Forced Labour, Modern Slavery, and Human Trafficking

A blog by Sandy Hecker, SI UN Representative, New York

Event hosted by The Permanent Missions of Argentina, Bangladesh, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, and United Kingdom to the UN, 14 March 2018

Photo: L-R Sandy Hecker, Lata Shastri, Vivian Walczesky

“Nigeria held a national event for their task force to deal with child abuse and the rights of the child. For women and girls who escaped or were rescued from human traffickers, there is a path to reintegration with access to justice.  Nigeria is trying to end forced child labour and trafficking.

Kenya condemned trafficking and forced labour. Sixty-seven percent are women and children. In 2013 the government passed the Victim’s Protection Act and in 2014 the Forced Labor Act. Kenya revoked the licenses of 900 agencies that were sending victims abroad. Many were not Kenyans.  Kenya has public awareness campaigns.

In November 2017, Argentina hosted the IV ILO Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child and Forced Labour. 134 countries attended along with 45 Ministers of State. UN Member States, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and civil societies to work towards eliminating child labour by 2025, and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking  (SDG target 8.7) by 2030. Seventy –three million children are involved in hazardous work.

It is a struggle to deal with sex trafficking. A financial driver for ISIS, all nations agree terrorist groups, particularly ISIS and Boko Haram, are engaged in human trafficking to finance their activities. Billions of dollars. Non-Muslim girls and women are the primary targets, first for sex and then torture before being sold on an “open” market. In Iraq there are horrific accounts from freed or escaped girls and women. Families in Iraq and other nations sell their organs for rescue operations.

Eighty-eight countries have criminalized trafficking and when the traffickers are prosecuted it does diminish the slavery.  The Freedom Fund has 100 NGO partners, investors, governments, and anti-slavery organisations.  To put into place best practices including awareness with root causes, teaching life skills, and more lending and saving agencies or groups.

In USA, Amanda Winn (Amanda Nguyen) from RISE is working with rape survivors and with agencies or groups, and the bar associations to craft and rewrite laws. In 2016 finally success when Congress passed the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.  Ms. Winn is a driver to push for more prosecutions. In the USA statistics for prosecution remain very low.

UK is working diligently to eradicate slavery in UK and stated the UN has a big role to play along with Civil Societies and less traditional partners.  Women in rural communities must have access to finances in order to stop families from selling them.  Reminded all no women and girl to be left behind

Bengladesh and Liechtenstein affirmed all the above statements.  It takes all nations to act in a collaborative effort to eradicate child labour and human slavery.  We need more laws and prosecution of the traffickers and the abusers of children”.


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