High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons – September 27 and 28, 2017

Today is the second day of the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  Member states are continuing to make their country statements in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, NY   If you want to red your country statement check HERE and navigate to your country statement over the 27th and 28th.

On Wednesday morning the session began with the adoption of the  The Political Declaration in 6 languages

Together with the plenary there were three important session – the official opening and two panels.  For the official opening that following presented statements:       H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly  UN Webcast             H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General   UN Webcast                                         H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime                                                                                                                                           Ms. Mira Sorvino, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking   UN Webcast                                                                                                              Ms. Grizelda Grootboom,  Civil society representative and a human trafficking survivor represented the power of survivor leadership and the critical importance of Member States to address sex trafficking and the exploitation of prostitution.   UN Webcast marker 34:32

Griselda

Grizelda is from South Africa.  Do listen to her experience of being trafficked.   “Welcoming the fact that the United Nations were gathered to address human trafficking — and that Member States had committed to implementing the Global Plan — she pointed out that women and girls made up 96 per cent of trafficking victims.  “Sex slavery is just another form of oppression, especially for the black child,” she said.  “It is so important to hear the voice of survivors,” she said, adding that it was also important for victims and survivors to see the commitment of the United Nations to helping them.  She stressed that she was not speaking because she wished to be an activist, but because she understood the true pain of being a sex slave.  She concluded by expressing hope that the Plan of Action would not take action merely on paper, but in every community, township and city across the globe.”  Read more

Grizelda is from South Africa.  Do listen to her experience of being trafficked.   “Welcoming the fact that the United Nations were gathered to address human trafficking — and that Member States had committed to implementing the Global Plan — she pointed out that women and girls made up 96 per cent of trafficking victims.  “Sex slavery is just another form of oppression, especially for the black child,” she said.  “It is so important to hear the voice of survivors,” she said, adding that it was also important for victims and survivors to see the commitment of the United Nations to helping them.  She stressed that she was not speaking because she wished to be an activist, but because she understood the true pain of being a sex slave.  She concluded by expressing hope that the Plan of Action would not take action merely on paper, but in every community, township and city across the globe.”  Read more

The Assembly’s first panel discussion was titled “The Global Plan of Action and effective partnerships for the prevention and prosecution of trafficking in persons: achievements, gaps and challenges, also taking into consideration the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Panel 1 was chaired by Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium), it featured presentations by                                                                                                                             Purna Sen, Director of the Policy Division, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women);                                                                 Kevin Cassidy, Senior Communications and External Relations Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO); and                                                                                                 Rani Hong, Chief Executive Officer, The Tronie Foundation.

Panel 2:  The Assembly’s second panel discussion addressed the theme, “the Global Plan of Action and effective partnerships for the protection of and assistance to victims, including through the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, also taking into consideration the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.  Chaired by Alya Ahmed Saif al‑Thani (Qatar), it featured three panellists:                           Benita Ferrero‑Waldner, Chair of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons;                                                                                         Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary‑General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York; and       Joy Ezeilo, Executive Director of Women Aid Collective.

Good Shepherd was able to address the Assembly during this panel.  Webcast  Marker 56.58    Read full statement HLP Global Plan Final Sept 27 2017

Winifred HLP GPOA 2017

The Holy See made a statement during this session also paying tribute to the work of Religious Sisters throughout the world. See marker 34.32

 

Reappraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person September 27 and 28, 2017 at the United Nations, NY.

Trafficking in Person is an important issues to be reviewed with an appraisal of  the Global Plan of Action on September 27 and 28, 2017.  This is a high level meeting over two days following the opening of the 72nd Session of the United Nations under

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 4.45.29 PMthe new President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, (Slovakia).  The new President has outlined his vision and priorities under five headings – peace, migration, sustainable planet, human dignity and modern UN.

In September 2018 we will have the adoption of the the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.  Consultations continue with the last consultation to be held in Geneva on October 12, and 13.  Concurrently regional consultation are being held.  The intergovernmental negotiations will commence soon.  The website is very informative and updated.

Preparation for the appraisal of the Global Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons has been on going over a number of month and culminated with a  Political Declaration which will be adopted on September 27th.   A full list of document and a report on the stakeholder meeting held on June 23rd can be accessed HERE

Many NGO’s attended the Stakeholders meeting on June 23rd.  The NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons had prepared the CSTIP Advocacy Doc for Global Plan of Action.

The Political Declaration proposes to be strong using language such as ‘evince our strong political will to take decisive concerted action to end this heinous crime,…’  While there is reference to the integrated and indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a reference to combating all forms of trafficking in person,  Good Shepherd advocacy is a clear call for specifically referencing the three targets where trafficking in person is mentioned in the 2030 Agenda – target 5.2 (on trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation), target 8.7 (forced labor and child labor) and 16.2 (all forms of trafficking in children) to be given equal priority.

Trafficking - 5.2 8.7 16.2 GPA CTP

We are concerned that the trafficking of women and girls under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 5.2 is falling under the radar for both Member States and the United Nations. For example, the recent High Level Political Forum reviewing SDG 5 made no reference to sex trafficking even though Target 5.2 specifically outlines the need to address the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls.  Check out blog post of July 5   While various forms of violence were mentioned under 5.2 human trafficking was not. 

ViennaThis same point I made during the  Thematic Session in Vienna September 4 and 5 ‘Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrant and trafficking victims.’ Read the full  Statement 5th Thematic Consultation on the Global Compact on Migration

Below are three powerpoint with up to date information on human trafficking.

Global Plan of Action Slides English

Global Plan of Action Slides French

Global Plan of Action Slides Spanish

 

 

 

July 30th ‘World Day Against Trafficking Persons.’ Who’s saying What…

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This picture comes from the UN Geneva Website.   The theme of the day is “Let’s act now to protect and assist trafficking victims”.  Executive Director of UNODC has issued the following  STATEMENT calling attention to the links between conflict and trafficking and migrant smuggling.  “The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants calls for nations, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to enter a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. In preparation, the UN General Assembly will hold a session in Vienna, Austria, on 4-5 September 2017 to discuss these issues, particularly the protection and assistance needed in connection with trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants”.  (I hope to attend this session in Vienna on 4-5 September)

Special Rapporteurs Maria Grazia Giammarinaro (Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children) and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio,  (Special Rapporteur on Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children) speaking ahead of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Sunday 30 July issued this STATEMENT expressing much concern for children and what is happening to them. The title of the statement is ‘Migrant children at risk of trafficking and exploitation as current protection systems fail them’.

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.11.09 PMExplanation of the raison d’être of the day can be had in English   French and  Spanish

‘Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons’

This year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has chosen ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons’ as the focus of the World Day. This topic highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time — the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants. The theme puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face. It addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses: that most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided.        #HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking

World Mission Magazine published by the Comboni Fathers in the Philippines published three articels on Human Trafficking in their July edition.

We are all complicit Winifred Doherty, Contributor.  A crime gainst children … Fr Shay Cullen, Preda Foundation, and Religious combating human trafficking, Clara Torres Acevedo, Comboni Missionary Sister.  Coming soon … the on line version!

Global Sisters Report has an article entitled “The worldwide debate on sex work: morality meets reality”

Lastly the GSIJP prayer for the the month was prepared on this very theme by Donatus Lili, the NGO Regional Designate for Africa.  While all of the material above is in English only the prayer is in three languages  English  French and Spanish

 

16 Days Campaign to end Gender Based Violence November 25 – December 10

Today is day 3 of the campaign.  Mercy Global Action at the UN in partnership with Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd are engaging in the full 16 days of activism.  #16Days16Stories is part of the UN sponsored 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. Our campaign focuses on the experience of formerly trafficked women and girls who give testimony to gender discrimination and marginalization from childhood into early adulthood.  Their stories, told in their own words, highlight the many human rights violations and cumulative disadvantages in their life journeys. Through their stories, survivor advocates provide key insights into preventative measures to end human trafficking.

The launch video and 16 stories can be accessed by clicking on  #16days16stories  Each day a new video is uploaded.  On the 25th we heard from Aleta who said “from the time I was born I labelled myself as a disgrace because I was born as a result of my parent’s extramarital affair.” On the 26th Emerita who was born in 1992 in Mindanao said “I am the fourth of five children. My father worked in a fishing company owned by his friend but was later fired by the owner because my father had a mistress in the office,” and today November 27th  Katrina shared “when I was two, my mother and father left us in the care of our elder brother, who was 12 at that time. They went to Cebu for work, an island far away from where we lived…”  Having read to the testimony of each women the viewer is asked to reflect for a few moments;  presented with points to ponder and suggested actions to take.

A Guide to using the Videos was also prepared.

16dbanner

The 16 days of activism against gender-based Violence Campaign has as its theme this year ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World’ and proposed that organizations around the world plan a twitter teach-in.   If interested in knowing more about a twitter teach-in  Click Here!    @gsijp  @mercyworldwide are the Twitter handles using #16days16stories and #GBVteachin   The Twitter Teach in @gsijp @mercyworldwide follows the points to ponder and take action of the 16 videos.

Read the book  ‘I Have A Voice – Trafficked Women in their own Words‘ by Angela Reed.  Tomorrow Leah tells her story.  (Please note the videos are available on Vimeo at HERE

Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Taha appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

Nadia                 Ms Murad, a 23 year-old Yazidi woman and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived trafficking at the hands of ISIL, briefed the UN Security Council in the first-ever session on human trafficking, which was held during the presidency of the United States on December 16. 2016. She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014, and witnessing as ISIL fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was subject to grave abuses at the hands of ISIL fighters, and bought and sold various times.

A relentless advocate for victims, Ms. Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2016.” She has met with various heads of state and global leaders to raise the plight of Yazidi victims of trafficking. Her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador will mark the first time that a survivor of atrocities is given this distinction. During her Ambassadorship, Nadia will focus on advocacy initiatives and raising awareness around the plight of millions of victims of trafficking in persons, especially refugees, women, and girls.

The appointment ceremony will take place on September 16th, 3.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

‘Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.’

The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’  The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution.  Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.

There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’  All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women.  Prostitution is one of these violences.

Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’    Read the full article here

Global Sisters Report – July 29th

 

stop-human-trafficking-word-cloud-related-words-sign-38417317Catholic sisters among those embracing international efforts against Human Trafficking writes Chris Herlinger, a reporter for Global Sisters who attended the July 13th ‘side event’ at the United Nations.

‘Mercy Sr. Angela Reed, who represents the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy International Association at the U.N. has conducted extensive research on the issue of sex trafficking in the Philippines and her native Australia.

“There is no quick fix or grand solution for eliminating the exploitation and commodification of people,” she said, stressing that the problem has its roots in poverty and related issues.’   Read the full article here