The Daughters of Charity are committed to the fight against human trafficking. As a part of this, we are engaged in numerous anti-trafficking efforts at the United Nations, including being a part of the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP). CSTIP is engaged in awareness-raising (often through panels) and conducts other forms of advocacy to end human trafficking.
One campaign CSTIP is a part of is the 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women, which runs November 25 through International Human Rights Day on December 10. The Committee is encouraging all members to participate through social media.
On December 1, CSTIP joined eight other groups in co-sponsoring a panel of speakers on, “Bankrupting the Business of Human Trafficking 101.” The virtual panel featured the UN Ambassador from Australia, H.E. Mitch Fifield, as well as representatives from the International Labor Organization and the League of Women Voters, and the Secretary General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children.
In November, CSTIP discussed the findings related to the sale and sexual exploitation of children, brought forth by The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Siobhán Mullally. She issued a statement related to trafficking meetings held in Vienna in October and also has offered other recommendations, such as a document related to COVID-19 and its impact upon trafficking. You can find all that here.
In July, 2019, Sister Michelle Loisel, D.C., served on a panel of speakers at the United Nations Church Center on the topic, “Strengthening Connections to End Human Trafficking.” This was an interactive dialogue with Talitha Kum, US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, and nongovernmental organizations advocating at the UN.
WHAT IS THE UN DOING ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Every year, the United Nations holds a day to raise awareness about trafficking in persons. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons takes place on July 30. Typically, the day involves an event at the United Nations to encourage efforts to stop the crime of trafficking.
In another vein, there was recently a resolution before the UN’s Third Committee, which called for countries to take various forms of action to step up addressing trafficking in persons. The UN Secretary General, in August, also issued a report on trafficking in persons, which can be found here.
This year, the Palermo protocol, a supplement to UNTOC, reached its 20th anniversary. The occasion was honored on October 9 through a panel of speakers who discussed the three-pronged anti-trafficking approach of prosecution, protection, and prevention. But the UN doesn’t simply hold honorary days; it also provides support to countries to enhance their ability to address trafficking in persons.
UN LAUNCHES NEW REVIEW PROCESS
This month marks the beginning of a new United Nations process related to countries’ efforts to address human trafficking. It is called the Review of the Implementation of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC) and the protocols thereto.
UNTOC, though adopted in 2000, took effect on September 23, 2003. It is the primary instrument used to combat transnational organized crime, including human trafficking. There are several protocols which supplement the Convention, addressing various forms of international crime. The Palermo Protocol, or the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, is one of them. It took effect in December 2003. As of July 2018, there were 190 parties (countries which have ratified UNTOC), including the Holy See, Cook Islands, Niue, Palestine, and the European Union.
The country reviews are to be staggered over three consecutive years, with the start date for each group as follows: December 1, 2020, November 1, 2021, and November 1, 2022. Each country will be reviewed by two other countries. The year in which a country will be reviewed and the countries which will review it is determined by a draw, the results of which you can view here. A preparatory process led up to the reviews.
The reviews will take place along 4 thematic clusters:
- Gaps and challenges in the implementation of the provisions under review;
- Best practices;
- Any technical assistance needs identified to improve the implementation of the Convention/Protocol.
The US is set to be reviewed in 2022. Countries to be reviewed this year include Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Cook Islands, Cote D’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Libya, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mauritania, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zambia. Some states requested a redraw.
Neither the United Nations, NGOs, nor the private sector (businesses and others) can afford to let up in pushing for more prevention and prosecutions related to trafficking in persons. The dignity of hundreds of thousands of persons who are trafficked across borders annually, and millions who are held in modern day slavery, depends upon it.