Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Duped, Sold into Prostitution, then Rescued: A Vietnamese Girl and the Man Who Saved Her
Monday, May 20, 2013
Brazil joins Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking
10 May 2013 - Brazil is the latest country to join the Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking, with singer Ivete Sangalo appointed as a national UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and face of the campaign. There are millions of victims of human trafficking across the globe. The campaign aims to mobilize Brazilian society against this crime.
The launch was marked at a ceremony in the Brazilian Ministry of Justice yesterday, 9 May 2013, and counting with the presence of UNODC's Executive Director Yury Fedotov, Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo, Ms. Sangalo and several senior government representatives. During the event, the singer was officially appointed by Mr. Fedotov: "Ivete Sangalo is one of the most respected, popular and successful artists in Brazil. Her music transcends Brazilian borders. Now she will be able to lend her beautiful voice to those who have no voice".
Ms. Sangalo explained that her role as the campaign's ambassador in Brazil will be to bring to the public the facts about this invisible crime, and remind people of the power of transformation they hold through denunciation. "The Blue Heart is a way of making the red heart beat", she said.
Minister of Justice Cardozo said the campaign puts into practice one of the main commitments of the Brazilian National Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, published recently: "The most important thing is to avoid this crime. Prevention is a key aspect of the campaign, so people can be conscious, denounce and allow actions to be taken to prosecute the criminal and protect the victim."
UNODC's Executive Director said: "No country can escape from this terrible crime, which directly violates the most fundamental human rights. Trafficking in persons can happen in your country, in your city, in your street and even in your own house. That is exactly why the Blue Heart Campaign was created, to raise awareness at a global level about this problem that is all around us. Therefore, all the nations have the responsibility of confronting trafficking."
According to Mr. Fedotov, in order to eradicate this crime, a comprehensive and coordinated approach is needed at national, regional and global levels.
With the slogan "Freedom can't be bought. Dignity can't be sold. Denounce trafficking in persons", the campaign adds Brazil to the international advocacy movement against this crime. One of the key activities will be an awareness raising video featuring Ms. Sangalo to be aired on Globo Television, reaching out to millions of viewers.
As part of the campaign, a website site was created and flyers, posters and pins will be distributed in centers and offices for combating trafficking in persons all over the country. The Secretariat for Human Rights, the Secretariat for Women's Policies and television giant Globo TV are also partners.
For the Brazilian National Justice Secretary, Paulo Abrão, the use of Blue Heart as common and universal symbol allows for wide social mobilization and facilitates the identification of centers of support to victims and denunciations. Mr. Abrão explained that the slogan is a statement to Brazilian society that human beings are not commodities, and that the government is determined to combat trafficking in persons.
Implemented by UNODC in 10 countries, the Blue Heart Campaign seeks to encourage involvement and inspire action to help to stop the crime of human trafficking. It allows people to show solidarity with the victims of such trafficking by wearing the Blue Heart, an international symbol against human trafficking.
Trafficking in persons is a crime that ruthlessly exploits women, children and men for countless reasons, including forced labor and sex.
In Brazil, between 2005 and 2011, 514 denunciations of human trafficking were investigated. Two thirds - 344 - of the enquiries were related to forced labour. The other 157 are for international trafficking and 13 are for internal trafficking - a form of human trafficking in which the number of denunciations is quite low. One of the aims of the campaign is also to mobilize society to denounce human trafficking via hotlines established in key regions.
Campanha Coração Azul (Brazilian Blue Heart Campaign website)
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Egypt calls for international cooperation to address human trafficking
The United Nations General Assembly held a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss efforts in combating human trafficking. Egypt’s chief delegate to the UN in Geneva, Hisham Badr, delivered a statement to the General Assembly on behalf of the government in which he “stressed the importance of international and regional cooperation in the fight against human trafficking”.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Badr warned the General Assembly of the danger of the spread of such crimes that contribute to the growing contemporary forms of slavery, calling it “incompatible with the simplest norms of universal human rights”.
Badr said there is a need for concerted efforts from the international community to combat the funding of human trafficking operations through the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA), adopted by the General Assembly in 2010.
The GPA was adopted by the General Assembly in the hopes it would pressure member states to take “coordinated and consistent measures to try to defeat the scourge”, the UN reported in 2010.
Badr told the assembly it should also strengthen the international commitment to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol) adopted in 2000 and ratified by 154 member states as of March.
He also spoke on efforts made by Egypt on a national level to combat human trafficking, which includes the establishment of a national committee tasked to combat the phenomenon in 2007. This committee, Badr said, involves several organs of the state and is tasked with creating “tough legal frameworks to criminalise and punish such crimes” and to strengthen security services’ ability to confront such crimes.
In October 2012, conservative members of Egypt’s parliament had scrapped an article in the constitution which aimed at combating child trafficking. The Salafi parliamentarians argued human trafficking does not exist in Egypt and therefore laws regarding it were not needed in the constitution.
Badr spoke of the “five pillars” of the war against human trafficking; commitment and political will, continued evaluation and revision of existing mechanism, strengthening of cooperation at an international and regional level, coordination with the relevant agencies and authorities and the involvement of all other parties involved, which includes private institutions from the civil society.
There is a need to hone the international will to fight human trafficking through an integrated strategy of cooperation in the implementation of upstream countries along the NileRiver, Badr said. He added that cooperation would lead to an increase in awareness and the exchange of information would contribute to the overall understanding of how human traffickers operate. This in turn would aid in the efforts to eliminate human trafficking and ensure the prosecution of those involved in such crimes.
The statement stressed that one of the fundamental aspects in addressing the root causes of that crime is to strengthen international cooperation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of poverty in the countries where human trafficking originates. The reduction of poverty, according to Badr, would reduce the opportunities for the exploitation of the victims of organised criminal networks.
The UN estimates 2.4 million people are victims of the $32bn human trafficking industry. These victims are pushed into forced labour and domestic servitude, sexual work and serve as child soldiers.
“No effort must be spared to bring to an end the servitude of millions, while helping the survivors rebuild their lives,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said during the opening of the two-day meetings.
“To achieve this, law enforcement officials, border control officers, labour inspectors, consular and embassy officials, judges and prosecutors, as well as peacekeepers, must not only increase their vigilance, but be further sensitised to the needs of victims,” Jeremic stressed.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report published in December 2012 nearly one third of all victims of human trafficking detected around the world between 2007 and 2010 were children.
Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive director, called on member states of the assembly that have yet to ratify the UN protocols and conventions to do so in order for it to be implemented universally.
“This modern form of slavery creates millions of victims,” Fedotov said on Monday. “So far, 175 states are parties to the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and 154 to the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Fifteen countries have ratified the protocol since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action in July 2010.”