Entries with tag modern day salvery .

Reaching Across Borders to Stop Human Trafficking

On June 23, 2017, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGO) assembled at the United Nations for a multi-stakeholder hearing on the review of the global plan of action to combat trafficking in persons. In order to understand the significance of this amalgamation of words, it is important to understand two basic UN documents: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol) and the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (Global Plan of Action).

The UN TIP Protocol – adopted 12 December 2000 and effective from 25 December 2003 – not only establishes an agreed definition for “trafficking in human persons” but also presents a framework for UN Member States to fulfill their obligations to introduce and strengthen national anti-trafficking legislation. The UN TIP Protocol is a major step forward in the fight against human trafficking since it is the first time UN Member States agreed that trafficking in persons was a serious international issue that needed urgent and coordinated attention.

The Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons – adopted in July 2010 and reviewed in 2013 – builds on the UN TIP Protocol, presenting an action plan for UN Member States to work together to “prevent, protect, and prosecute” when combating human trafficking. It also established the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons to support victims through financial, legal, and humanitarian aid. The Global Plan of Action progresses commitment beyond a framework to implementation. Every few years, as determined by the UN General Assembly, UN Member States review the Global Plan of Action to assess what has been accomplished and what remains undone.

Having conducted one review in 2013, the UN is now preparing a second to be completed in September 2017. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), as a leading member of the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP), is on the front lines influencing the review process. The GOA and CSTIP advocate for the strengthening of the following points, calling for their specific mention in the declaration of the review:

Adopt an action oriented outcome document committing to the full implementation of the United Nations Global Plan of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically adhering to the requirements of Targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2.

Adhere to the recommendations of the United Nations Global Plan of Action, specifically the universal ratification of the UN TIP Protocol.

Actualize by December 2018 a robust review mechanism for the UN TIP Protocol, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Allocate significant resources at the national and international levels towards prevention strategies and exit services to reverse what “constitutes a serious threat to human dignity, human rights, and development.

Address demand. Without demand there is no trafficking of persons. Addressing this root cause is essential. Demand for high profits, cheap goods and labor, and commercialized sex is the driving force behind human trafficking.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Justin of Canterbury proclaim “all forms of human enslavement as the most heinous of sins, inasmuch as it violates the free will and the integrity of every human being created in the image of God." They “urge our faithful and communities – the members of the Orthodox Church and the Church of England – as well as all people of good will to become educated, raise awareness, and take action with regard to these tragedies of modern slavery, and to commit themselves to working and praying actively towards the eradication of this scourge against humanity.” We are, therefore, called to transcend complacency. In other words, we are to go beyond simply understanding human trafficking as “bad” or a “shame” and take action to minister to others and change ourselves – even when unprofitable and inconvenient. Therefore, the following is a short list of exhortations for us all. Please:

Pray for the approximately 21 million currently enslaved victims of human trafficking as well as those working to combat human trafficking at all levels.

Learn more about human trafficking and its root causes and share that information as widely as possible.

Discern our own participation and make appropriate lifestyle changes (this includes profiting from investments in companies with forced labor in their supply chains, supporting the commercial sex industry including pornography, focusing on profit and/or cheap goods over people, etc.).

In conclusion, governments and NGOs will continue to create policies and develop programs to end human trafficking and assist victims. These measures have and will continue to help. However, the $32 billion “industry” will only be fully eradicated when all of us surrender complacency to action. We must transform selfishness to selflessness and progress from sympathy to love.

 

#humantrafficking #EndIt #StopTheDemand #EndTrafficking #CSR #ForcedLabor #SexualExploitation

 

A Beacon of Hope, #NunsAgainstTrafficking

A Beacon of Hope, #NunsAgainstTrafficking

 

 

Human trafficking and modern day slavery are words often heard, yet seldom understood. It is a topic that makes many of us feel remorse and fall into despair. In such a climate, though, there is hope!  The Sisters of All Saints Monastery in Calverton, NY are swimming against the current. They are standing up and making a difference. With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, they have initiated The HOPE Project to help young women escape “the Life.”

What is meant by, “the Life”?  “The Life” is what prostituted women call their life circumstance, namely, a situation in which women are forced or coerced by a pimp into prostitution with “johns.” According to the Palermo Protocol at the United Nations, "Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. To the surprise of many, what this suggests is that a person does not have to be taken across a border to be trafficked; it is a matter of exploitation rather than transportation.  This is not just a global problem but a local epidemic, as well. Anyone can be trafficked, regardless of socio-economic status, age, education, or gender. And, the majority of those trafficked for sexual exploitation are US citizens! In the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people are trafficked every year. Of these individuals, approximately 75-85% are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

So what can be done to address this epidemic? There are two leading approaches to tackling the issue of sex trafficking.  One model encourages the legalization of prostitution in order to regulate the “industry.” While this might make sense at first, the facts show that trafficking has actually increased in those countries where this model has been adopted. Legalizing prostitution has increased the demand for purchased sex. As a result, since most people do not willingly sell their own body, the new “entrepreneurs” (otherwise known as pimps) must traffic women and men to meet the high demand. This model, therefore, is not only immoral, but it has also proven to be quite unsuccessful. Another approach to eradicating sex trafficking is called, The Nordic Model. The Swedes correctly realized that most prostitutes do not act according to their own volition (i.e. they were trafficked). Therefore, they decided to implement a two-prong approach, which first prosecutes the pimps and “the johns” (the buyers) and second, viewing prostitutes as victims, provides them with programs and means to get out of “the Life.” In 1999, Sweden enacted a package of supporting laws, now known at The Nordic Model. These laws helped decrease the demand for purchased sex, created an unsuitable environment for traffickers to conduct “business,” and provided opportunities for the healing of victims and their reintegration back into society. Sweden, at the same time, allocated funding for education on human trafficking.

While laws in the United States still need to be reformed to prosecute the solicitors of paid sex and better support the victims, the Sisters of All Saints Monastery are doing their part to move the ball forward.  The HOPE Project is a holistic initiative that will provide female victims of sex trafficking with safe housing, medical care, psychological services, rehabilitation, and a variety of other social services. It will be a place for victims to regain control over their lives, rediscover their God-given dignity, and, simply put, recharge their batteries. In order for this to become a reality, the nuns remind us that this Project needs to be a communal initiative.

To find out more about All Saints Monastery and their initiatives, please visit their website at whitefieldfarm.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/wfieldfarm/

 

Nicholas Anton is the Coordinator of UN Programs for the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (un.goarch.org). He is an elected member of the CORE Group (executive committee) of the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons at the UN (ngocstip.org).

The Archdiocese is an accredited Non-Governmental Organization at the United Nations through the Department of Public Information (UN DPI) and has General Consultative Status under the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC). It has been actively working at the United Nations for 30 years.

 

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