HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A MODERN FORM OF SLAVERY

2 By Juliana Marquee Boyd, SNDatUN Intern: Millions of people around the world are trafficked and forced into servitude or into the sex trade by criminal gangs or individuals. Often described as a “modern form of slavery,” human trafficking thrives in many societies and generates astronomic profits for the criminals. According to the International Labor Organization, forced labor, one form of exploitation into which humans are trafficked, generates USD$150 billion revenue a year, while the Global Slavery Index suggests there may be as many as 45.8 million people enslaved. A very significant number of victims of human trafficking are women and children.

On June 21st, 2017, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), representatives of governments, specialists, survivors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assembled at the United Nations (UN) to discuss strategies to combat and end human trafficking as well as to highlight the relevance of the Global Plan of Action and Sustainable Development Goals 5.2, 8.7, and 16.2. The Global Plan of Action (a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010) is a framework that helps Member States in the fight against trafficking of persons. The document is reviewed every few years by the General Assembly. The second section of the Global Plan of Action will be reviewed in September 2017. The latter seeks to promote sustainable peace and prosperity worldwide.

Some of the trafficking issues highlighted during the session were the following: 3trafficking that thrives in societies with high levels of poverty, unemployment, lack of socioeconomic opportunities, cultural issues, gender-based discrimination, and in areas affected by conflict and war. Governments were challenged to prosecute sex buyers and provide assistance to trafficking survivors. The need to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, both in public and private spheres, was also highlighted. The session affirmed the significant commitment and achievement by the governments of Panama and Sweden in combating human trafficking by promoting the decriminalization of sex workers and the prosecution of sex buyers instead.

Speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations, Laura Flores noted that human trafficking happens in every country; crossing multiple borders in origin and destinations. For this reason, she emphasized the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat this societal menace.

The Global Slavery Index: http://bit.ly/2uZTG09

Global Plan of Action Report: http://bit.ly/2ufWol8

United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime: https://www.unodc.org/

 

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UN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS”

newsletter-1Violence against women and girls is an endemic phenomenon. It is wide spread and happens both in the public and private spheres. Violence against women and girls also takes many forms. It could be physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional. To put an end to this human menace, concerted efforts on the part of community, religious, and civic leaders is required. The media also has an important role to play in the eradication of violence against women.
The United Nations (UN) has designated November 25th as the International Day for the newsletter-2Elimination of Violence against Women. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness on the occurrence of violence against women and girls. This day also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign. The 16 Days of Activism is a time to “to raise awareness and galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.” This campaign culminates in the celebration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10. “Women’s rights are human rights” (Hilary Clinton).
newsletter-3The theme for the 2016 Human Rights Day is “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today.” In the midst of what appears to be growing animosity among peoples, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has charged all global citizens to reach out to one another. In his words, “It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity.” Whose rights are you going to stand up for these days?

Read: UNiTE to End Violence Against Women: http://bit.ly/1htCGlg                                                           16 Days of Activism: http://bit.ly/109KHJ1
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:                                                 http://bit.ly/1sXAk2J

COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE OF THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

Message from UN Women:

The Communications Procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women is a unique tool for individuals and organizations to use in order to raise awareness about injustice and discriminatory practices against women in any country in the world. Claims to the Commission on the Status of Women for consideration at its next session (14-24 March 2016) must be submitted by 1 August 2015.

To learn more click here: www.unwomen.org/csw/communications-procedure

 

GIRLS CAUCUS CREATES INDICATORS TO IMPLEMENT CSW 57

WGGAs girls from various regions of the world were strategizing for the 2013 plan to implement the Agreed Conclusions of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women, the Working Group on Girls decided to respond to instances of violence against girls on the local level. They took the caucus statements and framed them into a tool that could be used to: 1) raise awareness of the concerns about violence against girls, and 2) find the potential to change systems and transform villages, countries, and the world into a place to live that is safe, supportive, and joyful for all children and young people.

An instance of leadership in this area was noted in August of this year and reported widely on the Internet: KENYA – GIRLS’ ADVOCACY VICTORY – LANDMARK COURT RULING THAT POLICE MUST INVESTIGATE RAPE & PROSECUTE.
The link is: http://tinyurl.com/lqefrej 

Taking courage from this report, the WGG will gather in groups and plan the future of achieving girls’ potential! If you are interested in joining part 1 of this project, please e-mail Ilaria Buonriposi at wggindicators@gmail.com  and she will send you materials to use.

ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS


“I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence
that affect an estimated one in three women in her life time.
I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets.
And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims heal
and to become agents of change.”

These were the words of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the commemoration of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) designated November 25th of every year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In a resolution, the UNGA invites governments, organizations (including NGOs), and groups to utilize this particular day to raise awareness on violence against women, using various activities. The UN considers violence against women a very serious human rights violation and has made efforts to address this issue. In 1979, the UNGA adopted what is described by many as the international bill of rights for women, that is, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

According to Mr. Ban Ki-moon, it is particularly important to set aside a special date as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women because:

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, both in law and in practice, and as a result persists inequalities between men and women
  • Violence against women impacts and impedes progress in many areas, including movements toward poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and promoting peace and security
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable and incidence can be reduced through preventative actions, advocacy, and progressive movements for women that are both possible and essential
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic with up to 70 percent of women experiencing violence in their life time

The fight to end violence against women must be fought, not just by women themselves, but also by men. This notion was reiterated by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Sebastiano Cardi, at a presentation sponsored by Italian Mission at the UN to mark this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Mr. Cardi noted that “while he was the only man at the panel, the issue mainly concerns men since they are traditionally the perpetrators of the violence.”

Despite efforts by the UN, some of its agencies, and some NGOs dedicated to eradicating this societal menace, violence against women and girls still pervades in various societies and situations. The fact that one out of three women experiences violence in her life time makes violence against women and girls a global crisis that not only affects the individual but also “harms our common humanity.” There is no acceptable cultural or religious justification for any form of violence against women in this day and age.

Domestic violence

In conflict or war situations, sexual violence against women and girls is often used as weapon of war. Thousands of women around the world are being held as sex slaves both within and outside their countries by unscrupulous people. In this age of globalization and technological advancement, transnational trafficking and the use of women and girls as pornographic objects has become a multi-billion dollar industry. However, it is most shocking to learn that the most common place for violence against women and girls is within their own homes, and by the very people they love and trust. The home is the place where one is supposed to feel the safest, yet this is not the case for millions of women and girls around the world. It is within the home that some of the most horrific domestic violence occurs; such examples are girls that are sexually abused by members of their own family or given in marriage as child-brides. Additionally, the practice of female genital mutilation, which deprives girls and women of their bodily dignity and jeopardizes their physical health forever, is often carried out by members of the family.

Although women in some parts of the world fare better than others with regards to access to opportunities and protection from the state, women are still generally marginalized in many cultures. Until every segment of every society is free, no one in that society is truly free. Therefore, the fight to eliminate all forms of violence against women in every culture and society must be taken very seriously by everyone. This observation was made by Moni Pizani, the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). He noted that “no country in the world has fully achieved gender equality and no country is free of violence against women and girls. It will take the leadership of governments, communities, and individuals in all countries to join forces, break the silence, and stand up for the fundamental rights of half of our human family.”

Stop Crime Against Women

It was to this end that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign on November 25 in 2008. This date also marks the start of 16 days of activism to end violence against women. This culminates with the UN International Human Rights Day which is celebrated on December 10 of every year. These efforts are aimed at encouraging UN agencies, NGOs, and individuals to organize activities to raise awareness and push for change in mindset within society and to call for legislation to protect the rights of women and girls by the state.

Read more:
www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/
www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46580&Cr=Violence&Cr1=Women#.Upl-9-I0jQh
www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2013/sgsm15179.doc.htm
www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm

SO CHANGE CAN HAPPEN: UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

Ibanda Toll 1

Marie-Joséphine with
Mary Jo Toll at the UN

In March Sister Marie-Joséphine Ibanda attended the UN Commission on the Status of Women which focused this year on preventing violence against women and girls. Coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Marie-Joséphine knows first-hand the devastating effects of violence against women in her country, especially in conflict situations. She shares her understanding about the causes of violence:

  • Violence against women and girls finds its origin in a socialization or social integration that favors man’s superiority and domination over the woman.
  • Violence is present everywhere in the world; it spares no culture, no race, no country, no social level.
  • Women pay the highest price in national and/or international conflicts, most of all armed conflicts.
  • Women have not yet participated fully in establishing peace in war zones.
  • An absence of political will to implement resolutions to improve the woman’s condition and to sustain new initiatives continually and regularly.
  • Violence against women and girls remains unpunished; that is what perpetuates it.

UNballMarie-Joséphine also noted that “at the entrance of the United Nations in New York, there is a large ball symbolizing an ancient world blowing up, in order for a new world to be born. But if you look carefully, the new world being born is also torn. This is to say, ‘our’ world is continually being fragmented by all kinds of evils, which the United Nations, through different commissions, councils and organizations, tries to find solutions as well as it can.”