The global community is set to Thursday commemorate the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, under the theme “Committed to the Cause – Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking.”
The theme is celebrating the efforts of first responders to human trafficking, who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines trafficking in persons as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
Trafficking in persons is regarded as a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights, which affects thousands of men, women and children that fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. “About 72 per cent of detected victims are women and girls, and the percentage of child victims has more than doubled from 2004 to 2016,” according to the UNODC.
In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Yet, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized. Therefore, this year’s celebration seeks to underscore the work of first responders through personal stories describing their practical work in assisting victims.
Moreover, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking (UNVTF) is supporting its partners to identify and plan mitigation against risks related to COVID-19 in line with UN processes. As part of its risk assessment and contingency plan, the Trust Fund is working closely with NGOs grantees to collect country-specific information so as to minimise the risks and impact of COVID-19 on project implementation.
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