2 0 1 1 T RA FF I C K IN G IN P ER S ON S RE P OR T
Modern history has proven that microcredit and microfinance can improve the status of women, promote better nutrition, increase access to healthcare and education, and broaden communities’ access to credit. When combined with targeted anti-trafficking programming, microfinance initiatives can act as liberators, providing opportunities without risk and rehabilitation with a money-backed future. And micro-lending is not the only solution – putting traffickers in prison and distributing their illgotten gains to their victims is the ultimate debt forgiveness program.
Sending and Receiving: The Challenge of Labor in a Global Society Migrants are vulnerable to modern slavery. Women travel with dreams of better lives and jobs as waitresses or maids, only to be enslaved in prostitution or domestic servitude. Workers are trapped in debt bondage – in myriad ways, as a result of the costs of migration, such as recruitment fees. And it is not just illegal migration; the 2011 reporting year saw cases around the world where the victims traveled to their destination country through legal means, only to be enslaved after arrival. According to the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration, the number of international migrants in the world today has increased rapidly over the last few decades: 215 million in 2010, up from 191
Middle East-UK Amita came to London from the Middle East as a domestic servant for a family that treated her well and paid her decently. When her employer moved into a high-level job that provided house staff, the family no longer needed Amita. They helped her find work with another family. Amita’s new employers took her passport as soon as she arrived and made her sleep on the floor in the living room to prevent her from stealing things and hiding them in her room. They did not pay her or allow her out of the house, and they threatened to report her to the police as an illegal if she tried to run away. Amita worked in the family’s house from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. After that, she was taken to clean various office buildings until midnight or early morning. One night, the employer’s son and his friends were drunk in the house and attempted to rape Amita. After that, she decided to run away and managed to escape with the help of a security guard.
“My advice is that whenever you see someone promising excess profit, it is important for one to ask yourself whether you are not being targeted by fraudsters. We should all be very careful.” Christopher Bizimungu, Rwandan commissioner for criminal investigations, during a televised talk show on human trafficking and cyber crime
million in 2005. In 2010, worldwide remittance flows are estimated to have exceeded $440 billion (compared with $275 billion in 2005), with developing countries receiving $325 billion in remittances (compared with $192 billion in 2005). In 2009, the share of remittances in GDP for some smaller countries was extremely large: Tajikistan recorded a remittance/GDP ratio of 36 percent; Tonga, 28 percent; Lesotho, 25 percent; Moldova, 31 percent; and Nepal, 23 percent. While migration is an important tool for economic development from the individual level to the national level, there is an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation and standards to manage labor migration. According to the IOM, most countries in the world – and not just in the developing world – lack the capacity to manage effectively the international mobility of people today. The increased flows and the dramatic growth of a profit-minded recruitment industry that operates across borders mean that today’s migrants are vulnerable to a wide range of abuses, including situations of forced labor and sex trafficking. International migration is relatively unregulated. At best, it is dominated by a handful of bilateral agreements – with varying degrees of implementations – and nonbinding bilateral memoranda of understanding or regional arrangements. At worst, it is controlled by unscrupulous private recruiters whose deceit and surcharges can quickly place migrants in debt bondage. Even when policies are in place to allow for legal labor migration, governments must act to ensure the protection of migrants throughout the process. Where there are government-togovernment agreements (increasingly common between sending and destination countries), they do not diminish the need for worker protections in “sponsorship” or “guestworker” programs. Much needs to be done to prevent migrant laborers from subsequent exploitation under