Trafficking in Women and Girls

exploited women

During the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, submitted a report entitled Trafficking in Women and Girls. The report noted that it is now 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action where Governments called for the removal of systematic and structural barriers that prevent women and girls from enjoying their human rights. In 2015 Governments built on that commitment through targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

However, the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020 (forthcoming) reports that despite these commitments between 2017 and 2018 a total of 74,514 victims of trafficking were detected in over 110 countries. In his report to the General Assembly the Secretary General reiterates the fact that trafficking entails human rights violations, which disproportionately affect women and girls. He comments on the economic drivers and consequences of trafficking and the impact of Covid-19 on the trafficking of women and girls and outlines innovative approaches to increase the prosecution of traffickers and strengthen the protection of victims. He concludes the report with recommendations for UN member states particularly during these days impacted by Covid-19. For example:

  • keep open as essential services specific services for victims and survivors of trafficking, including hotlines, accommodation, health, psychological support and employment services
  • ensure that law enforcement agencies retain the capacity to detect and investigate trafficking in women and girls, in particular as forms of trafficking and exploitation shift in the context of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19,
  • ensure the continuity of the justice system to investigate and prosecute traffickers through videoconferencing or teleconferencing to ensure timely access to justice for victims
  • put in place stronger measures to ensure that victims of trafficking are not punished for the crimes they were forced to commit during their exploitation;
  • compensate survivors of trafficking through State-based schemes with specific provisions for victims of trafficking. Compensation should not be reliant on the seizure of assets from traffickers, cooperation with law enforcement or the exhaustion of remedies through judicial processes.

Download a copy of the Secretary General’s report here.

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