Vienna (Austria), 1 December 2020 — The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a virtual event titled “Locked Down and Locked-in: Standing Against Gender-Based Violence and Human Trafficking during the COVID-19 Pandemic” on 30 November 2020.
Co-hosted alongside Nadia’s Initiative —with the support of UN Women and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations— the event examined the state of gender-based violence and human trafficking amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging the invaluable contributions of women rights defenders in the field.
Speakers included UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNODC Expert on Human Trafficking Silke Albert, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd; as well as UNODC Goodwill Ambassadors Nadia Murad, Mira Sorvino and Ozark Henry.
Also featuring video messages by Michelle Müntefering, the Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office of Germany and Nicole Kidman, UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, the panellists highlighted the surge of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) under the ongoing global health crisis, designated by UN Women as a “Shadow Pandemic”.
UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly spoke of the need to recover better and to strengthen global commitment at a time when women and girls are locked down and locked in, rendering them further exposed to violence and harassment, or at greater risk of being trafficked.
“In every part of the world, we are seeing that COVID has worsened the plight of at-risk women and girls, while also hindering criminal justice responses and reducing support to victims,” she said.
Echoing this sentiment, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and 2018 Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad, urged governments and civil society organizations to invest in preventative measures and tangible support that are inclusive of survivors.
“Survivors must play an integral role in both these processes. Justice should be pursued and attained in consultation with survivors, and redevelopment programs should be implemented with survivors’ input and leadership. Holistic approaches to justice and development will facilitate recovery and prevention,” she remarked.
The full event is now available for viewing online, while Ms. Waly and Ms. Murad's interventions can be found below.