New York, 1 December 2020 - The business of human trafficking and forced labor makes an approximate profit of $150 billion annually, and impacts the lives of over 40 million victims worldwide.
Fighting against these serious violations of children's rights are key objectives to eliminate violence against children when the world enters the ‘Decade of Action’ to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in the framework of SDG Targets 8.7 and 16.2 to End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture of children.
The office of the Special Representative joined forces with ILO, the League of Women Voters and the Permanent mission of Australia in a lively virtual panel on "Bankrupting the business of human trafficking’, an event moderated by Conny Czymoch.
In her opening remarks, SRSG Maalla M'jid recalled the long-term impact of violence in the cognitive, emotional and rational development of young people that experienced or witnessed violence in their early years and how child victims became more vulnerable in the current pandemic context.
"The COVID-19 pandemic weakened institutions and exacerbated trafficking issues for vulnerable groups, particularly children, who lack common basic life skills and opportunities who become even more vulnerable and are more likely to be taken advantage of" stressed Dr. Maalla M'jid.
The panel discussed effective strategies to address modern slavery, trafficking and labor exploitation acknowledging the existing relationship between a supply chain for exploitation of children that is directly related to a high demand of cheaper good produced though the exploitation of cheaper forced labor a practice that is progressively becoming more sophisticated.
"The promotion of bold legislative reform to comprehensively criminalize trafficking needs to be enacted on a state level, and rolled out worldwide. Trafficking and forced labor are a clear violation of human rights and a crime against humanity, regardless of pressures from powerful businesses the opposition to trafficking and forced labor needs to be unequivocal. "said Ms.Beate Andrees, chief of the ILO NY office.
Governing bodies also need to recognize social and child protection services as life-saving and essential services. The continued funding of research to capture a better understand and address the root causes of this "plague" and effectively protect those at greater risk is paramount.
2021 will be the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and in antecipation of that important landark the panel proposed concrete solutions to be taken immediately to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking such as the need to assess thoroughly the labor supply chains of companies, to award government contracts to companies that demonstrate “Zero Tolerance” for human trafficking, to use anti-corruption practices when making financial investment decisions, and to arresting profiteers of human trafficking victim services, through “follow the money” techniques.
Watch the webcast of ‘Business of Trafficking’ panel here.