Human trafficking came under the spotlight at the 13 th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held 12 – 19 April at the Qatar National Convention Centre. Panellists called for labour-friendly reforms to protect the interests of migrants.
While drawing attention to the importance of a better deal for regular migrants, speakers at the congress were highly critical of loopholes in the current immigration and recruitment procedures in several parts of the world.
It was stressed that governments have a responsibility to protect migrants forced from conflict zones and that even these displaced migrants fall into exploitation from both recruiting agents and employers.
At the event, Maria Gracia Glamarinaro, Special Rapporteur for the UN on trafficking in women and children, said the authorities of such places are duty-bound to ensure better social security to workers, who in many cases, are otherwise victimised and harassed.
Annlina Jokinsen of the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control commented at the congress that one of the best ways to end migrant exploitation and harassment is to impose financial sanctions. Jokinsen’s institution found the approach to have a positive impact on migrants’ lives when implemented in Estonia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden. It also assisted the respective governments in tackling the illegal practices of some employers.
Another panellist, independent expert Liliama Sorrentino, asserted that only a transparent labour system could ensure better working conditions for migrants and also provide a better social security for them. Sorrentino said: ”To facilitate a better work scenario, there should not be any room for a recruitment fee for migrants in search of employment.”