of criminality on the high seas.
Alarming insights are presented on how violence at sea and on land are handled differently and how little regard there is for the dignity of the human person when shipping vessels become places of detention, exploitation and even death by foul means.
To feed the demands of the global economy, 90% of the world’s goods are transported on the high seas. Often, maritime laws are not as extensive as those governing air, road and rail transportation.
Tens of thousands are enslaved on boats each year – many of them minors –because of debt payments or coercion or fleeing from war. Frequently, they are subjected to inhumane conditions without respite or sufficient food to survive.
In Men and laws, thrown overboard, which featured on the 17th July 2015, we read of the exploitation and harsh realities for those on board the Dona Liberta, a rusty, refrigerated cargo vessel which has a record of regularly switching off its mandatory satellite tracking signal, dumping oil and pollutants into the seas, abandoning crew members, abusing stowaways and turning a blind eye to people traffickers.
For more, see: www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/world/stowaway-crime-scofflaw-ship.html?_r=0
In the second series of articles, Murder at Sea: Captured on Video but Killers Go Free, Urbina writes of lawlessness and unaccounted for murder at sea. We read of armed gangs running protection rackets and ruthless pirates attacking container ships; human traffickers transporting refugees and migrants in less than seaworthy boats, in addition to violence amongst fishing boats competing against each other in the rush greedily to harvest the sea.
On a cautionary note, the article includes some disturbing video content, which only serves to heighten awareness of the additional, enormous risks for migrants and trafficked persons, innocent victims of the inhumanity of persons to persons.
You can access the latest article on: www.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/world/middleeast/murder-at-sea-captured-on-video-but-killers-go-free.html
Adapted & compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person
EU Foreign Ministers on 18 May 2015 approve plans to establish a naval force to combat people smugglers operating from Libya.
The European Union is struggling to cope with the tens of thousands of illegal migrants from Africa and the Middle East, crossing the Mediterranean Sea for the safety of Europe. RENATE supports the rehabilitation of these desperate migrants, uniting with Pope Francis, calling for safe passage and refuge for them.
So far this year, the United Nations estimates that as many as 60,000 have tried to make the dangerous crossing, often facilitated by traffickers as they flee conflict or dire poverty in Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and Eritrea. Many pay their traffickers as they travel in unseaworthy boats, risking their lives for safety and better life.
The Mediterranean naval mission is due to commence in June 2015, with the aim to disrupt the smugglers. It also aims to ensure each EU State adopts a national quota (18% Germany; 14%; 12% Italy; 9% Spain. UK has refused any quota) in order to accept the migrants, thereby easing the pressure on Italy, Greece and Malta.
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini (pictured) called the approval of the plans “an absolute record” and is hopeful that member states will cooperate in order to finally put an end to the business model of the traffickers.
To read more: http://www.dw.de/eu-defense-foreign-ministers-approve-military-mission-targeting-smuggler-boats/a-18457439
Adapted and prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.
Professor Janne Haaland Matlary, Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, presented a paper entitled A ‘Liberal Profession’? The Norwegians Debate on the “Sex Buying Act” to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City, April 17th-21st, 2015.
Professor Matlary’s paper gives a comprehensive insight into the impact of the Sex Buying Act (SBA) legally in force in Norway since January 2009. Intending to reduce the demand for sex and to help women find alternative work and a better quality of life, the Act also aimed to prevent human trafficking and to change attitudes towards prostitution.
A recent evaluation of the Act reports a reduction in both demand and supply on the street by as much as 40-65%. Research has found that because of the Act, it is now much more difficult for traffickers and pimps to work in Norway, as both are criminal activities. Another significant research finding concerns attitudinal change in young men against the buying of sex.
RENATE values any research or legislated acts which indicate or lead to the reduction in demand for any form of trafficking and exploitation in human persons.
To read the full text of Professor Matlary’s paper:
Adapted and prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.
“The light of the Gospel is a guide for anyone who is at the service of the civilisation of love, where the Beatitudes have a social resonance and where there is a real inclusion of the lowliest.” Pope Francis
Thus spoke Pope Francis to delegates at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) at their 17th-21st April, 2015 meeting to consider the theme of Human Trafficking: Issues beyond Criminalization.
The meeting considered human trafficking as a crime against humanity and raised challenging questions about repatriation; the necessity for improved assistance and support to victims of human trafficking and what is being done to stop the national and multi-national demands for exploited labour and sexual exploitation.
RENATE Conference will conduct a training programme on the issue of repatriation when it meets in Madrid in June, 2015.
For full information and final recommendations arising from the PASS meeting: http://www.endslavery.va/content/endslavery/en/events/criminalization.html
Adapted and prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.