On 18 June 2015, PHAP hosted an online briefing and consultation in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Caritas Internationalis on "Trafficking in persons in times of crisis" in support of the World Humanitarian Summit.

This event featured:

  • A discussion and Q&A with Dr. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children
  • A presentation of the findings of the research carried out by IOM on the manifestations and responses to trafficking in persons in times of crises in the MENA region, with a focus on Iraq and Libya
  • A presentation of the action research on trafficking in persons in conflict and post-conflict situations carried out by Caritas
  • The possibility for participants to provide their views on how humanitarian action can better meet the challenges related to trafficking in persons in emergency contexts

Event description

Human trafficking is a complex crime against human beings – a severe human rights violation. It is constituted of three key elements: the act (recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons), the means (coercion or threat in order to have control over a person), and the purpose (exploitation). Exploitation may take various forms: sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, forced begging, organ removal, slavery and slavery-like practices. These three elements need to be connected to be able to define this phenomenon as trafficking in persons. In the case of children, only two (act and purpose) out of the three elements need to be present to be able to define trafficking.

In the middle of an armed conflict – as much as in a natural disaster – migrants, displaced people, other mobile groups, host communities and specific groups or individuals, including women, children, adolescents and ethnic minorities are often the victims of these phenomena. Crises tend to exacerbate pre-existing exposure to risks, threats, abuse and exploitation and introduce new risks and threats. Human trafficking is indeed one of them, taking various forms before, during and after the crisis; but in specific instances still, certainly profiting from the crisis to flourish and remain unpunished .

From November 2014 to May 2015, IOM has conducted research on the manifestations (and responses ) of human trafficking in the contexts of ongoing regional crises in Iraq (including also the impact of the Syria crisis) Libya and Tunisia as part of a global effort of structuring a response to human trafficking and prevention of exploitation of mobile populations in times of crises. IOM has collected best practices from past and on-going humanitarian responses in Haiti, Philippines, Nigeria and most recently Nepal.

Likewise, since January 2014, Secours Catholique-Caritas France, a member of Caritas Internationalis, has coordinated a research-action to study trafficking in conflicts in the Euro-Mediterranean region including a qualitative analysis of forms of trafficking among refugees and other affected people in conflict and post-conflict situations. Caritas members from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, Lebanon and France have participated in the research-action.

IOM and Caritas wish to share their research findings but also engage in a consultation with humanitarian practitioners to discuss how to comprehensively respond to human trafficking in times of crises. This event builds on an onsite discussion on the same topic organized as a side event during the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2015.


Dr. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro Dr. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children in June 2014. From March 2010 to February 2014 she was the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). In this position she hosted the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, a platform for consultation and cooperation including UN Agencies, International Organizations and NGOs. She served from 2006 until 2009 in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security in Brussels, where she was responsible for combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. She drafted the EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. She has been a Judge since 1991 and currently serves as a Pre-Trial Judge at the Criminal Court of Rome.
Laurence Hart Laurence Hart is Head of the Migrants Assistance Division at the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He also previously held other headquarters and field positions with IOM, having been Chief of Mission in Tripoli from 2006 to 2011. Laurence has extensive expertise in migration management, such as AVRR, counter-trafficking, border management, migration and development, labor migration, and emergency response. He holds a EU Masters' Degree in Human rights and Democratization from Padua and Bochum University.
Agnes Tillinac Agnes Tillinac is a consultant and Counter-Trafficking expert. She has been conducting research for IOM on human trafficking in times of crisis since November 2014. She has worked for IOM in a number of conflict and post-conflict settings, including during the Libya crisis of 2011.
Sarah Craggs Sarah Craggs works at IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as Regional Migrant Assistance Specialist. She provides technical support to IOM’s regional programming on migrant protection, anti-human trafficking, voluntary return and reintegration for stranded migrants in need of humanitarian responses, mixed migratory flows, and assistance to other vulnerable migrants such as unaccompanied minors. Recently, she has supported research on human trafficking in times of crisis.
Olivier Peyroux Olivier Peyroux is a sociologist. His work with child victims of trafficking notably from the Balkans has involved him with in-the-field consulting assignments on local and European child protection issues for national and international organisations including the OSCE and the European Union. His research has been widely published in scientific journals and he is regularly consulted by the media on trafficking and child protection issues. In addition to his non-profit commitments to children at risk, he is a legal expert on trafficking in human beings for the French judiciary. Finally, Olivier served as consultant for the Caritas France-Secours Catholique research-action on "Trafficking in human beings in conflict and post-conflict situation"s.
Geneviève Colas Geneviève Colas is coordinator of the network "Together against traffickin in human beings" organized by Secours Catholique - Caritas France. She is in charge together with Caritas Internationalis of questions of counter- trafficking in human beings, protection of unaccompanied minors and juvenile justice. She is the coordinator of a network called "Together against trafficking in human beings" gathering 23 associations in France on prevention, public awareness, support for victims, training professionals on advocacy while promoting networking of associations and public actors. She is part of the coalition against trafficking in France and is a member of the Platform of Civil society against trafficking created by the European Commission. She was previously responsible for the Europe and Central Asia division of Secours Catholique - Caritas France and worked on institutional support to NGO partners and advocacy especially in the areas of justice, peace, migration and the fight against poverty.

Event host

Angharad Laing Angharad Laing Executive Director, International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)


Recording (YouTube - faster loading time)

Recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality)

Event recording (downloadable audio podcast)

Event report