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Role of Organized Criminal Groups with regard to Contemporary Forms of Slavery, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Cecilia Polizzi, Mariem Hamdy

/ Report

In 2021, the CRTG Working Group responded to a Call for Input launched by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. This submission provides a detailed exploration of the types of criminal groups involved focusing on the alarming prevalence of modern-day slavery within the Syrian Arab Republic, the nature and extent of their activities, the existing legislative frameworks, victims' access to justice and remedies, challenges faced in combating slavery, and the impact of COVID-19 on these criminal operations.

In this document, the CRTG Working Group sheds light on the realities of contemporary slavery in Syria, highlighting the involvement of organized criminal groups in perpetrating heinous acts such as human trafficking, child soldier recruitment, sexual exploitation, sexual slavery, and forced marriages. The report examines the activities of key criminal groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), People's Protection Units (YPG), Ahrar al-Sham, and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), providing crucial insights into their ideologies, structures, and modus operandi.  In addition, it delves into the legislative frameworks implemented to combat contemporary forms of slavery in Syria. It examines relevant laws and decrees addressing human trafficking, child recruitment, and terrorism, and evaluates their effectiveness and enforcement. Finally, the report discusses the provision of assistance to victims who have endured enslavement under organized criminal groups, scrutinizing the existing victim identification processes and access to justice and remedies.

Throughout this analysis, the CRTG Working Group identifies and evaluates the key challenges encountered in combating contemporary slavery in Syria, emphasizing the urgent need for comprehensive measures and international cooperation to address this grave human rights violation. The report underscores the importance of creating sustainable assistance mechanisms for victims and survivors and establishes the call for strengthened legislative frameworks and intelligence-led law enforcement efforts.

Finally, the publication examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the modus operandi of organized criminal groups involved in contemporary forms of slavery in Syria. By analyzing the patterns of exploitation and recruitment during the pandemic, the report highlights the emerging challenges and vulnerabilities faced by victims in the wake of this global health crisis.

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Shaping Futures

@2023 CRTG Working Group

New York City

Working Group on Children Recruited 

by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups Corp. 

EIN 30:1232924

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