Women and girls account for approximately 70 per cent of detected victims of trafficking in persons, and the majority of those are foreigners in the country of detection.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 83 per cent of women and 72 per cent of girls identified as victims of trafficking were trafficked for sexual exploitation. Over 80 per cent of transgender and gender non-conforming migrants are also trafficked for sexual exploitation. Such exploitation demonstrates the evident gender dimension of this human rights violation, which is rooted in gender-based discrimination and gender inequalities. Furthermore, the demand for cheap and/or forced labour, including sexual exploitation, has led to an increase in the feminization of poverty. As per the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW), trafficking in women and girls constitutes sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and is a severe violation of their human rights.
It is critical to ensure zero tolerance of trafficking in women and girls, criminalize all forms of trafficking in persons, hold perpetrators accountable and provide gender-responsive identification, assistance and reintegration services.
- Laws and policies to combat trafficking and exploitation of women and girls in line with international human rights frameworks, specifically the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and its 2014 Protocol, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
- National coordination to align policies on gender equality, criminal justice, trafficking in persons, migration governance and sustainable development in order to ensure an effective, gender-responsive and human rights-based approach to combat trafficking in women and girls
- Development of national guidelines and standard operating procedures on identification and referral of victims of trafficking
- Capacity-building for early detection of trafficking victims by law enforcement and border personnel, immigration and asylum authorities, labour inspectors, social workers and health-care professionals to promptly identify trafficking and related offences against women and girls
- Training of officials in gender-responsive approaches to identify and provide support to migrant women and girls who are survivors of trafficking
- Protection of the human rights and dignity of trafficked women and girls without criminalizing and detaining them
- Access to essential services, including health, justice and social services, for trafficked women and girls and transgender and gender non-conforming migrants who are survivors of sexual or gender-based violence
- Accessible care facilities for trafficked migrant women and girls with staff trained in gender-responsive and culturally appropriate approaches and services provided in a language that is understood by victims
- Gender-responsive protection and support for victims and survivors of trafficking in countries of origin, transit and destination, including physical protection, psychosocial support, trauma counselling, access to justice, legal advice, comprehensive health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, and information in accessible formats
- Targeted long-term gender-responsive reintegration and rehabilitation support to prevent their re-trafficking, including through income-generating activities, vocational training, employment assistance and financial compensation
- Timely prosecution and adequate punishment of trafficking in women and girls and related offences and provision of appropriate legal remedies for survivors of trafficking, including when prosecution is undertaken in the country of detection
- Access to permanent residence permits for migrant women who are at risk of being trafficked or are victims and survivors of trafficking
- Impact assessment of current visa regimes to ensure they do not facilitate or result in trafficking of migrant women
- Gender-responsive awareness-raising activities that inform about the risks of trafficking in persons, promote safe migration alternatives and promote reporting and self-reporting of trafficking cases
- Information in accessible formats for migrant women and girls on preventing and reporting trafficking activities
- Meaningful participation of women in trafficking prevention, return, rehabilitation and reintegration efforts
- Collection, analysis and dissemination of sex- and age-disaggregated data and gender statistics on trafficking, including the scope, extent, forms of exploitation, causes and consequences for women and girls, to develop evidenced-based strategies in the prevention of trafficking
- COVID-19: Adoption of gender-responsive measures to address the increased risk of trafficking in migrant women and girls resulting from border closures and the economic downturn of the pandemic