Solutions to End Human Trafficking

CNN Freedom Project Conference

The Link Campus University will host the globally broadcast event “Solutions to End Human Trafficking”, as part of the CNN Freedom Project.

The event is meant to stimulate an internationally relevant debate on modern forms of human exploitation in the context of the current migration crisis in Europe. The discussion will explore concrete ways to tackle the root causes of trafficking in human beings with a preventive approach.

High-level representatives from the European Union, the Italian government and NGOs will take part in the event. Migrants will also be present and give voice to their points of view.

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Conference schedule

19:00 Discussion, with Q&A
20:30 Wrap-up and conclusions

Richard Quest

Fmr. Italian Foreign Minister

Nigeria’s Director-General of NAPTIP – (Anti-Trafficking efforts)

Special Policy Advisor to Director-General of International Organization on Migration

President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation

In the frame of the Freedom Project, CNN aims at amplifying the voices of the victims of modern-day slavery, highlight success stories and help unravel the tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life.


Full air times for “CNN Freedom Project – Solutions to End Human Trafficking on CNN International:

Channel 526 Sky

Saturday 9 December – 22.00 CET

Sunday 10t December - 03.00 and 12.00 CET

Panel of experts urge prevention, co-operation, raising awareness and implementation of existing laws to solve human trafficking taking place as part of Europe’s migration crisis

This week, CNN International is reporting on the migration crisis that has seen millions of refugees enter Europe since 2015.

Following CNN’s recent exclusive reporting on migrants being sold in Libya by smugglers, the CNN Freedom Project is looking at how migrants are falling victim to modern day slavery and human trafficking. Reports air on CNN International throughout this week looking from issues in origin countries to the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, and the fate that awaits them in the sex trade or as labourers in destination countries.

A special hour-long panel discussion CNN Freedom Project – Solutions to End Human Trafficking will first air on CNN International at 22.00 CET on 9 December Sky Channel 526. Hosted by Richard Quest and in collaboration with Link Campus University in Rome and the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation, the show brings together top government and human rights experts from Europe and Africa.

These experts – Gervais Appave, Special Policy Adviser to the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Franco Frattini, Former Italian Foreign Minister; Julie Okah-Donli, Director-General of NAPTIP, Nigeria’s Anti-Trafficking Agency; and Joanna Rubinstein, President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation - look at the issues around identifying human trafficking survivors and dismantling the criminal operations lurking inside this international migration crisis. Guests such as Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Sciences, also contribute to the debate.

Quotes from the following excerpts from the panel discussion - which was filmed at Link Campus University in November - can be used with the credit that they will feature in CNN Freedom Project – Solutions to End Human Trafficking” airing on CNN International at 22.00 CET on 9 December. Full air times and information about the CNN Freedom Project are below the excerpts.


The extent of modern day slavery amongst migrants:

Gervais Appave: “We have just done a survey of about 22,000 migrants who’ve come across the Mediterranean and 73% of them indicated they had been subjected to a form of exploitation amounting to human trafficking.”

Why people are migrating to Europe:

Julie Okah-Donli: “Some come because they want a better life. Some are coming because they get deceived. Some are actually abducted. Sometimes you are going to school and you’re kidnapped on the way to school. And you find yourself in a country that you know nothing about. It’s a trade, so there are various factors.”

How religions must come together to fight modern day slavery:

Monsignor Sorondo: “In this subject all the religious can act together… to defend the human dignity, to defend freedom… And this question of the new form that the Pope called extreme form of the globalisation of indifference is absolutely necessary that all religions work together in the defence of humanity. I think this is fundamental today.”

The role of organised crime on the exploitation of migrants:

Franco Frattini: “There is unfortunately a close link between those traffickers and organised crime in Italy… It is not properly mafia but it is organised crime working with the method of mafia and organised crime groups.”

Gervais Appave: “There is a terrible normality about it. An awful normality, that traffickers are organised. This is a traffic in the real sense of the word. This is an industry. It is commercial and people are the things that are being people are trafficked in the trade.”

Potential collusion between enforcement and the traffickers:

Julie Okah-Donli: “I can assure you that some of the law enforcement agents are part of the trafficking. They are settled by some of the trafficking gangs. And they are based in the destination countries. They work with them. They know exactly what is going on.  They are part of it.”

Why many women trafficked into the sex trade aren’t going to the police and others for help:

Julie Okah-Donli: “For every girl you see out there, there is a pimp watching her someone is controlling this girl. They are not in control of themselves. They are all being trafficked. And they’re making millions of Euros off these girls. They have put the fear of the devil in them, some of them before they left Nigeria. They are made to swear what we call African magic, Juju. And they give them the impression if you run away, or if you talk, or if you report, you will die. They will tell them if we know your family, we know your brothers, your sisters, all of that.”

Gervais Appave: “We’ve got to realise, they’re caught in their despair. In order to make it to Europe they’ve paid an enormous amount of money. They’ve invested everything they had so they’re in debt, they’re in bondage. So when they're at destination, even when something terrible happens, they cannot go back. They’ve got to stay and try to recoup the investment.”

What solutions might help end human trafficking in this way:

Gervais Appave: “We need regional solutions… Countries of the Northern Shore must be able to work with countries of transit and countries of origin. There are no easy solutions but we need cooperation in this field.”

Franco Frattini: “We cannot deal with uni-dimensional solutions. I think we need to be able to pull that together within a broader framework. Let me not be abstract and talk about woolly policy. Take the case of Libya. I think we need to be able to work with such a country in order to manage its borders effectively. That must be part of it. The borders are porous. The regular migrants are pouring in from the south and there are problems in the Mediterranean. That’s one issue. Then it has a huge labour migration problem inside they are trying to resolve. There are development issues, political issues. We need to work on all of them.”

Julie Okah-Donli: “Information sharing between the countries of origin, transit and destination. Most of the time we have a problem with truthful information, transparent information and full disclosure. When we give all the information that is required we do not get the reciprocal thing coming from the countries of destination. This trust is not there. We should have joint operations, we should have joint investigations. Mutual legal assistance. But all of this is missing.”

Gervais Appave: “There’s been progress. Look I don't want to sound wishy-washy about that and just to give the impression that there are great solutions on the way. But I think we've got to acknowledge that there is progress. There's greater cooperation now since the crisis between Europe and Africa. No everything's not perfect.”

Julie Okah-Donli: “What I think should be the way forward should be prevention and more prevention. In the first place all of these are kind of reactive solutions. We need to prevent this thing from happening in the first place by creating awareness and we need to also look at the destination countries and reduce the demand. Demand is what is driving the supply.”

Joanna Rubinstein: “You can’t address such a multi-faceted problem with one solution. It’s not just the traffickers. It’s not just the government… We have not been focusing on how we can help the other side in how we can prevent the problem from happening in the first place. And how we can strengthen our systems when we receive the migrants.”

Julie Okah-Donli: “We need to look at the root causes of what are those factors that make irregular migration to thrive what are those that also make trafficking to thrive in the destination countries. So if the destination countries address those factors and the origin country the countries of origin address those, then I think we'll make a headway.”

Franco Frattini: “The only way to succeed is to raise awareness. This is the only way to save the face of the richer part of the world. Otherwise we should be aware that it's an untenable situation, we lose our moral face. It is a problem of humanity. It is not the problem of business. It is not a problem of making business or changing business. It is a human problem, is a problem of recreating a humanism. In Italy we created Humanism centuries and centuries ago. Now it's time to create a Humanism in the 21st century. This is the only way to succeed. Otherwise we make it confusion between business and what is not business. This is humanity.”

Joanna Rubinstein: “When these kids actually end up on the street it's the responsibility of the country or of the city and all its citizens… There shouldn't be a citizen that is seeing such a child and not reacting. The traffickers is one thing then we have the demand. So how do we deal with the people who are buying these services?”

What change needs to happen to laws and their implementation in Europe, specifically in Italy:

Franco Frattini: “There are good laws opening the door for a legal labour market. Those laws are not implemented. There’s still too much tolerance vis a vis black labour market. This is a pull factor. In Italy every year in Autumn people are used as slaves to pick up tomatoes in the South of Italy. These are also slaves but this cannot be tolerated by Europe as a whole, this is not a problem of Italy. It’s a European issue.”

Franco Frattini: “There should be a change on the implementation of existing laws. Zero tolerance vis a vis those who are recruiters and employers - who use those people for 1 dollar or 1 Euro per day. This is slavery. There should be more cooperation between police forces of different member states of Europe. There is not enough cooperation. Thanks to the Italian police many are caught, but it's not enough.”

Julie Okah-Donli: “The destination countries, they look the other way. Because if you go to the hotels, you go to the restaurants, you see immigrants there. Where did they come from? How did they come? Who do they pay? They are paid by labour agencies. Cheap labour agencies. That’s what they do. They know they exist but they do nothing about it.”

Gervais Appave: “Laws are there. Implementation is hugely difficult prosecution is a mighty challenge as Mr. Frattini was saying. Gathering evidence in order to gain a conviction is extremely difficult so clearly this is an area where more resources are needed.”

The role that the private sector can play:

Gervais Appave: “We've said all through this evening that one of the biggest problems underlining migrant trafficking is grey labour or black labour -  demand for people who are exploited for their labour. And I think that the corporate leaders of the world are coming to realise that and they are acknowledging now that there is very often a problem with their labour supply chains. They’re conscious of that and they are coming forward to speak to us and to speak among themselves to say that this has to be addressed.”




Full air times for “CNN Freedom Project – Solutions to End Human Trafficking on CNN International:

Channel 526 Sky

Saturday 9 December – 22.00 CET

Sunday 10t December - 03.00 and 12.00 CET

About The CNN Freedom Project

The CNN Freedom Project produces original reports, articles and documentaries on human trafficking in all of its forms – from debt bondage in India to sex trafficking rings in Southern California and African slaves in the Sinai desert. Since its launch in 2011, the multi-award winning CNN Freedom Project is among the most successful and highly visible programming initiatives on CNN International. It has generated more than 500 investigative stories of modern-day slavery from across five continents. Various NGOs report that these CNN Freedom Project stories have contributed to changing laws and corporate policies, led to more than 1,000 survivors receiving assistance and sparked more than $24 million in donations to anti-trafficking organizations. The Essam & Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF), which shares the same values of the Freedom Project and has a commitment to pursue peace and remedy injustices in areas such as human trafficking, has supported the CNN Freedom Project since March 2015. They have collaborated with CNN on a number of initiatives including a high-profile special event at Harvard’s Belfer Center, and a partnership with Italy’s Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) to educate young people across the country about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

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