Humanitarian Crises and Global Conflicts are Increasing Human Trafficking
The Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) held its fourth annual meeting of Principals on 2 December 2022 to discuss human trafficking in in humanitarian crises and conflict situations and map priorities for 2023.
Recent and ongoing humanitarian crises and conflicts resulting from war, terrorism, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as increased economic and food insecurity, are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities to and creating new risks of trafficking in persons.
“We meet at a time when the world is experiencing severe challenges; and a time in which people increasingly find themselves in vulnerable situations that expose them to the risk of human trafficking,” said John Brandolino, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs of the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in his opening statement.
Following opening remarks, Michael Spindelegger, the Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and ICAT co-chair in 2022, specifically noted among the key achievements from this year, ICAT’s regionally focused initiatives on East and West Africa, contributions to the content of key human trafficking-related multilateral processes, the enhancement of survivor voices within the work of ICAT, and the establishment of a policy support group on trafficking in persons in the context of conflict situations.
As a key highlight of the meeting, the 31 entities of ICAT issued a Call to Action urging countries, humanitarian actors and other relevant stakeholders to put in place effective measures to combat trafficking in persons in the context of increasing humanitarian crises and conflict situations.
The meeting also endorsed the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (OSRSG-VAC) to co-chair ICAT in 2023.
The incoming co-Chairs committed to maintaining momentum and capitalizing on gains already made by ICAT while also responding to acute and new challenges and ensuring that attention is paid to countering trafficking in children as a cross-cutting issue. In 2023, ICAT will “continue fostering interagency collaboration and organized approaches to addressing trafficking in persons across all the world,” said Pablo Espiniella, representing OSRSG-VAC.
Referring to the persisting global humanitarian crises, IOM’s Monica Goracci said that ICAT would continue drawing from its membership’s diverse mandates and expertise to ensure effective responses to trafficking in persons.
“As a group, we have a demanding year ahead. Yet, difficult times also prompt us to innovate and combine our expertise and resources to tackle together the challenges that we can no longer face alone,” said Goracci. "Let us use this opportunity to make tangible, positive change in our global response to all forms of trafficking in persons,” she added.
The ICAT chair rotates among the members of the Group on an annual basis.
ICAT was established in 2007 by the UN General Assembly to enhance cooperation and coordination among UN agencies and other relevant international organizations to facilitate a holistic and comprehensive approach to trafficking in persons. Its members include 31 UN entities and other international organizations. In 2022, ICAT is co-chaired by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
ICAT has published extensively on trafficking in persons. Its wealth of information can be accessed on the website here. For more information, follow @ICAT_News on Twitter.