This World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) reiterates its commitment to counter human trafficking and empower its survivors.
Trafficking in persons is both a product and a driver of inequality. It violates human rights and undermines sustainable development, with its impact falling disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable.
It is also antithetical to the rule of law.
This year’s theme, “Use and abuse of technology” recognizes the role that technology can play in both enabling and countering human trafficking.
Over the last two years, COVID-19 has created new and unprecedented opportunities for technologies to be used as a tool to identify and coerce victims of trafficking.
Technologies have also allowed traffickers to expand their networks more efficiently, while evading detection.
While technologies can pose significant risks, they also offer boundless opportunities for the prevention and prosecution of trafficking.
Technologies can assist law enforcement officials to more effectively identify, track, and disrupt trafficking networks. They can also be used to help increase awareness of trafficking among potential victims and effectively distribute support services to survivors.
IDLO is committed to building the capacity of actors across the criminal justice chain to harness new technologies and develop more effective responses to trafficking in persons.
In Liberia, for instance, IDLO has been supporting the development of a digitized Case Management System (CMS) that aims to strengthen reporting, follow up, and coordination on trafficking in persons cases among law enforcement and justice actors.
This technology-focused work is part of a holistic approach to countering trafficking that includes capacity building, joint trainings, and standardized curricula to strengthen the effectiveness of prosecution-led investigations. In 2021, also IDLO supported the revision of Liberian Trafficking in Persons Legislation, leading to the Revised Act to Ban TIP (2021), which introduces a more victim-centred approach and reinforces penalties for perpetrators.
IDLO is delighted that this work has contributed to the recent upgrading of Liberia from Tier II Watchlist to Tier II by the United States State Department in the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.
IDLO looks forward to building on this work to enhance cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of trafficking in persons cases in the Mano River region.
Countering trafficking in persons is essential to upholding human dignity and protecting human rights. IDLO stands ready to work with partners to continue to advance this work, with a principled, human-rights based approach to technology at its centre.