Today, Thursday, July 30th, is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. World Day against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192.
We invite you to read the Trafficking in Persons Report 2020. This report, annually submitted by the he Secretary of State to the U.S. Congress covers “severe forms of trafficking in persons” defined as:
“(a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
(b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”
You can find the Trafficking in Persons Report on Lithuania: 2020 here (in English) and in Lithuanian here (Prekybos Žmonėmis Ataskaita apie Lietuvą: 2020 lietuviškai (neoficialus vertimas)).
Human trafficking is a global problem and no country is immune to it. Millions of victims fall into the hands of traffickers, lured by fake promises and deceit.
Despite many countries having national trafficking laws in place which are in line with the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, people continue to be trafficked. What is more, in many countries, victims may still be criminalized while the impunity of traffickers prevails.
The 2020 theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons will focus on the first responders to human trafficking. These are the people who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers. During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important. Particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Still, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized. Through stories from first responders describing their practical work in assisting victims UNODC intends to spotlight their contribution and that of their function, institution, organization, team or community and its impact on fighting trafficking.
Here is what you can do:
- Inform yourself;
- Share, like and comment on the social media messages for the World Day;
- Donate to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which provides on-the-ground assistance and protection to victims of trafficking.