ICAT holds discussion on strengthening access to justice for children
On 19 June, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), held an online discussion on strengthening access to justice for children in the context of trafficking.
The webinar was organized in view of the global concern of child trafficking. According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, children comprise 35% of all identified victims of trafficking. Migrant and displaced children are particularly at risk of being trafficked.
Based on UNICEF’s Reimagine Justice for Children Agenda, the discussion focused on the specific barriers that child victims of trafficking face in accessing justice, and identified priority actions to strengthen access to justice.
The recording of the session is available online here.
Reimagine Justice for Children Agenda
Children interact with the justice systems for many reasons, including as victims of trafficking. Access to justice requires the legal empowerment of every child, as well as free, timely and quality legal aid. For child victims of trafficking, access to justice requires child-friendly and gender-sensitive justice processes, intersectoral cooperation between justice, child protection and allied systems to respond to violence, abuse and the exploitation of children.
Comprehensive legal frameworks are necessary to protect children from all forms of online or technology-facilitated sexual abuse and exploitation, especially in view of traffickers increasingly abusing technology to commit criminal activities at every stage of the trafficking process.
Resources like the report on Legislating for the Digital Age provide guidance on how to protect children in the context of rapidly changing digital technologies, while the Disrupting Harm research project has generated insights on how online child sexual exploitation and abuse is manifesting in 13 countries―Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Viet Nam―while providing tailored roadmaps for countries to strengthen their prevention and response systems.
During the webinar, promising practices in ensuring access to justice for children were also shared. In particular, IOM Romania’s project LUPTA (Leading a United Pathway to Anti-Trafficking Action) was presented. The project has gathered important evidence on the effectiveness of trauma-informed, multi-faceted assistance, including social, psychological and physical health, legal, protection and financial support to lay the foundation for trust-based relationships between victims and authorities.
Panelists from the International Survivors of Trafficking Advisory Council (ISTAC) and ECPAT further underlined the importance of engaging survivors of human trafficking to share their perspectives and lived experiences to inform and refine prevention and appropriate responses, as well as the importance of strengthening the capacity of frontline responders and service providers.
ICAT has constantly promoted the inclusion of survivor voices and perspectives in developing and implementing interventions in response to trafficking in persons. Additionally, ICAT has produced policy guidance relevant to the webinar topic, among others, on trafficking in children and on human trafficking and technology.