Vienna: the global challenges of transnational organized crime

Around 800 government representatives, crime experts and civil society partners are expected to meet this week 17-21 October, to discuss the global challenges of transnational organized crime.

The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) promotes the strategies needed to counter crime based on the Convention and its three protocols on human and firearms trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Speaking about the meeting, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said, “The Doha Declaration and agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set the benchmarks for preventing crime from destabilizing vulnerable societies. Now, with the eighth session, we can advance the vital work of helping countries globally to tackle drugs, crime, terrorism and corruption.”

During the conference, nearly 30 side events, including two co-organised by Soroptimist International, will examine a range of transnational challenges including human trafficking, wildlife crime, arms trafficking, terrorism, gender perspectives on transnational organized crime and corruption, amongst many others.

Soroptimist International’s UN Representatives at Vienna, Dora Vrdlovec and Martina Gredler, are in attendance together with Soroptimist International President, Yvonne Simpson; Soroptimist International Director of Advocacy, Pat Black; Soroptimist International of Europe President Elect, Renata Trottmann Probst and Soroptimist International President Elect, Mariet Verhoef Cohen.

19 October from 1:10 – 2:00 p.m, will see ‘Preventing Trafficking, Trade and Exploitation of Women and Children: a victim-centered approach’, co-sponsored by Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), Soroptimist International and Socialist International Women. Pannelists include Pat Black, Soroptimist International Director of Advocacy; Pierrette Pape, Policy and Campaigns Director, European Women’s Lobby; Astrid Winkler, Director, ECPAT Austria; Laurie Richardson, UN Liaison, FAWCO and the event will be moderated by SI UN Representative, Martina Gredler.

19 October from 2:20 – 3:00 pm, a second side event organised by Soroptimist International and Zonta International entitled ‘The many aspects of trafficking- Health aspects, trafficking of human organs and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal, sex exploitation’, will address the lack of common understanding about trafficking, the strong stereotyping of trafficking and its victims and the negative aspects and results by the standardization of the services provided by states. The side event aims to increase and differentiate awareness of the growing danger from the numerous ways of criminal trafficking in persons and to underline the hidden risks of ‘forced migration’ as base for organ ‘harvesting’.

Mrs Yvonne Simpson, President Soroptimist International and Mrs. Ursula Werner, Director ZONTA International will present in brief their Nepal projects concerned with trafficking prevention and rehabilitation. Mrs. Helga Londrad, Ph.D., Head of the Regional Implementation Initiative on Preventing and Combating all Forms of Trafficking in Human Beings, will discuss the growing evidence of the health risks – both physically and mentally – and consequences associated with human trafficking. Mr. Vadim Pisarevich, Head of Department for Global Policies and Humanitarian Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus in particular will draw attention to trafficking of human organs and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal.  The event will be moderated by the Ambassador of Sweden in Austria H.E. Per Anders Sunesson.







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