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Combatting Human Trafficking

Content by: South-South News

16 March 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — Addressing a Security Council meeting on trafficking in persons in conflict situations, Secretary-General António Guterres said that modern manifestations of servitude implicate us all, pointing to examples of how consumer goods, such as smartphones and food, “may bare, wittingly or unwittingly, the traces of exploitation.”

Guterres told the Council on March 15 that “global supply chains have transformed many lives for the better, but not always without cost” and said “gleaming new skyscrapers may owe some of their shine to the sweat of bonded laborers.”

The Secretary-General said, “Smugglers often coerce and manipulate individuals for profit and make them victims of sex or labor trafficking. Terrorists and violent extremists use sexual enslavement as a tool for recruitment. Drug traffickers use kidnaping and ransom to finance their operations, and criminal gangs force unaccompanied children into a life of petty crime.” Moreover, he noted “impunity prevails.”

Putting his prepared remarks aside, Guterres said, “Most political leaders around the world are afraid of the impact of drugs in their families, but they don’t think likely that their families would be impacted by human trafficking. And probably that is why we have seen much more priority given to fighting drug traffickers than to fight the traffickers of human beings. But, of course, drug trafficking is an awful crime, but to traffic human beings is, I must say, much worse.”

Addressing the Council via teleconference from Vienna, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, said, “Clearly international responses to human trafficking continue to fall short, and we cannot accept the status quo.”

Fedotov said, “The best way we can swiftly improve action against trafficking and protect the vulnerable is to fully implement and make use of the frameworks we have worked so hard to build, and more effectively deploy the tools we have painstakingly created to confront human trafficking in all its forms.”

According to UNODC’s 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, issued in December, victims of trafficking are found in 106 of 193 countries. Many of these are in conflict areas, where the crimes are not prosecuted.


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