By Taryana Odayar.
Friday the 20th of February 2015 marked the commemoration of the World Day for Social Justice. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered a powerful statement on the significance of this year’s commemoration, as it comes at a crucial point in time given the high volume of human trafficking, approximating 21 million women, men and children as of date.
Alluding to the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ban Ki-Moon went on to say that, “New instruments such as the ILO Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity.” However, he also added that complacency is simply not an option, and that, “We must continue to do more. We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.”
Human trafficking, as defined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is “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.” In terms of statistics, the 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons conducted by the UNODC, showed that adult women were the most targeted victims, comprising 55 to 60% of all trafficked victims ( a global baseline estimate). Adult men accounted for approximately 14% of trafficked victims, and children accounted for 27% of all globally trafficked victims. The report also revealed that out of every three child victims, two were girls and one was a boy.
Given these abhorrent statistics, it is not surprising that this year’s World Day for Social Justice has been marked as an important starting point in an attempt to renew existing efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking. In the words of ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, “There is no inevitability, no excuse: Forced labour can be stopped.”