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Contributors: Bidisha Pillai, Officer-in-Charge, Project G-86, UNODC ROSA and Shraddhaa Mahapatra, Content and Web Developer, UNODC ROSA
South Asia Launch of the 'Global Report on Trafficking in Persons'
The UN Global Report on Trafficking in Persons launched by Mr. Govind Prasad Kusum, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and
Ms. Bindra Hada Bhattarai, Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, in the presence of Mr. Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, Ms. Ashita Mittal, Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge of UNODC ROSA, Olivier Lermet, Programme Coordinator, Nepal UNODC ROSA, Mr. Hassan Shifan, Director, SAARC Secretariat
The UN Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the first global assessment on trafficking in persons based on data gathered from 155 countries, was launched on 13 February 2009 in South Asia, at the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. The report included an overview of trafficking patterns, legal steps taken in response and country specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims and prosecutions.
The report was launched by two senior Government officials of Nepal: Mr. Govind Prasad Kusum, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ms. Bindra Hada Bhattarai, Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, in the presence of Mr. Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, Ms. Ashita Mittal, Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge of UNODC Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) and senior functionaries from the Government, international donor community, national and international NGOs, media and UN sister agencies.
Ms Ashita Mittal, duri
ng her address presented a broad overview of the report and UNODC's work on anti human trafficking in the region. Ms Mittal highlighted the fact that human trafficking is one
of the worst forms of organized crime that affec ts almost every country on the planet. She stressed upon the need for a global response to address the problem of human trafficking. Ms. Mittal shared some of the key findings of the report and stated that the number of convictions for human trafficking was simply not enough. Ms Deepika Naruka, Research Officer UNODC ROSA and contributor to the report, then presented the broad highlights of the South Asia section of the report. According to the report, worldwide almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. The most common form of human trafficking, was sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation were predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women made up the largest proportion.
Mr. Robert Piper, UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, in his statement highlighted that UN efforts to combat trafficking in Nepal had taken different shapes and were implemented through different mechanisms. He stressed that the United Nations system in Nepal would intensify its support to the government and civil society in this realm: based on the belief that the only way forward is to work together, continue gathering solid evidence and plan a robust response. He said that improving the data collection and analysis through global and standardized reports would contribute to further mobilise stakeholders in Nepal in order to establish a more comprehensive and multi-sectoral response to the unacceptable threat of trafficking that endangers victim's lives and their families.
Mr. Govind Prasad Kusum, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Nepal, presented the situation of trafficking in Nepal, and Government's initiatives to combat the same. He pointed out that trafficking in persons, more specifically in women and children, was a very serious human rights problem in Nepal. Studies revealed, he said, that among others, the perpetrators often take advantage of poverty and ignorance among young and rural women to compel them to accept the menace of trafficking. He also spoke about the government's response to trafficking and programs directly or indirectly related to anti - trafficking initiatives.
Ms Bindra Hada Bhattarai, Secretary, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, started off by acknowledging that the report had drawn attention to a very serious yet largely ignored social evil. She stressed tha t the need of the hour, was to act by joining forces across borders and committing resources to the ongoing preventive, rescue and rehabilitation efforts in a rights based perspective. She spoke about the legislative efforts made by the Government of Nepal in this area, specifically the Anti Human Trafficking Act of 2007. Pointing out that this was the first legislation drawn up from the victimology perspective, she said that some of the salient features of the Act were compensation to the victim, rehabilitation, in camera court proceedings, protection of privacy of the victim, protection to the victim and onus of proof on the prepetrator.
Participants at the meeting were enthusiastic about the report and highlighted the need for integrated programming. They also stressed upon the need for more resource allocation for regional anti human trafficking efforts. The event ended with a note of appreciation for UNODC ROSA's sustained efforts on anti human trafficking interventions and highlighting the global scenario vis-à-vis changing trends of human trafficking. Meetings such as these are significant for UNODC ROSA as they help not only in building and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders, but also encouraging their active participation. These forums also double up as a platform to recognise and acknowledge the efforts of UNODC ROSA's partners.
Contributors: Ms. Bidisha Pillai, Project Officer and Ms. Pinky Pradhan, Communication and Advocacy Officer