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Trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries

Trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries

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This presentation was held during a June 2016 webinar on "How are the Syrian conflict and the refugee situation affecting trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries?" by the ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme.

This presentation was held during a June 2016 webinar on "How are the Syrian conflict and the refugee situation affecting trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries?" by the ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme.

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Trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries

  1. 1. How are the Syrian conflict and the refugee situation affecting trafficking in persons in Syria and the neighbouring countries? Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016
  2. 2. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Syrian prison guards were observed sexually exploiting migrant women who were former domestic workers: “…three rooms full of foreign domestic workers. […] mostly from Ethiopia, Sudan, Malaysia and Thailand. […] They thought they were going to the Gulf countries, but were trafficked to Syria and they didn’t have their passports. […]. In prison, they became prostitutes to be able to buy food […] The high-ranking police officers were the pimps bringing the customers…” (SY03).
  3. 3. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Men from GCC states travel to the Akkar region in Lebanon, and marry a Syrian girl through an irregular marriage. Divorce takes place some weeks or months after the marriage, and obtaining the divorce is easy, as the marriage is not legalised (LB36).
  4. 4. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Some Syrian refugee children were involved in smuggling of goods and people in Zaatari Camp in Jordan, and were selling items at the side of the main road. The Jordanian authorities, UNICEF, UNHCR and other organisations have since addressed these problems (JO06). Aerial view of Zaatari Camp
  5. 5. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 A 14-year-old Iraqi Yazidi girl was sold several times among members of Da’ish (ISIS) for the purposes of sexual exploitation and abuse, after being taken from her family in the Sinjar region. After 3 months of severe abuse and exploitation, she escaped during the coalition bombing of Da’ish in Raqqa and contacted surviving members of her family in the KR-I (IQ14).
  6. 6. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 PROJECT: ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF THE SYRIAN WAR AND REFUGEE CRISIS ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (AIS-TIP SYRIA)  Project Start: Oct. 2014  Countries Under Study: Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan & Iraq  Donor: US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP)  Implementing Agency: ICMPD
  7. 7. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Methodological approach and research instruments Triangulation of sources Theoretical saturation Research InformantsResearch Informants Refugees & other vulnerable groups not directly interviewed (size of affected populations & ethical issues)
  8. 8. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Chronological scope: Comparison in order to assess the effects of the conflict and displacement Baseline End of 2010/beginning of 2011 Impact 2011-2015 Sources on Migration Forced migration Internal displacement Trafficking Other relevant data and information AIS-TIP Research Team, Beirut
  9. 9. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Trafficking during the Baseline Period (2001-2010) Origin Countries •South & Southeast Asia •East Africa •Eastern Europe (CIS) •North Africa •Iraq •Syria Also: citizens and residents of Lebanon & Iraq internally trafficked, particularly for sexual exploitation
  10. 10. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Forms of Trafficking, 2001-2010 (Baseline Period)
  11. 11. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Internal Displacement in Syria, 12.2015 Source: IDMC 2016 Global Report on I
  12. 12. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Internal Movement , Facilitation of Internal Movement and Migrant Smuggling A research informant in Turkey spoke of a group of Syrians from the Aleppo governorate: “They said, ‘we moved from Aleppo to Idlib, then to Homs, then to Qamishli. We fled from the PYD, Da’ish, the Free Syrian Army, the Assad regime. We had no strength to run any longer, no bread, nothing’”(TR16).
  13. 13. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Cross-Border Displacement, 2011-2015 Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq host 86.7% of Syria’s refugees abroad. Non-Syrians in Syria: Iraqis Stateless Kurds Asylum applicants & migrants Palestine refugees Countries of Destination of Syrian refugees
  14. 14. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Syrians Displaced in the Countries under Study (10.2015)
  15. 15. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 General Vulnerabilities, Vulnerabilities to Trafficking and Trafficking Cases
  16. 16. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Legal status and legal authorisation to work
  17. 17. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Increase in Incidence of Certain Forms of Trafficking  Forced marriage  Sexual exploitation  Sexual exploitation by means of forced marriage  Child trafficking for labour exploitation  Child trafficking for exploitation through begging Replacement effect: Syrians exploited in prostitution, where before other nationalities
  18. 18. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Forms of trafficking related to the war – in Syria  Sexual slavery, forced marriage, exploitation in armed conflict – by Da’ish  Forced marriage and armed conflict - by other parties in the Syrian war  Exploitation in terrorist activities  Kidnapping for ransom  Military forced labour
  19. 19. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Low-Level Exploitation ≠ Classic organised crime paradigm  forced marriage  sexual exploitation by means of forced marriage  child labour exploitation in agriculture  child exploitation in begging No viable alternatives for survival
  20. 20. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Internal Trafficking  Trafficking not necessarily cross-border phenomenon related to migratory movement  Trafficking targets vulnerabilities caused by displacement post facto
  21. 21. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Syrians not being identified as victims of trafficking Syrians not being identified as victims of trafficking Low identification of particular forms of trafficking Lack of TIP knowledge & capacity Victims afraid to report Syrians afraid to report a crime to authorities
  22. 22. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Child Protection Issues  Children out of school & without birth registration  Lack of legal status for adults has impact on children’s access to education  Lack of durable solutions in best interests of separated/unaccompanied children
  23. 23. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Host Communities are also affected Vulnerabilities of host communities Tensions among communities
  24. 24. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Recommendations – Combat Trafficking
  25. 25. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Recommendations – Reduce General Vulnerability
  26. 26. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Recommendations – Reduce Vulnerability of Specific Groups
  27. 27. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Targeting Vulnerabilities
  28. 28. Dr. Claire Healy, Research Officer, Anti-Trafficking Programme 6 June 2016 Next Steps Lebanon Country Workshop, Beirut, 5 April 2016
  29. 29. Claire Healy Research Officer Anti-Trafficking Programme Phone: +43-5044677-2318 E-mail: claire.healy@icmpd.org Twitter: @ICMPD_THB Website: www.icmpd.org/our-work/capacity-building/trafficking-in-human-beings Gonzagagasse 1 1010 Vienna Austria www.icmpd.org

Editor's Notes

  • 21-month project
    Countries under study chosen on the basis of the magnitude of displacement.
    Implemented by an international ICMPD team based in Vienna, Skopje, Istanbul, Southeast Turkey, Beirut and Amman.
    Syria has highest number of people displaced by the war – Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
    Within Turkey, most Syrians have settled in the Southeastern Provinces, while in Iraq, most Syrians are in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) in the North.
    Turkey has the highest absolute number of refugees in the world, while Lebanon has the highest proportion of refugees in its population.
    The numbers have since increased (Feb. 2016) dramatically in Turkey to over 2.6 million.
    IDPs in Syria – still estimated at 6.6 million.
    Lebanon: Just over 1 million (as of May 2015, UNHCR Lebanon temporarily suspended new registration as per Lebanese Government's instructions)
    Jordan: 638,000
    Iraq: 245,000
    VERY IMPORTANT: These numbers only refer to registered refugees and IDPs. Particularly in the countries other than Turkey, there are estimated to be high numbers of unregistered refugees.
  • Research was conducted at country and local level in the five countries under study, coordinated by the research cooordinator. This comprised both desk-based and field research.
    Desk research was also conducted at regional and international level.
    Vulnerable people themselves were not directly interviewed. This was due to the difficulty of covering a representative sample, due to the high numbers of affected people. This was also for ethical reasons, as there was not enough time to conduct interviews with vulnerable people in an ethical manner.
    Therefore, organisations and actors at one remove from affected populations were interviewed. These were people and agencies with direct access to refugees, displaced people, trafficking people and vulnerable people.
    Both qualitative and quantitative sources were analysed.
    Information from various sources was triangulated, where possible, to assess its validity.
    Interviews were conducted until the point of theoretical saturation was reached, i.e., no new information was being obtained from interviews and documents.
  • The baseline date refers to the period when the war broke out in Syria.
    In order to understand the period prior to the war, sources were consulted in relation to migration and trafficking during the decade 2001-2010.
    The impact period refers to the time since the outbreak of the war: early 2011 until the end of 2015.
    The situation during both periods was compared, in order to assess the effects of the war on trafficking.
    Apart from information on trafficking, sources on migration, refugees, internal displacement, vulnerable minorities and other relevant issues were consulted.
  • For Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, trafficked people were mainly from South & Southeast Asia, & East Africa (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Somalia).
    For Turkey, trafficked people were mainly from Eastern Europe (CIS countries)
    People were also trafficked from North Africa (Egypt) to Lebanon and Turkey)
    Iraqis trafficked to and through Jordan, Turkey and Syria.
    Internal trafficked was identified among Lebanese and Iraqis
    Iraqis particularly vulnerable to both internal and international trafficking since 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
  • The first four forms were relatively prevalent, while the last three were identified in isolated cases.
    The first five forms are particularly in evidence since the outbreak of the Syrian war.
    (The point of this slide is to show that these forms of trafficking did not begin in 2011, but were also taking place before the war.)
  • Most IDPs and refugees have moved multiple times within and outside of Syria.
    Because it is so dangerous to move around within Syria, IDPs and intending refugees often need the services of „facilitators of internal movement“ in order to travel from one governorate to another.
    Although interviewees refer to these facilitators as „smugglers“, it is not smuggling as there is no border crossing.
    Within Syria, people have to move between territories controlled by the regime forces, the Free Syrian Army, Kurdish forces, Da‘ish, etc.
    Before 2015, there was also usually no need for smugglers in order to cross borders with Syria‘s neighbouring countries, because people fleeing the war were generally allowed regular entry.
    Since 2015, however, Lebanese and Jordanian authorities have put greater restrictions in place.
    Smugglers are generally needed mainly to move outside the countries under study, usually towards the EU.
  • These figures also refer to Oct. 2015.
    441,246 Syrians sought asylum in Europe from April 2011 to August 2015, while 159,147 Syrians fled to Egypt and other North African countries.
    The figures have since changed, as Turkey now hosts an even greater proportion of Syrians (2.6 million).
    There are also slightly higher numbers now in Europe.
    Since mid-2014, there has been a significant increase in the number of Iraqi IDPs – currently an estimated 3.3 million.
  • Various different factors contribute to people‘s general vulnerabilities as a result of the war:
    The general humanitarian context
    Issues with legal status in host countries
    Problems with access to humanitarian aid and public services
    Child protection issues, incl. child labour, early marriage, birth registration, separated children and lack of access to schooling
    Gender-based discrimination & SGBV
    Gaps in the country’s anti-trafficking response
    Impact on the host communities
    Lack of migration alternatives
    In some cases this leads to specific vulnerabilities to trafficking:
    Impoverishment
    Lack of income
    Difficulty in meeting basic subsistence needs
    Survival sex and other in-kind transactions
    Poor working conditions
    Lack of access to services
    Desperation of some exploiters.
  • Mention temporary forms of marriage in the context of trafficking for forced marriage and trafficking for sexual exploitation by means of forced marriage: mutah – temporary marriage and mishyar – “tourist” marriage.
    Child labour exploitation especially in agriculture and services.
  • Exploitation is low-level, particularly in these four cases.
    Low-level exploitation generally happens because both exploiters and those being exploited have no viable alternatives for survival.
    Cross-border trafficking is taking place, but internal trafficking is much more common.
    Trafficked people may be outside their country of origin and traffickers may be non-citizens, but the trafficking process is still internal, because all of the trafficking acts take place within the same country.
  • Exploitation is low-level, particularly in these four cases.
    Low-level exploitation generally happens because both exploiters and those being exploited have no viable alternatives for survival.
    Cross-border trafficking is taking place, but internal trafficking is much more common.
    Trafficked people may be outside their country of origin and traffickers may be non-citizens, but the trafficking process is still internal, because all of the trafficking acts take place within the same country.
  • Low identification particularly of trafficking for forced marriage, trafficking for sexual exploitation by means of forced marriage, trafficking for labour exploitation of children and adults and trafficking for exploitation through begging.
    Syrians afraid to report sometimes because they are not officially registered in the host country.
    In all of the countries under study, trafficked or exploited people may be subject to criminal or administrative punishment for prostitution, begging or irregular legal status, rather than being protected as victims of crime.
    If adults do not have regular legal status, they may not be able to register their children at schools, and they may not be able to bring their children to and from school.
    Although there is a high level of family reunification of Syrian children with parents and guardians within the countries under study, some children still cross borders without proper accompaniment by parents or guardians.
  • Low identification particularly of trafficking for forced marriage, trafficking for sexual exploitation by means of forced marriage, trafficking for labour exploitation of children and adults and trafficking for exploitation through begging.
    Syrians afraid to report sometimes because they are not officially registered in the host country.
    In all of the countries under study, trafficked or exploited people may be subject to criminal or administrative punishment for prostitution, begging or irregular legal status, rather than being protected as victims of crime.
    If adults do not have regular legal status, they may not be able to register their children at schools, and they may not be able to bring their children to and from school.
    Although there is a high level of family reunification of Syrian children with parents and guardians within the countries under study, some children still cross borders without proper accompaniment by parents or guardians.
  • The highlighted parts of the map show areas of high concentration of displaced people from Syria: Northern Syria, Southeast Turkey, Northern Lebanon (and throughout Lebanon because of high proportions of Syrians in the population), Northern Jordan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
    Lebanon and Jordan have already recognised the vulnerabilities of host communities, and started to incorporate host communities into the humanitarian response.
    There are some isolated cases of tensions between host communities and Syrian refugees, though this is not widespread. These tensions can be reduced by including host communities in humanitarian and livelihood programmes.
  • Identify trafficking of refugees: frontline actors working with refugees should be trained to identify indicators and refer potential trafficked people.
    Sanctions should target corrupt border officials, security forces, humanitarian aid providers, landowners, etc, to help prevent survival sex and other exploitative in-kind transactions.
  • In relation to access to employment, mention Turkey’s new (Jan 2016) work permit scheme for Syrians.
    Sufficient funding: the budget for humanitarian assistance for all five countries under study continues to be short of funding from international donors, which seriously hampers humanitarian aid on the ground.
    The majority of displaced Syrians in all five countries, and all of them in Lebanon, are not in official camps.
  • Particularly for Palestine refugees, they are the mandate of UNRWA in Lebanon and Jordan, but of the Turkish Government in Turkey and of UNHCR in Iraq, which affects the services provided.
    Turkey generally covers Palestine refugees from Syria under their Temporary Protection Regime, but there are difficulties in obtaining protection status in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and in moving out of the region.

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