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

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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

 

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

 

Some interesting blogs on the Human Trafficking

On Friday June 23 there was a multi stakeholder hearing on the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person.  Both organizations – the Greek Orthodox Church and IBVM (Loretto) attended the event and did a summary. See Links below:

From the Greek Orthodox Church at the UN 

From the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) at the UN

As I write this I have just learned the the US Trafficking in Person Report is published.  The link to the report Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017

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“This year’s Report focuses on the responsibility of governments to criminalize human trafficking and hold offenders accountable. To that end, this Report is intended to assist governments in identifying threats so law enforcement agencies around the world can respond effectively and gain insight into where human trafficking remains most severe. The Report will also equip local and sub-national law enforcement agencies to better assist in efforts to target and prosecute those
who commit these terrible crimes.”  An interesting graphics – countries that have not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol.  Good Shepherd are present in 4 of these countries.

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See our advocacy points at the UN  CSTIP Advocacy Doc for Global Plan of Action

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.

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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

Attending the Eight Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime – Vienna October 17 – 21, 2016

 

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Today is day 4 of the 8th Session of the Conference of Parties  (COP8) to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna.  It has been a busy four days with Plenary meeting coupled with parallel meeting of Working Groups, and Side Events.

NGO’s form the  Alliance of NGO’s on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice This group was meeting on Monday morning October 17 to begin to work on a statement to be made in the plenary session under item 2 (b) Trafficking in Persons Protocol.  Read the statement While we were happy to be a contributor to this statement Angela Reed, Sisters of Mercy had the opportunity to make another statement.  cop8_gs_som_oct_2016

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We had the pleasure of meeting Olga Zhyvytsya who was representing Caritas Internationalis, PCMI and several other organizations who also presented a statement.  Good Shepherd had been invited to sign on to this  statement through Good Shepherd International Foundation in Rome.  However due to limited time constraints our signature did not reach in time.

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(Angela and Olga after the statements were delivered)

We had the opportunity to meet with the US Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US National Statement on Transnational Organized Crime  and Ambassador Susan Coppedge, from the US State Department, Trafficking in Person Office.

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US-UN Mission Vienna ‏@usunvie Oct 18.@JTIP_State Amb. Coppedge and @StateINL PDAS Arreaga discuss #traffickinginpersons with NGO’s today at sidelines of #UNTOC #endslavery  (Twitter US-UN Mission Vienna)

Today the NGO’s had a meeting with the newly elected president of COP 8 Her Excellency Pilar Saborío de Rocafort,  exploring paths of cooperation on #HumanTrafficking.

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There were many side events – co-sponsored by NGO colleagues whose members we know in New York – Soroptimist International and Zonta.  We met colleagues too from the European Women’s Lobby, ECPAT (Austria), Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) International Federation of Business and Professional Women.  One event entitled ‘The many aspects of trafficking – Health aspects, trafficking of human organs and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal, sex exploitation’ was co sponsored by Zonta and Soroptimist International was moderated by His Excellency Per Anders Sunesson of Sweden.

 

 

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.