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Persons concerned by the fight against trafficking

Trafficking in human beings is a crime against humanity concerning all of us:

  • The public can help potential victims by reporting a suspicious case to the appropriate authorities.
  • Professionals on the ground play a central role in the fight against trafficking in human beings. By being trained in victim detection, referral and care, they ensure that victims’ rights are respected, and traffickers judged for their crimes. Here is a non-exhaustive list of field professionals involved in the fight against trafficking:
    • Legal sector: judges, magistrates
    • Security sector: judicial police officers, customs police
    • Labour sector: labour inspectors
    • Health sector: doctors, psychologists
    • Social sector: associations and NGOs, social workers, child protection services
  • Most countries also designate a coordinating body at the institutional level to coordinate the fight against and prevention of trafficking in human beings. For example, Tunisia created  the National Authority to Combat Trafficking in Persons (INLTP) under Organic Law No. 2016-61 of 3 August 2016 on preventing and combating trafficking in persons.
  • The private sector also plays a role in the fight against trafficking. Through control processes and compliance with the laws and regulations in force, companies can ban exploitation within their company but also among their partners and suppliers.
  • Journalists, by communicating on this theme, make it possible to raise awareness among the population and potential victims.
  • Embassies and consulates can prevent cases of international trafficking by raising awareness among people wishing to migrate for professional reasons, for example by alerting them to the risks of responding to an advertisement on the internet. They can also facilitate contact between professionals in the field in the context of supporting a victim of transnational trafficking.
  • International organizations also play a role, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the voluntary return of the trafficked person.

The difference between detecting and identifying a victim

To detect a case of trafficking in human beings is to know how to recognize that a given situation meets the definition of trafficking in human beings: the action, the purpose of exploitation and the use of a means that eliminates any question of consent on the part of the victim. Anyone can detect a victim of trafficking.

Identifying a caseof trafficking means assessing evidence that reasonably indicates that a person is a victim of trafficking in human beings and even if no investigation has yet been initiated or successful. Only field professionals formally designated by the authorities can formally identify a victim of trafficking.

Preventing trafficking, prosecuting perpetrators and protecting victims cannot be achieved without identification of victims. In conclusion, it is necessary to organize the detection and identification of the victim. Detection is the first step and identification is the procedure that takes you to the next step.

Indicators for the detection and identification of victims

Identifying a victim of trafficking is often difficult, as a victim rarely considers herself as such. Indeed, the victim may deny its situation of exploitation out of fear of reprisals from the trafficker. They may also be unaware of their situation, or they may be under the influence of the person who is exploiting them.

In order to support professionals in the field in the detection of victims of trafficking, many States have chosen to develop a list of indicators for the detection and identification of victims of trafficking in human beings. In case of suspicion of a case of trafficking, the field professional can refer to this list. If one or more indicators are present in the situation faced by the field professional, he may choose to refer the person to the services in charge of the formal identification of victims of trafficking, as well as to specialized care services.

Victim identification indicators are intended for governmental and non-governmental organizations, but also for any institution, association or person likely to come into contact with a victim of trafficking. These lists make it possible to increase the reporting rate of alleged victims in order to better respond to the scourge of trafficking in human beings.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has developed a list of indicators that remains a reference in this area.

In addition, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) encourages each country to draw up its own list. Here are some examples of lists of indicators developed at national level:

Lists of indictors are often divided into two groups:

  • GENERAL INDICATORS, which are common to all types of farms
  • SPECIFIC INDICATORS, which are specific to a type of farm

Here are some examples of general and specific indicators from UNODC’s list of indicators

General indicators

Victims of trafficking may:

  • Believe they are forced to work against their will
  • Be unable to leave their work environment
  • Show signs indicating their movements are being monitored
  • Feel like they cannot leave
  • etc.

Specific indicators

Indicators for identifying victims depend on the type of exploitation. These indicators may also vary depending on the region, age and gender of the person. The following are examples of lists of specific indicators *.

Sexual exploitation

Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation may:

  • Move from one brothel to another or work in various locations
  • Always be accompanied when going to work, leaving work, shopping, etc.
  • Have tattoos or other marks showing they “belong” to their trafficker
  • etc.

Forced labour

Victims of trafficking for labor exploitation are often forced to work in sectors such as agriculture, construction, entertainment, services, and industry (clandestine workshops). They may:

  • Live collectively at their workplace and rarely or never leave
  • Live in degraded, unsuitable places like agricultural or industrial buildings
  • Lack appropriate work clothes, such as protective gear or warm clothing
  • Victims of trafficking for labor exploitation are often forced to work in sectors such as
  • etc.

* These lists are not exhaustive

This site has been designed with the support of the European Union and the Council of Europe within the framework of the joint program entitled "Support Project for Independent Bodies in Tunisia" (PAII-T), co-financed by the two organizations and implemented by the Council of Europe.

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