Categories for United Nations

Humanitarian Crisis In Ukraine Is Turning Into Human Trafficking Crisis: UN Envoy

June 24, 2022

New York [US], June 6 (ANI/Xinhua): The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is turning into a human trafficking crisis, warned Pramila Patten, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, on Monday.

From the outset of the conflict, heightened risks of trafficking in persons, including for purposes of sexual exploitation and prostitution, have been alarmingly evident, Patten said.

The lack of consistent vetting of accommodation offers and transportation arrangements is a serious concern, as well as the limited capacity of protection services to address the velocity and volume of displacement, she told a UN Security Council meeting on conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking in the context of the Ukraine conflict.

There are also concerns regarding the multiplicity of volunteers, with limited vetting, and little or no training or experience, she added.

In her visit to a Tesco supermarket-converted receiving center for Ukrainian refugees in Przemysl, Poland, she found “grave security and protection concerns” in a facility run by volunteers, and with only a “bare-bones presence” of UN agencies.

Humanitarian staff at the site gave credible anecdotal accounts of attempted human trafficking, said Patten. With minimal security screening, a man registered as a volunteer at the Tesco center in the afternoon and entered the “French room” where refugees were waiting for transport to France. At that time, he made contact with a 19-year-old woman, whom he later woke up in the sleeping hall at 2 a.m., offering a ride to France, she said.

Read the full story on The Print.

Human Trafficking: UN Chief Calls For Action As Covid Leaves ‘Many Millions’ More Vulnerable

October 4, 2021

Highlighting how the COVID pandemic has pushed as many as 124 million more people into extreme poverty, the UN chief insisted that “many millions” have been left vulnerable to the scourge.

Half of victims in low-income countries are children, Mr. Guterres noted, just ahead of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, adding that most are trafficked for forced labour.

“Criminals everywhere are using technology to identify, control and exploit vulnerable people,” the UN chief said, adding that children are increasingly targeted through online platforms for sexual exploitation, forced marriage and other forms of abuse.

UNODC campaign

Coinciding with this year’s World Day, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has launched a campaign titled ‘Victims’ Voices Lead the Way’ to put a spotlight on victims’ untold stories, and on their roles in the fight against trafficking.

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly, said “victims’ voices are key to preventing trafficking, supporting survivors, and bringing perpetrators to justice.” Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened vulnerabilities to trafficking, she said “victims’ contributions are more critical than ever”.

UNODC assists countries and all stakeholders in implementing the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, and in developing victim-centred approaches. Through the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, the agency also provides essential support to victims, and helps empower them as part of the response.

Ms. Waly called on all Member States to support the fund and help amplify victims’ stories.

Racism and xenophobia

“Rather than being protected and assisted without discrimination as children at risk, child victims of trafficking are treated as irregular migrants or subjected to criminal prosecutions, and have their age and credibility questioned,” said UN-appointed expert on human trafficking, Siobhán Mullally.

Ms. Mullally joined the call for action, stating that “racism, xenophobia and gender-based discrimination are putting the human rights of trafficking victims at risk and enabling those who carry out the illegal trade to continue with impunity.

“Instead of being identified as victims of a serious human rights violation, victims are being arrested, detained, denied assistance and protection and even forcibly returned to countries of origin because of racial profiling and discrimination at border crossings and in criminal justice systems.”

Read the full story on UN News.

Human Trafficking: UN Chief Calls For Action As COVID Leaves ‘Many Millions’ More Vulnerable

August 5, 2021

Highlighting how the COVID pandemic has pushed as many as 124 million more people into extreme poverty, the UN chief insisted that “many millions” have been left vulnerable to the scourge.

Half of victims in low-income countries are children, Mr. Guterres noted, just ahead of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, adding that most are trafficked for forced labour.

Criminals everywhere are using technology to identify, control and exploit vulnerable people,” the UN chief said, adding that children are increasingly targeted through online platforms for sexual exploitation, forced marriage and other forms of abuse.

UNODC campaign

Coinciding with this year’s World Day, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has launched a campaign titled ‘Victims’ Voices Lead the Way’ to put a spotlight on victims’ untold stories, and on their roles in the fight against trafficking.

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly, said “victims’ voices are key to preventing trafficking, supporting survivors, and bringing perpetrators to justice.” Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened vulnerabilities to trafficking, she said “victims’ contributions are more critical than ever”.

UNODC assists countries and all stakeholders in implementing the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, and in developing victim-centred approaches. Through the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, the agency also provides essential support to victims, and helps empower them as part of the response.

Ms. Waly called on all Member States to support the fund and help amplify victims’ stories.

Read the full story on UN News.

New Un Report Reveals Impact Of COVID On Human Trafficking

July 27, 2021

The study further assesses how frontline organizations responded to the challenges posed and continued to deliver essential services, despite restrictions across and within national borders.

Online prey

Meanwhile, traffickers took advantage of the global crisis, capitalizing on peoples’ loss of income and the increased amount of time both adults and children were spending online.

“The pandemic has increased vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons while making trafficking even harder to detect and leaving victims struggling to obtain help and access to justice,” said UNODC Executive Director, Ghada Waly.

“This study is an important new resource for policy-makers and criminal justice practitioners, as it examines successful strategies to investigate and prosecute human trafficking in times of crisis. It also provides recommendations on supporting frontline responders and victims and building resilience to future crises.”

The report shows that measures to curb the spread of the virus increased the risk of trafficking for people in vulnerable situations, exposed victims to further exploitation and limited access to essential services for survivors of this crime.

“Traffickers prey on vulnerabilities and often lure their victims with fake promises of employment,” explains Ilias Chatzis, Chief of UNODC’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, which developed the new study.

Read the full story on UN News.

Speaker: Pandemic Shines Light On Inequities Driving Human Trafficking

April 11, 2021

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on “overlapping inequalities” in society around the globe, said Good Shepherd Sister Winifred Doherty.

In doing so, it “has revealed fault lines” in current systems and structures that are “the carriers” of root causes of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation, she said in a keynote speech March 8.

“COVID-19 has exposed and exploited overlapping inequalities as well as weaknesses in our social, economic and political systems and is now threatening to undo and reverse years of human development,” she said during a virtual conference on human trafficking.

“The global public health crisis that is COVID-19 is exacerbating gender injustice while furthering economic inequalities in countries and between countries,” Sister Doherty added.

The pandemic also “has been a wake-up call with regard to our interconnectedness across the planet,” she said.

Sister Doherty, who represents the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd at the United Nations, spoke on the first day of the two-day “Shine the Light Human Trafficking Conference: Root Causes and Intersections on Human Trafficking,” which included survivors, service providers and advocates as speakers and drew close to 500 participants.

It was sponsored by the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd along with Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Justice Team.

The day Sister Doherty spoke was International Women’s Day, and she wished participants well for the observance but quickly added: “For so many girls and women, it is not a happy day, as girls and women for the most part do not experience gender justice or have their dignity upheld.”

Quoting U.N. statistics for 2018, the latest figures available, she said for every 10 victims detected globally, about five were adult women and two were girls, and about one-third of the overall detected victims were children — girls and boys — while 20% were adult men.

“Trafficked children detected in low-income countries are more likely to be exploited in forced labor, and in higher income countries, (they’re) more frequently trafficked for sexual exploitation,” she added.

Read the full story on Catholic News Service.

Traffickers Found Targeting More Children As COVID-19 School Closures Fuel Danger

March 9, 2021

LONDON, Feb 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Human traffickers worldwide are increasingly targeting children and will likely exploit school closures during the coronavirus pandemic to abuse the young, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Children make up a third of trafficking victims who are uncovered – a share that has tripled in the past 15 years, with girls mainly exploited for sex and boys forced into work, a report by the U.N. Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found.

About 49,000 victims were detected and reported in total in 2018 – up from 24,000 in 2016 – according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which was based on research conducted before the start of the pandemic.

While worsening poverty and job losses spurred by COVID-19 have left millions of people globally at risk of trafficking, out-of-school children are especially vulnerable, UNODC said.

About 222 million schoolchildren – one in eight pupils – are affected by school closures, according to UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency. The figure hit 1.6 billion in April last year.

“It is particularly alarming that in recent years more and more children are being targeted by traffickers,” UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said during a virtual briefing.

“Already targeted and potentially at risk, youth who are denied their right to education will particularly find themselves easier prey for traffickers,” she added.

Trafficking of children is more prevalent in poorer countries where it is linked to child labour, according to UNODC, which said young people are “easier to exploit” when communities are used to sending them to work away from home.

Read the full story by Kieran Guilbert on Thomas Reuters Foundation News.

Shining A Light On Sexually Exploited Women And Girls Forced Into Crime

February 25, 2021

A 2017 criminal case in Canada, to take one example from the report, involved an 18-year-old woman defendant was charged with the forced prostitution of two female minors, aged 14 and 16. She had instructed one of them on how to dress, and what to do with clients, and taken away the cell phone of the other, to prevent her from escaping.

She was found guilty and sentenced to eight months in prison. However, it was revealed during the case that she too was a victim of sexual exploitation. The court heard that she was under the control of a male trafficker, and had been exploited from the age of 16, and physically abused by pimps.

The case, which is included in Female Victims Of Trafficking For Sexual Exploitation As Defendants, a new publication from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows the complexity of many human-trafficking-related cases, in which the defendant may also be a victim, who either had no alternative but to obey an order, and commit a crime, or hoped to limit their own exploitation or escape poverty by playing a role in the crime. The study also found that traffickers use the women and girls as a shield to protect themselves from being punished for their crimes.

“Ever since UNODC started collecting statistics on human trafficking 15 years ago, women and girls have consistently represented the majority of reported victims”, says Zoi Sakelliadou, a UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, who coordinated the development of the study.

“We’ve also seen that the percentage of female perpetrators of trafficking who are at the same time victims of this crime, is steadily high too, especially if compared to female offenders in other crimes. The traffickers not only earned a profit by sexually exploiting the victims, but then made them commit crimes so they could escape liability and prosecution”.

 

Read the full story on UN News.

Exploited and Prosecuted: When Victims of Human Trafficking Commit Crimes

February 21, 2021

Vienna (Austria), 16 December 2020 — Women and girls, who are often themselves victims of human trafficking and are sexually exploited by criminal gangs, are being prosecuted and convicted for human trafficking-related crimes, according to a new UNODC publication.

These victims often have no alternative but to obey an order. Some hope to limit their own exploitation or escape poverty by playing a role in the criminal process.

Yet at the same time, the traffickers use the women and girls as a shield to protect themselves from being punished for their crimes.

These are the findings of a new UNODC study which aims to shed light on this alarming trend. The publication highlights the complexities faced by victims of human trafficking, with a view to assist the authorities and victim support services that handle such cases.

“Ever since UNODC started collecting statistics on human trafficking 15 years ago, women and girls have consistently represented the majority of reported victims,” says Zoi Sakelliadou, a UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, who coordinated the development of the study.

“We’ve also seen that the percentage of female perpetrators of trafficking who are at the same time victims of this crime, is steadily high too, especially if compared to female offenders in other crimes.”

It was not just the statistics that led UNODC to analyze this topic, explains Ms. Sakelliadou, but also the calls from law enforcement and criminal justice officials to research this trend further.

“Police officers, prosecutors and judges we cooperate with have repeatedly stressed the complexity of investigating and adjudicating cases that involve female victims of trafficking as alleged perpetrators,” she adds.

The key finding of the study was the double exploitation and victimization of the women and girls in the cases that were examined.

“The traffickers not only earned a profit by sexually exploiting the victims, but then made them commit crimes so they could escape liability and prosecution,” says Zoi Sakelliadou.

“They deliberately used them in low-level roles that were more exposed to law enforcement authorities – meaning they were more likely to get caught.”

Read the full story from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime

UNODC Supports INTERPOL to Target Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking

February 11, 2021

Vienna (Austria), 14 December 2020 — An INTERPOL-led operation against migrant smuggling has led to more than 200 arrests among criminal networks that were involved in the smuggling of around 3500 migrants throughout the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Up to 100 potential victims of human trafficking were also rescued during the operation, known as “Turquesa II”, which brought together authorities in 32 countries across four continents, with Brazil serving as the coordination hub.

UNODC crime prevention experts have been supporting INTERPOL since preparations got underway this past February and will continue to play a key role in the post-operation phase of this major operation.

“Multi-agency cooperation is essential to stop migrant smugglers and human traffickers, and rescue victims,” says Ghada Waly, UNODC Executive Director.

“I am proud of UNODC’s contribution to Operation Turquesa 2, leveraging our criminal justice expertise, networks and cross-border coordination capabilities.”

UNODC, through its extensive network in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, facilitated the coordination between law enforcement agencies and specialized prosecutors in the preparation phase of the operation, to enable the joint actions.

From 27 November until 3 December, coordinated and increased controls were conducted at transit and entry points in the participating countries; including airports, bus terminals, and border crossings.

The locations and times of the controls had been determined months in advance based on intelligence about potential migrant smuggling and human trafficking activity.

Read the full story from The United Nations.

United Nations’ Global Response to Human Trafficking

January 14, 2021

CAPE TOWN – This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Palermo Convention, a gathering of the United Nations that defined the world’s response to human trafficking.

The convention, adopted by the UN General Assembly represented a major step in the fight against transnational organized crime especially the prevention, suppression, and punishment of trafficking in persons.

According to the UN, the trafficking response protocol developed in Palermo was the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons.

“The intention behind this definition is to facilitate convergence in national approaches with regard to the establishment of domestic criminal offences that would support efficient international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights,” said the UN.

It is estimated that 40.3 million people are trapped in this modern-day slavery, with women and girls accounting for more than 70 percent of detected human trafficking victims.

A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) reveals that globally, the trade brings criminals $150 billion annually ( R2 trillion)

To read the full story by Rudolf Nkgadima on Independant Online: Click Here