Do you know that every day, in every part of the world, people are exploited by human traffickers for profit? Poor and vulnerable people are constantly at the risk of being exploited by these traffickers. Women and girls constitute over 70% of victims of human trafficking, while children make up nearly one-third of victims. It is important to note that human trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of our rights as human beings. People on a daily basis fall victim to traffickers whether in their home country or abroad. Almost every country in the world suffers greatly from the impacts of trafficking.
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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2003, has received information concerning about 225,000 detected victims of trafficking worldwide. As a guardian to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, the UNODC plays a huge role in helping countries towards efforts aimed at implementing the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol). The Protocol 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. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.’’
In a bid to create awareness about the condition of victims of human trafficking and to promote and protect their human rights, the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action and in the process, adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 which designed July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
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With the theme ‘’Committed to the Cause- Working on the Frontlines to End Human Trafficking,’’ this year’s commemoration is aimed at celebrating the efforts of first responders to human trafficking. These individuals work in various sectors and identify, support, counsel, and seek justice for victims, while also challenging the impunity of offenders. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the extremely important role of first responders is highly demanded due to the fact that restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their jobs more difficult. Yet, their efforts are often overlooked and unrecognized.
Bringing the contribution of first responders to spotlight through their stories which describe their practical work in helping victims overcome the harms or psychological effects of human trafficking is the focus of this year’s observance. The role and contribution of first responders as regards their function, institution, organization, team, or community and its impact on fighting trafficking will be brought to limelight. Aside from revealing how first responders have remained committed despite COVID-19, their stories will also focus on their achievements as well as emphasize on the need to support and raise awareness for the replication and sustenance of their actions.
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