Increased protection for people trafficked in war and emergencies

Caritas urges governments to identify and protect victims of human trafficking linked to conflict by supporting grassroots action and research.

On 30th July, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Caritas wants to draw attention to trafficking and exploitation in large-scale migrant movements of migrants – particularly of those fleeing conflicts and emergencies.

“Trafficking resulting from conflict is rarely taken into account in the long-term help given to refugees, but those trafficked because of conflict and emergencies suffer a double blow. They have the vulnerability of the refugee but they also suffer the exploitation of a person in slavery,” says Martina Liebsch, head of policy and advocacy at Caritas Internationalis.

Boys are being forcibly recruited into armed militia.

Boys are being forcibly recruited into armed militia. Photo by Caritas

Caritas asks governments to improve the mechanisms to identify victims. It asks to increase the prevention of human trafficking linked to conflict – particularly of people in refugee camps or travelling along migration routes – by strengthening legislation and ensuring the implementation of anti-trafficking laws. Such people need to be protected and effort needs to be made to ensure refugees are aware of the risks.

Caritas urges the international community to support the research and analysis of patterns of trafficking in conflicts and the factors which make people vulnerable in order to support effective actions to prevent trafficking and protecting the people’s dignity of refugees and migrants.

According to research by Secours Catholique-Caritas France, economic exploitation is the most common manifestation of trafficking among people escaping conflict or emergencies. This arises from refugees’ difficulties in gaining legal access to labour markets. There is also an increased risk of child labour and sexual exploitation.

Caritas Internationalis and the Pontifical Council  for the Pastoral Care of Migrants will look at trafficking and conflict and other trafficking phenomena at an international conference they have organised in Abuja, Nigeria from 5-7 September.

Hosted by Caritas Nigeria, the conference will bring together Caritas organisations and bishops’ conferences from across Africa, plus faith-based and civil society organisations and others who are committed to fighting human trafficking. Participating organisations will look at patterns of trafficking and exploitation in Africa with an aim to combating it.

A United Nations high-level meeting on large movements of migrants and refugees on 19th of September 2016 will also provide a good opportunity to address this issue.

For more information please contact Michelle Hough at+39 334 2344136 or


Please give to Caritas generously. Your support makes our work possible.


Caritas brought together a collection of prayers and reflections for you to use.


Volunteers make a crucial contribution. Find out how you can be one.