Wednesday December 08, 2021

UNGA president stresses need to address root causes of human trafficking

Published : 23 Nov 2021, 02:42

  DF News Desk

Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. File Photo: Manuel Elias/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua.

UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid on Monday stressed the need to address the root causes of human trafficking, reported Xinhua.

"We must continue to improve capacities to prevent and respond to human trafficking. And we must address the root causes that facilitate the trafficking in the first place," he told a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Human trafficking deprives millions worldwide of their dignity and freedom. It undermines national security, distorts markets, and enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and is an affront to universal values, he said.

In adopting the Global Plan of Action, UN member states recognized that poverty, unemployment, gender-based violence, discrimination, and marginalization, are among contributing factors, said Shahid.

Those contributing factors have all been exacerbated by COVID-19, he noted.

The continuing pandemic has left survivors of trafficking with less support and weakened states' ability to identify and hold perpetrators accountable, he warned. "It is imperative that the global community redoubles its efforts to recover better from the pandemic and build resilient communities."

Shahid also stressed the need to prioritize a victim and survivor-centered approach to combating human trafficking -- one that includes survivors in policy development; one that considers how existing policies and practices impact trafficking, including those on human rights, gender equality, migration, labor, education, and health; and one that adopts a whole-of-society approach to combatting trafficking, that strengthens partnerships between governments, civil society, and the private sector, while integrating the perspectives of survivors and recognizing trafficked persons as agents of change.

Human trafficking is, first and foremost, a severe human rights violation, one that thrives off prejudices and systematic inequalities, including gender inequality, discrimination, racism, and xenophobia, he said. "As we develop anti-trafficking frameworks and devise new methods of identifying and protecting victims, we must consider how the interplay of various prejudices and iniquities render individuals more vulnerable."

He pointed out the fact that migrants are among the most discriminated against and marginalized communities, and, therefore, among the most vulnerable to human trafficking.

"We have a responsibility to implement policies which reduce migrants' risk of being trafficked, during every stage of their journey. And we must introduce additional measures to ensure the effective protection of migrant workers within their host societies," he said.