UN chief calls for more determination to combat human trafficking

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for more determination in countering the menace of human trafficking.

The Secretary General made the remarks at Wednesday’s High level meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, in New York.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, tens of millions of people are victims of forced labour, sexual servitude, and recruitment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The Secretary General noted that trafficking in persons grips the weakest and most vulnerable, mostly women and girls.

He, however, indicated that boys are also cruelly exploited for sex and vital organs while children are forced into endless begging and men into brutal labour.

The Secretary General again noted that countless businesses in the global north and south alike benefit from the misery” and named some as construction, food production as well as consumer goods, and many other enterprises”.

He maintains trafficking is “often intertwined with racial, gender and other forms of discrimination”.

In recent years, rising conflict, insecurity and economic uncertainty have brought new tests.

As millions of children, women and men spill out of their countries towards safety, they fall victim to some of these mistreatments. Thousands of people have died at sea, in deserts and detention centers, and at the hands of wretched traffickers.

General Secretary Antonio Guterres warned that Terrorist groups such as Daesh and Boko Haram continue to seek the capture and enslavement of women, girls and boys. He added that‘these gangs and groups are global, well organized, are technologically savvy, and highly proficient in taking advantage of gaps in governance and weaknesses in institutions”.

He bemoaned the fact that “too often, human traffickers operate with impunity, and receive much less attention than, for instance, drug traffickers” and demanded change.

“I have seen many drug lords in jail – and rightly so.  I have never seen a human trafficking lord in jail.”

He indicated that the Security Council has adopted important resolutions targeting the financing of both terrorists and traffickers.

He also admitted that the Security Council must strengthen support to victims, particularly through the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which provides crucial assistance to survivors.  No one should have to confront the trauma of their experiences alone.

He concluded by stressing the need for greater cooperation among member States. He also noted that “fighting human trafficking requires greater use of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children”.

By Mercy C. Adjabeng|3FM92.7||Ghana

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