Trafficking in Persons and the Sustainable Development Goals to End the Scourge of Trafficking in Women and Girls

This meeting addressed the troublesome indication that, while gender equity is critical for the successful implementation of many Sustainable Development Goals, little has been done to address global trafficking of women and girls.

Trafficking of human bodies is a complex form of organized crime driven by extreme profit potential. A majority of trafficked women and girls are sold into sex slavery. Unlike illicit drugs, which have a one-time use, a human body can be sold to complete a task repeatedly. The only way to take down traffickers is to follow the transference of money in both legal and illegal markets.

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The speakers collectively emphasized the importance of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 July 2010. The Plan is currently under review, and the panelists ask member states to issue political declarations to guide future U.N. actions to combat trafficking of women and girls.

Regulation of trafficked women and girls is complicated by geographic location and systems of inequality that vary among the countries of the world. Still, inter-institutional bodies must cooperate to combat this issue. The question that we must now ask is: what are developing countries doing to combat demand for cheap sex labor, and how can developed countries help stop the trafficking tide?

Meeting: Trafficking in Persons and the Sustainable Development Goals to End the Scourge of Trafficking in Women and Girls

Date/Time: 21 June 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 12, UNHQ, New York, NY

Co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Panama and Sweden, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Equality Now and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Speakers: Christine Lahti, member of Equality Now advisory board; Simone Monasebian, Director of ODC in New York; H.E. Laura Flores, Ambassador to permanent mission to the United Nations, Panama; H.E. Olof Skoog, Ambasador, Sweden; Ruchira Gupta, Founder Apne Aap Women Worldwide

Written by: WIT Representative Mariel Brunman

Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability

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Today an event was held which highlighted how environmental sustainability is an integral part in humanitarian aid effectiveness. The panelists in this meeting discussed the findings from a report entitled “Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability.”

The first speaker, Ms. Gebremedhin, the Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland, began by addressing various environmental issues that need to be taken into account during humanitarian action, in order for it to reach its full potential. For example, management of solid wastes and hazardous materials and safeguarding natural resources are essential, and the reduction of deforestation, desertification, and pollution is necessary for sustained livelihoods in the aftermath of a disaster. Furthermore, efficient leadership and accountability are needed in humanitarian situations, and addressing environmental concerns is a shared responsibility between donors and humanitarian organisations.

Following, Mr. Khalikov, Director of OCHA Geneva, stated the effectiveness of humanitarian aid is dependent on environmental conditions. He cited floods and draughts as main environmental threats that can complicate an already existing humanitarian crisis, like a famine or armed conflict.

Ms. Anita van Breda from WWF USA spoke about combining climate change adaptation strategies with disaster risk reduction. She highlighted the Green Recovery Program – a partnership between WWF and the American Red Cross –, which works to sustain livelihoods, provide adequate water, sanitation, and shelter, and deals with disaster management. Her three key recommendations to take the environment into consideration when taking humanitarian action included: updating academic training and professional development, learning to manage change and developing new ways of learning, and ensuring that staff and volunteers have the necessary discipline, skills, and aptitude.

Concluding the meeting Ms. Costa, the Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission spoke about the threat faced by women and girls when they have to leave their refugee camps to collect firewood for cooking and heating. Many have to travel 5 or 6 hours a day to collect enough wood to cook just one meal, and on the journey are raped, beaten, or killed. Ms. Costa emphasised the importance of shifting communities away from dependence on wood fuel and towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable options in order to decrease the threat of this gender based violence and to reduce deforestation and resource overconsumption.

Meeting Title: Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability
Speakers: Ms. Anna Gebremedhin, Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland; Mr. Rashid Khalikov, Director of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva; MS. Anita van Breda, Director of Humanitarian Partnerships, WWF USA; Ms. Sarah Costa, Executive Director of Women’s Refugee Commission
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

The Right of the Child – The UN takes a stand

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This meeting focused on framing points of views of the right of children and adolescents. UN Representative Sajdik spoke about the atrocities being committed against children especially young girls in Nepal. In Nepal girls can be married as early as 72 months old to 12 years old. Such young marriage violates a young girl’s innocence and early pregnancy results in extreme physical pain, as their bodies have not had time to mature to a safe child bearing state.

The organization SOS Children’s Villages works with children who are orphaned, abandoned or neglected. They give these children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family. Their family approach is based on four principles: Each child needs a mother, and grows up most naturally with brothers and sisters, in his or her own house, within a supportive village environment.

Nadine Kalpar, the Youth delegate to Austria, spoke of her personal experiences and the abuse that she witnessed other Austrian children go through. According to the information and statistics she gave, all violence against children, including parents, is prohibited. However 30% of parents in Austria aren’t aware or are not threatened by this law, therefore the violence continues. Ms. Kalpar also discussed ageism in the job market. Adolescents and teenagers are viewed as “lazy” and “unreliable” when it comes time to land a job. This is an attitude that needs to be reversed for young people to receive their right to safe, secure work.

Ravi Bajrak, the Youth Delegate to Nepal, insisted that we cannot change the future if we don’t respond to the current violence and injustices against the youth population. Judith Diers, closing the meeting, stated that we can achieve anything with hard work, dedication, and most of all, trust within humanity to do the right

ImageMeeting Title: The Gov. of Austria, The Gov. of Nepal and the SOS Children’s Villages
Speakers: Judith Diers, UNICEF Representative; Mr. Sajdik, Representative of Nepal; Nadine Kalpar, Youth Delegate to Austria; Ravi Bajrak, Youth Delegate to Nepal
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 7, North Lawn Building
Date: 3 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Leslie Anokye
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark