Monday, November 23, 2020

V. Assistance and protection for women and girl victims of trafficking 5/7

          A.     Victim identification

38.    International human rights law imposes positive obligations on States to identify victims of trafficking. This duty is placed firmly on States irrespective of the lack of self-identification by a victim. Victims are often hidden in non-public areas such as private residences, isolated factories and farms, and brothels. Front-line professionals often lack the required training to adequately understand, identify and appropriately respond to all types of victims, including to survivors of sexual exploitation and intersecting forms of exploitation. . In mixed migration flows, hotspots lack appropriate and confidential spaces to carry out identification performed by trained staff and interpreters who can promptly assess indicators of vulnerability and provide adequate support. Survivors are often reluctant to self-identify and disclose their traffickers for fear of retaliation, due to lack of information on the crime and where to report it, and fear of engaging with authorities, including being detained, prosecuted, punished and deported.

           B.     Victim assistance and protection

39.    Trafficking victims have a special status and a right to special assistance and protection measures provided by the State. Long term, needs-based, comprehensive victim-centered assistance and protection measures are often lacking in anti-trafficking responses due to poor victim identification and insufficient definition and implementation of trafficking in national law.

40.    Trafficking victims are in need of immediate availability and quality support services, that must be inclusive and accessible, including access to information on their rights, medical, psychological, social and legal services available to them and how to access them as well as to safe and appropriate accommodation. Yet they often face restricted access to essential services, both in the place in which they are identified and in their place of origin for reasons of: cost and language delivery of services, lack of gender or cultural sensitivity and trauma-informed practices; failure of first responders to conduct appropriate risk assessments and referrals; fear of being forced into a rehabilitation program or cooperation with law enforcement authorities in the prosecution of traffickers; fear of prosecution for crimes committed as a consequence of having been trafficked or for immigration offences. Adequate assistance must be provided to women and girls with disabilities who are a particularly vulnerable group to be trafficked.

41.    States parties are obligated to protect victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, from revictimization. This includes guaranteeing trafficking victims’ protection against forcible return.

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