International Day Against Human Trafficking: What Measures is Vienna Taking?

People ♦ Published: July 29, 2022; 11:07 ♦ (Vindobona)

International Day against Trafficking in Persons is held every year on 30 July in order to raise awareness of human trafficking and its consequences. This year's theme is "new technologies that enable and prevent trafficking in persons."

Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery. / Picture: © Wikipedia / RaphaelQS

The United Nations uses 30 July each year to highlight human trafficking and its consequences. This year's International Day against Trafficking in Persons focuses on new technologies that can both enable and prevent trafficking.

The primary reason for this choice of theme is the global expansion of technology use, which has increased dramatically, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift of everyday life to the internet.

The internet and digital platforms offer traffickers unprecedented opportunities to recruit, exploit and control victims, arrange their transport and accommodation, recruit victims and reach potential clients, communicate with perpetrators and hide criminal proceeds - all with greater speed, cost-effectiveness and anonymity.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) campaign aims to draw attention to the role of technology this year with a social media photo challenge.

Viennese efforts against human trafficking

On the occasion of the International Day against Trafficking in Human Beings, Vienna's Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr, together with Katie Klaffenböck, anti-trafficking expert, is also drawing attention to despicable acts, current problems and the measures taken by the City of Vienna.

"As a human rights city, Vienna has a duty to pay attention to human trafficking and its effects in order to take concrete measures," said Deputy Mayor Christoph Wiederkehr.

In recent years, the effects of the ban on entering brothels and the effects on sex service providers in the context of human trafficking, the exploitation of care workers and, most recently, the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the increased risk of fleeing people becoming victims of human trafficking have been the dominant topics.

Combating human trafficking is therefore a central focus of the human rights work of the City of Vienna.

"Close exchange with national and international organisations and awareness-raising work are of great importance. The earlier and more specifically human trafficking is recognised, the more effective protective measures and prevention can be. Especially those seeking protection should be able to trust that they can feel safe in Vienna," says Wiederkehr.

Instrumental in the fight against human trafficking is the Human Rights Office of the City of Vienna, which coordinates the exchange, and the Child and Youth Welfare Service of the City of Vienna, which regularly conducts training sessions.

"Humanitarian crises increase the risk of human trafficking. The reports of exploitation of displaced persons from Ukraine are deeply worrying for IOM. There are already suspected cases in Austria as well. By raising awareness of central contact points, possible trafficked persons can be identified more quickly and referred to specialised assistance services," says Katie Klaffenböck, anti-trafficking expert at IOM Austria.

UN United Nations

Vienna City Government - Magistrat der Stadt Wien