Human trafficking is a modern day manifestation of slavery and servitude that affects a minimum estimated 800,000 to 900,000 victims globally each year. Chattel slavery, debt bondage and forced labor are among the most traditional and long-recognized forms of trafficking. The definition of trafficking has expanded to include many forms of gender violence which were not initially recognized by mainstream policy makers as "slavery" or "trafficking." Forced marriage, prostitution and domestic servitude now also fall under the definition of trafficking. Traffickers include family members, to members of organized crime, to government and law enforcement officials. The tactics employed by traffickers include outright force and coercive means such as threats to harm victims or family members, intimidation, withholding of travel documents, or threats to report unlawful presence to immigration authorities. Many victims are lured with false promises of employment and are later trafficked when they are unable to escape. Throughout the world, women and children comprise a significant number of trafficking victims, many of whom are forced to engage in forced labor, commercial sex work, prostitution, forced marriage and domestic servitude.
The Great Lakes Regional Anti-Trafficking Protection Partnership (GRAPP) is a three-year Heartland Alliance initiative to provide protection, recovery and reintegration services to victims of trafficking in Burundi and South Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). GRAPP also provides comprehensive cross-border services to women and children who have been trafficked for commercial sex work, forced labor or forced participation in armed conflict.
- Significantly expand trafficking victim identification in both Burundi and South Kivu Province, as well as provide victims with access to emergency shelter;
- Provide high-quality mental health and medical services;
- Support economic reintegration through vocational skills building; and it will support victim repatriation and reintegration;
- Over three years, this project will screen at least 500 suspected trafficking victims in the region. It is expected that at least 200 identified victims will receive a comprehensive service package including protection assistance, counseling, medical care, repatriation assistance and economic empowerment services;
- GRAPP will link to other Heartland Alliance projects to combat trafficking in both Burundi and the DRC, filling critical gaps in the provision of victim services in the region.