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Model United Nations topics
 

Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants

 

Trafficking in persons is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people by improper means such as force, fraud, deception, abuse of power or abuse of a position of vulnerability, with the aim of exploiting them.

Smuggling of migrants involves the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident.

Virtually every country in the world is affected by these crimes. The challenge for all countries, richer and poorer, is to target the criminals who exploit vulnerable people, including through effective international cooperation, and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.

How the Sustainable Development Goals are targeting trafficking in persons

Through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 (A/RES/70/1), the international community has committed itself to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to the provision of access to justice for all and to the building of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (SDG 16).

In doing so, we have collectively committed to combat all forms of organized crime (16.4), including trafficking in persons. We have further to this, specifically promised to take immediate and effective measures to:

  • Eradicate trafficking in persons (8.7) and end the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children (16.2);
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation (5.2);
  • Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration (10.7).

Targets 5.2, 8.7, 10.7 and 16.2 specifically address the crimes of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants within the context of violence against women, safe and orderly migration and violence against children.

However, many of the SDG targets and goals are relevant to addressing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, crimes that are deeply rooted in development issues including poverty, education, gender and the effects of climate change.

Benefits of bringing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants into a MUN conference

  • Participants can learn more about different approaches and policies by Member States, including regional variations;
  • Participants can learn about these complex issues, how they relate to organized crime, migration, refuge and the challenges of protecting victims' rights;
  • Participants can learn about the difference between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, which are too often confused by the media as well as by the general public;
  • Participants can learn about the different categories of vulnerable migrants in the context of large movement of migrants and refugees, including victims of trafficking and their specific protection needs;
  • Participants can learn about the different types of responses to counter these crimes and the strength related to the use of a criminal justice response in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocols thereto.
 

Suggested topics for a Model United Nations conference and related Sustainable Development Goals

 
The rights of smuggled migrants and victims of human trafficking
  Violence against smuggled migrants
  Measures to criminalize smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons
  The role of organized criminal groups in the smuggling of migrants
 

Resources on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants

 

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