By Johanna Kanes, IANGEL Bridge Fellow
IANGEL recently attended a symposium on Restoration & Protection of Human Trafficking Survivors Through Effective Socio-Economic Integration. UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, was the Featured Speaker. The United Nations Association of the United States of America, San Francisco Chapter and the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (of which IANGEL is a member) put on the event, with sponsorship from the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women and the National Council of Jewish Women San Francisco. Panelists included Dr. Emily Murase, the Hon. Susan Breall and Antonia Lavine.
UN Special Rapporteur Maria Giammarinaro presented on innovative and transformative models of social inclusion of trafficking survivors into societies, the subject of her recent report to the UN General Assembly. She discussed the use of the term “social inclusion” and the impact terminology can have on survivors. As a term, “social inclusion” is meant to highlight the importance of quality of life after trafficking, including dignity, employment and family unity. However, the term “social inclusion” is not currently a part of most anti-trafficking measures, including UN treaties, because those documents are not focused on long term solutions. Ms. Giammarinaro compared the term to “reintegration,” which is often used, but pointed out that “reintegration” can have negative implications because returning and integrating into a survivor’s life before trafficking is often not the safest outcome, can be stigmatizing and can lead to renewed vulnerability.
The concern expressed by some with using the term “social inclusion” is that it goes further than agreed upon language in existing treaties. However, words like social inclusion are important for state obligations to “the long term process of giving survivors a transformative [experience] after trafficking. Social inclusion,” Ms. Giammarinaro explained, is rooted in the due diligence standard that includes prevention and rights to remedy for survivors.
Ms. Giammarinaro highlighted the right to remedy as the least implemented, and often most necessary, right. Survivors of trafficking often find it difficult to support themselves and a lack of compensation begs the question of whether the justice system really works for survivors. The right to remedy is, as Ms. Giammarinaro put it, a shift from a criminal approach to a social approach and can help with increasing the quality of life of survivors and lowering rates of survivors becoming victims of trafficking again. Specifically, Ms. Giammarinaro remarked that “criminal justice is important, but not at the expense of the rights of trafficked persons.”
“criminal justice is important, but not at the expense of the rights of trafficked persons.”
The symposium concluded with a panel discussion on ideas and practices for implementing social inclusion. Key takeaways included: incorporation of feminist approaches to empowerment of survivors; successful inclusion often happens when survivors are not segregated when accessing resources; social inclusion should not turn on stereotypical gender roles; and finally, support for survivors should not be conditional.
Join us on Oct 30th for IANGEL’s training on supporting survivors of trafficking.