Monday, March 28, 2011

Stop Human Trafficking

"Modern slavery – be it bonded labor, involuntary servitude, or sexual slavery – is a crime and cannot be tolerated in any culture, community, or country … [It] is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State

Here's a question - have you heard of human trafficking? Show your hands. As of a year and a half ago, I hadn't. I had heard of the sex slave trade, but I didn't have any idea to what extent it existed or how widespread it was. I also didn't realize that the term human trafficking also spread to fair wage issues and modern day slavery. I consider myself to be pretty well informed - and I wonder - how could such an epidemic be under so many people's radar?

In the Fall of 2009, we had the privilege of meeting with Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He hosted our first video on human trafficking. When we began production on What You Can Do, we didn't think there was much a person could do to help fight this huge issue in only a minute. According to Mr. Costa, we were wrong. He said that one of the things needed most in fighting human trafficking is getting the general public informed. He told us that it is the "fastest growing trans-national crime affecting every area of the world." People have got to spread the word.

Today, as my one minute action - I would like to share with you some information that I have compiled about human trafficking and ask you to forward this link. Consider joining The UNODC's Blue Heart Campaign to help raise awareness for this issue.

Let's make a commitment to educate at least one person on this issue, and ask that they do the same.

For the most up to date information on Human Trafficking, please visit - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime or The United States Department of State.

According to article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons 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.

Human trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.Smuggling migrants involves the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident. Virtually every country in the world is affected by these crimes. The challenge for all countries, rich and poor, is to target the criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.

On the basis of the definition given in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, it is evident that trafficking in persons has three constituent elements;

The Act (What is done)
Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

The Means (How it is done)
Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.

The Purpose (Why it is done)
For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

To ascertain whether a particular circumstance constitutes trafficking in persons, consider the definition of trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the constituent elements of the offense, as defined by relevant domestic legislation.

No comments: