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The Causes and Consequences of Re-trafficking: Evidence from the IOM Human Trafficking Database

The Causes and Consequences of Re-trafficking: Evidence from the IOM Human Trafficking Database

Description: Although there is consensus among different actors regarding the seriousness and significance of re-trafficking as a problem, there has been very little research conducted into its incidence, cause or consequence. This research paper, funded by United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (G/TIP), aims to address this gap through an exploratory analysis of known re-trafficking cases in the Human Trafficking Database of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It is a rare look at the issue of re-trafficking, drawing upon a regional sample of 79 known cases of re-trafficking in the database.....


IOM Press-February 18, 2011


Better Funded, Longer Term Assistance Needed to Prevent Re-trafficking of Victims -  Many existing reintegration programmes for victims of trafficking are not effectively tackling the economic realities faced by victims post-rescue and should be of much longer duration and efficacy if re-trafficking is to be avoided, says a new IOM report.
The problem stems from the lack of adequate funding for such programmes, according to the report. As a result, interventions are unable to address the full range of economic, cultural, social or psychosocial needs of a trafficked individual.
The report, "The Causes and Consequences of Re-Trafficking: Evidence from the IOM Human Trafficking Database", is a rare look at the issue of re-trafficking of which little is known by using information gleaned from IOM's unique database on the victims of human trafficking it has assisted.
It draws upon 79 known cases of re-trafficking in the database out of more than 14,000 people over a 10-year period, although it is widely accepted that levels of re-trafficking are likely to be much higher in reality.
The report, funded by the US State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP), found that women, young adults and children are most vulnerable to re-trafficking with the under-18 most at risk of re-trafficking when older. Poverty, gender or racial discrimination as well as conflict and displacement in their home countries are common denominators.
The role of traffickers who make direct threats to the victim or their family upon return home, as well as the involvement of law enforcement officers in the re-trafficking process are also highlighted in the report. It notes too that those forcibly returned home without referrals to IOM or other organizations are vulnerable to re-trafficking, particularly en route home.
Victims are also frequently re-trafficked within two years of being rescued and are usually trafficked to different destinations or for a different kind of exploitation. It is not uncommon for victims trafficked internationally to then be re-trafficked within their own country.
The report recommends that as a first instance, alternatives are needed to simply returning victims of international trafficking back to their home countries and invariably to the same situation and dangers that led to their trafficking in the first place. In some instances, particularly where a victim would be in continued danger from his or her trafficker if they returned, victims should have the option to remain in the country of destination.

"Not a single one of the 79 people on the IOM database that form the backbone of this research, had been granted either temporary or permanent residency after the first time they were trafficked," says Sarah Craggs, IOM trafficking research coordinator. "If they had, it would have given them a layer of protection they could never have at home and would probably have prevented their re-trafficking."

The report also argues for tougher penalties to be imposed on state officials who collude with traffickers and for those penalties to be applied vigorously. The IOM database shows that in cases where law enforcers were involved in human trafficking and re-trafficking, victims understandably mistrusted everyone around them and as a result, would refuse the essential rehabilitation and reintegration assistance offered to them by IOM or non-governmental organizations.

In a final call, the report recommended that victims should be monitored for much longer post-rescue then they currently are to ensure their reintegration is complete while acknowledging that it is only by finding sustainable ways to challenge the wider economic inequalities, both global and local  can counter-trafficking efforts be truly effective.

For further information, please contact Sarah Craggs, IOM Geneva, Tel: + 41 22 717 9526 email: scraggs@iom.int