Abdulla Shahid spoke at the opening ceremony of the two-day high-level meeting to review progress in the implementation of the United Nations Global Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was adopted by the General Assembly in July 2010 .
Recovery and resilience
Mr. Shahid said that the ongoing pandemic has reduced support for human trafficking survivors, and the ability of countries to identify and hold perpetrators accountable has also been weakened.
“The global society must Redouble efforts to recover better from the pandemic And build resilient communities,” he Tell Member states.
“This includes getting more research, data and analysis on how this crime is committed, how it evolves, and its goals and impacts. This will allow us to make better decisions about preventive measures and responses.”
The pandemic increases vulnerability
People of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities may fall victim to human trafficking, which is related to criminal activities such as illegal capital flows, the use of forged travel documents, and cybercrime.
Victims include people who are marginalized or in difficult circumstances, such as undocumented immigrants. Others may desperately need work or education opportunities.
Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Office of Drugs and Crime), explaining that vulnerabilities have increased during the pandemic due to lockdowns, interruption of studies and loss of livelihoods.
She said in a pre-recorded message: “The COVID crisis has prevented many victims from accessing basic services.” “More time online has also led to more exploitation and abuse of technology.”
Women and girls are vulnerable
In her Comment, The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed pointed out, Women and girls become disproportionate targets of human trafficking. They are forced to marry, including child marriage, as well as domestic servitude and forced labor.
She said that children are increasingly being targeted by traffickers. They use social media to recruit new victims and profit from the demand for child sexual exploitation materials.
Ms. Mohamed said that ending human trafficking requires support for countries to establish strong legal institutions and frameworks to deal with such crimes.
“Survivors should be at the core of policies to prevent and combat human trafficking, bring perpetrators to justice, and provide effective remedies, including compensation,” she added.
Amplify the voice of survivors
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Shahid, expressed his gratitude to the survivors who participated in the meeting, saying that their presence “proved the tenacity of the human spirit.” He emphasized the importance of listening to them.
Malaika Oringo from Uganda is the founder of an organization called Footprint to Freedom. She read the famous quotes of survivors. They hope their narratives can be integrated into policies and counter-trafficking actions. She urged countries to learn from its experience.
“Because survivors know directly the strategies and tactics used by traffickers to enslave victims, I call on everyone, Member States, to use the wisdom of survivors and invest in survivors’ leadership,” she said.
Ms. Oringo outlined several suggestions made by survivors, including shifting from “symbolic” participation to meaningful partnerships and improving the treatment of victims in legal proceedings.
After the opening ceremony, countries passed Political declaration Reiterate their commitment under the United Nations Global Action Plan.
They expressed solidarity with the victims and survivors, and recognized their role as “change agents” in the global fight against human trafficking, and at the same time recognized the need to incorporate their views and experiences into efforts to prevent and combat crime.