Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192. The UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists member States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).
This year, it will focus on the first responders to human trafficking. These are the people who work in different sectors - identifying, supporting, counselling, and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers. People trafficking and modern day slavery is a massive worldwide problem with very few countries immune to human trafficking. During the 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.
People are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced begging, forced marriage; for selling children and as child soldiers, as well as for removal of organs. Whereas, women make up 49% and girls 23% of all victims of trafficking. Through stories from first responders describing their practical work in assisting victims with the intention to spotlight their contribution and that of their function, institution, organisation, team, or community and its impact on fighting trafficking. We shall focus on the positive, recognising the importance of the work done by first responders, as well as seeking support and raising awareness that these actions need to be sustained and replicated.
We at the World Assembly of Youth will work together with the governments, the private sector, civil society organisations, and other United Nations agencies to protect victims of trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse. To prevent such abuses from occurring, and to support the development and implementation of policies aimed at the prevention and prosecution of these crimes and the protection of victims.
On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we urge everyone especially young people to recommit to protect, respect and fulfil the human rights of all migrants and refugees. Creating and supporting well-governed, safe and human rights-based migration and asylum procedures will be an important step towards ending the abhorrent practice of profiting from human despair and misery.
Therefore, education has an important role to play in combating the practice, and raising awareness among youth of the smuggling of migrants and the vulnerabilities and risks linked to it.