30 July 2022

ICAT calls on States to harness the opportunities presented by technology to counter trafficking in persons

As the world has continued to transform digitally, so have traffickers who have kept pace by developing sophisticated systems and using technology to commit criminal activities, at every stage of the process, from recruiting, exploiting and controlling victims to transferring the profits of their criminal activities. Rapid technological change presents opportunities for traffickers to adapt their modus operandi, taking advantage of digital platforms to target their victims. As one in every three victims of trafficking detected globally is a child, and one in five girls and one in 13 boys are reportedly sexually exploited or abused before reaching the age of 18, it is evident that children are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals, including traffickers. As a result of school closures and lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in many parts of the world, children had extended periods of screen time and unsupervised Internet access, with more younger children than ever before being introduced to digital platforms. This has increased the risk of children being exposed to, among others, technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and abuse. Aware of the risks of detection, traffickers are using encrypted and anonymised online services to perpetrate crime in an environment of secrecy. Technology allows traffickers to operate across borders and in multiple locations simultaneously and can offer a single trafficker opportunities and channels to connect a victim with many potential buyers of exploitative services, gaining access to an increased pool of customers. This ability to transcend multiple jurisdictions makes detecting, investigating and prosecuting technology-facilitated trafficking in persons difficult. In view of the frequent abuse of technology by traffickers and the related vulnerabilities of migrants, as also highlighted in a Statement this World Day by the UN Network on Migration, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) calls upon all States, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders including the private sector, to harness the immense potential that technology offers in countering trafficking in persons when used in accordance with international human rights principles. Technology provides, among others, avenues through which communities, including migrants and refugees, can connect and share information on risks along migration routes and in relation to trafficking in persons. While technology presents challenges, it also presents significant opportunities that States can leverage to effectively counter trafficking in persons, especially by improving intelligence collection and analysis, investigations and awareness raising.
03 June 2022

UNICEF Assessment on Joint UN Interventions, 2021

This report outlines an assessment of UNICEF’s engagement in joint UN interventions with the aim to establish an organization wide perspective on (i) what is working and not working; (ii) systems issues pertaining to efficiencies around programmatic and operational aspects; (iii) contribution towards UNICEF’s results and the SDGs; and (iv) potential strategies to maximize the benefit derived from joint UN interventions. Findings of the assessment outline the potential benefits derived from well-designed joint UN interventions. These include a shared recognition of the UN working together as a platform for the most efficient use of limited resources; the value added of a multisectoral response; acknowledgement that no single agency can provide a comprehensive response to national priorities in silos; and recognition of the contribution of joint UN interventions to government ownership and sustainable results. The assessment also identifies the need to adequately explore and understand joint UN interventions. The key findings from the assessment exercise have identified the need to · Adopt a structured and evidence-based approach to priority setting · Measure results visa-vis UNICEF and UN-wide priorities and targets · Respond to recurring procedural and capacity gaps · Promote value add of joint UN interventions including through donor UNRCO and UNCT visibility · Facilitate the Resident Coordinator system engagement for programme-driven approaches · Address donor conditionalities and non-compliance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) standards · Incentivize evidence-based engagement for feasible entry points The report was developed by the UNICEF’s Public Partnerships Division under its Joint Programme Portfolio. Please reach out to Solome Zemene (szemene@unicef.org) for any questions on the assessment exercise, final report and the next steps i.e. implementation of recommendations.