Although efforts to combat human trafficking have gathered momentum and several international organizations have developed approaches to address it, the phenomenon remains a serious crime, with grave human rights concerns, that is largely overlooked in crisis situations. In addition, human trafficking is typically not considered a direct consequence of crisis. This misplaced assumption, coupled with the fact that counter-trafficking efforts are not necessarily understood as an immediate life-saver in crisis, often hampers the humanitarian response to human trafficking cases, particularly in terms of identification of and assistance to victims.
In reality, as the newly published IOM report Addressing Human Trafficking and Exploitation in Times of Crisis reveals these efforts are a matter of life and livelihood for victims of trafficking and should therefore be considered with as much priority as for any other crisis-affected population and be addressed at the outset of a crisis. The report recommends that human trafficking in times of crisis be urgently included in the humanitarian community, with support from both emergency and development donor communities.