Contemporary Enslavement and Trafficking of Women and Girls

Conference of the parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The Side-Event -Contemporary Enslavement and Trafficking of Women and Girls- took place on October 17, 2018, at the Vienna International Center.
Please find here the flyer of the invitation.


Silke Albert, Crime Prevention Expert, UNODC: “The work of UNODC in addressing the issue of human trafficking, particularly of women and girls, within the framework of the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons”
For several years, data has shown that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked and exploited, with 71% of all detected trafficking victims pertaining to these categories. Sexual exploitation remains the most common form of exploitation in trafficking in persons (TIP) cases. Females are also often trafficked for a wide range of other practices, often referred to as “contemporary or modern slavery”, though this terminology finds no internationally-agreed definition. The presentation will cover the international legal definition of “human trafficking” provided in the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. TIP often remains a hidden crime due to several factors such as the trauma of victims, the lack of implementing existing legislation, and the challenges of international cooperation during investigations, with few prosecutions. The work and activities of UNODC to assist Member States in ensuring an effective response to the issue of human trafficking, especially of women and girls, will be presented. Attention will be drawn to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and to the need for a human rights based, victim-centred as well as gender- and age-responsive approach responding to this urgent and sensitive crime.

Jacqueline Larson, Senior Researcher with the Walk Free Foundation: “Vulnerability to modern-day slavery among women and girls”
Although modern slavery occurs in every corner of the globe and affects many regardless of race, gender, religion, and socio-economic status, females are disproportionately affected. The 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery revealed that women and girls account for nearly three-quarters of victims of modern slavery. This presentation will provide an overview of the forms of slavery faced by women and girls, before exploring the factors that make them more vulnerable, and considering responses.

Dr. John Winterdyk, Professor of Criminology, Mount Royal University, Canada: “A quasi-paradigm shift in combatting human trafficking: The need for an integrated theory”
There are several well-established theories that have been used to explain human trafficking and to inform our responses to it. While they generally align with the 4 Ps of the United Nations (i.e. prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership), the theories have been somewhat limiting (i.e. falsifiable). In addition to providing an overview of the main theoretical models used to explain human trafficking, the presentation will focus on the need for an integrated theory as a more effective model for both explaining and responding to human trafficking.

Sharon Fisher, incoming President of Soroptimist International: “Educate, Empower, Enable”
In sharing some technology advances and learnings about the behaviours of those involved in profiting from trafficking and slavery, I will put a lens on the why, how and who is involved. Using stories from Soroptimist International’s local and global projects we can show there really is hope for those vulnerable women and girls being recruited into Modern Day Slavery. Our recent Nepal project will be profiled showing Education and Leadership for women and girls is critical. With one of the root causes of falling victim to slavery being poverty, education can be the game changer when combined with other strategies. Overcoming some of the barriers to education we have many successful outcomes that have improved lives for thousands of women and girls.

Dr. Karin Bruckmüller, Scientific Project Manager, Johanne Kepler University Linz and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich: “New forms of THB followed by slavery provoked by the refugee crisis”
Due to the so called “refugee crisis” in Europe, new aspects of trafficking in human beings arise. For example, a new form of trafficking is evident: migrants were handed over from smugglers to traffickers, who sell and exploit the victims as slaves. In this situation, there is a lack of the typical (in international documents legally demanded) “act” as fraud or coercion. Conventional measures of action plans and (international) legal definition do not help anymore to prevent human trafficking and slavery during a mass refugee situation comprehensively. New practical approaches and legal frameworks have to be established.

Professor Jackie Jones, Professor of Feminist Legal Studies, Bristol Law School: “Human Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation: Violence against Women and Girls”
The presentation will focus on human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. It will give a very brief overview of human trafficking, followed by why prevention strategies such as the ‘Nordic Model’ should be employed more effectively in order to 1. Recognise the patriarchal structures underpinning women’s and girls’ continued lack of real progress; 2. Reduce incidences of re-victimisation; and 3. Help alleviate poverty and the other causes for trafficking.

Katie Klaffenböck, Counter-Trafficking Focal Point, International Organization for Migration Country Office for Austria: “Addressing the Protection Needs of Trafficked Persons and Vulnerable Migrants in Libya”.
This talk will briefly present IOM’s efforts to enhance protection services for trafficked persons and other vulnerable migrants in Libya by strengthening response systems of local partners and cooperating with communities and NGOs.

Dr. Behnaz Hosseini, Research Fellow, University of Alberta, Canada: “Popularity of ‘pleasure temporary’ marriages in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan”
The objective of this study is to explore the causes and identify potential solutions to child and forced marriage in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Forced marriage is an oppressive tradition that came to light after the 1979 revolution in Iran and is justified under the name of religion, cultural beliefs, economic and political problems. This inhuman phenomenon, whose primarily victims are girls, is carried out in Iran with the complete backing of the clerical government’s leaders due to the misogynist laws they have introduced. In many cases, girls are actually sold to resolve the family’s financial problems. At the same time human trafficking networks, which are in contact with the Islamic government, are actually profiting from the mullahs’ misogynist laws to traffic and sell Iranian girls.

Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald, independent scholars and human rights defenders: “Family-Based Non-State Torture, Human Trafficking, Captivity & Enslavement”
This presentation frames in torture by private non-State actors, discusses UN efforts to ‘genderize’ the Convention against Torture, and briefly presents examples of victimizations of non-State torture, trafficking, on-going contemporary forms of enslavement and powerlessness. Intervention suggestions are offered.