IOM Commemorates World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

By Millicent Senava Mannah

Every year, the 30th July is commemorated as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and in that light the International Organization for Migration (IOM) commemorated the day on the 31st of July 2023,  geared towards raising  awareness on the disturbing developments and trends identified, and called on Governments, law enforcement entities and others to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity. The auspicious event was held at the Sierra Palms Resort on Beach Road in Lumley.

The Head of Office and Chair of the UN Network on Migration, Christos Christodoulides, intimated that human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labor and sex. He maintained that since 2003 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225,000 victims of trafficking detected worldwide.

According to him, the theme for this year is “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking, Leave No One Behind” which is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Globally countries are detecting and reporting more victims and are convicting more traffickers. This can be the result of increased capacity to identify victims and/or an increased number of trafficked victims,” he stated.

“Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. Traffickers around the world continue to target women and girls,” he asserted.

Christos continued that the vast majority of detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 35 per cent of those trafficked for forced labor are female.

He assured the audience that they will continue the fight against Human Trafficking, and called on all to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal migration.

The UN Country Director, Babatunde Ahonsi, commended IOM for the tremendous work they have been doing and for transforming the lives of victims, as well as working hard to prevent trafficking.

He said that, in 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat the scourge.

“The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide. One of the crucial provisions in the Plan is the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children.”

In the context of trafficking in persons, leaving people behind means, failing to end the exploitation of trafficking victims, failing to support victim-survivors once they are free from their traffickers, and leaving identifiable groups vulnerable to traffickers.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Melrose Karminity, affirmed the Government’s commitment towards ending trafficking in persons in the country. According to her, that was the reason why they repealed the Act last year to show their strong commitment. She commended IOM for the work they have been doing in the country, helping victims to get back to the country.

She stated that to end human trafficking, we should not allow the crime to be met with increasing indifference and impunity but must strengthen resilience against exploitation and the underlying socio-economic and cultural issues that are conducive to trafficking.

“We must sensitize everyone to the topic of human trafficking and thus push attention towards those who can make a difference in terms of changing policy and national resource management to strengthen prevention measures, improve identification of victims, increase support of survivors and end impunity,” the Minister stated.

To climax the event, one of the victims explained how she travelled through an agent to Lebanon, and when she arrived there, she discovered she has been sold by the Agent. According to her, she was working like a slave in the house she was taken to, and how she was going to bed at 1:00 a.m and waking up at 4:00 a.m.

She maintained that her ordeal made her to escape from the house and was able to come across IOM in Lebanon and how they aided her to get back to the country. She advised people to use the right means to travel and not to go through illegal means tin order o avoid the dangers she went through.


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