How UNODC is Fighting Human Trafficking

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SEATTLE, Washington — Human trafficking is a problem that, unfortunately, continues to remain relevant in various countries worldwide. Men and women alike can be victims, but women and girls are disproportionately affected by it. According to the United Nations, over 70% of human trafficking victims were women and girls in 2014. Due to human trafficking’s global impact and its disregard for national borders, various departments within the U.N. have formulated different policies and strategies to combat human trafficking. Here is how the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime is fighting against human trafficking.

GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in partnership with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, started an initiative in 2018 to stop targeted trafficking in Asia and the Middle East. The program called the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, or otherwise known as GLO.ACT is a four-year, 12 million program being implemented in four countries: the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The GLO.ACT initiative assists governmental authorities and community organizations in targeted regions. Along with helping governments’ policy developments, GLO.ACT also reviews legislation, assists in regional and trans-regional cooperation and direct support to human trafficking victims. By offering identification assistance, governmental referrals and basic defense strategies, the program provides valuable resources and relief to victims and vulnerable migrant groups.

Building From Previous Successful Initiatives

The current GLO.ACT stems from the 2015 to 2019 GLO.ACT initiative called the Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants. Alike the current program, the 2015 GLO.ACT was a joint initiative with the European Union and in partnership with the International Organization for Migrations and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

This program lasted from 2015 to 2019 and was implemented in 13 different countries located throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The initiative was used to help these countries counter human trafficking within their borders by using the prevention, protection and prosecution framework of the UNODC.

There are also two slightly varied forms of GLO.ACT is currently being implemented today. One targets explicitly human trafficking in the Middle East and Asia, while the other targets human trafficking specifically in Bangladesh, South Asia.

Other Ways the U.N. is Fighting Human Trafficking Practices

The UNODC has also created a trust fund assisting human trafficking victims, called the Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The trust fund is another example of the U.N.’s efforts to stop human trafficking. The fund offers support to human trafficking victims worldwide through humanitarian, financial and legal aid.

The UNODC founded the UNVTF in 2010, and it was the first of its kind in regards to its globally legal binding position. The UNVTF has gathered a great deal of financial support that they can use to fight human trafficking, including $7 million in contributions by supporters worldwide. Moreover, the trust fund has distributed grants to more than 60 non-governmental organizations’ programs in 40 countries, totaling over $3.5 million.

Looking Ahead

Human trafficking continues to be a severe threat to people worldwide, especially for women and children in vulnerable regions in developing countries. However, the UNODC, along with U.N. programs, is working tirelessly to suppress human trafficking and eventually eradicate it.

-Jacob E. Lee
Photo: Flickr

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