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United Nations observes World Day Against Trafficking in Persons under the theme ‘Use and abuse of technology’ on Saturday, July 30

Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2022. 11:31 am CST.

Photo Credit: United Nations

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “Human trafficking is a horrific crime and an all-out assault on people’s rights, safety and dignity,” said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Saturday, July 30.

“Tragically, it is also a problem that is growing worse — especially for women and girls, who represent the majority of detected trafficked persons globally.”

The United Nations said human trafficking is a crime that affects all countries in the world whether as country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Human trafficking exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex.

The Secretary General said conflicts, forced displacement, climate change, inequality and poverty have isolated tens of millions of people around the globe and made them destitute and vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has exacerbated the situation by separating children and young people from their loved ones and leaving them exposed.

Since human traffickers have taken advantage of these vulnerabilities and are using “sophisticated technology to identify, track, control and exploit victims,” the United Nations is this year observing World Day Against Trafficking in Persons under the theme “Use and abuse of technology”.

“This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking,” said the United Nations.

Changing with the times, human traffickers, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted much of the world’s everyday life to online platforms, have kept pace.

They are not only using the internet and digital platforms to recruit, exploit, and control victims, they are also using it to “organize their transport and accommodation; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators; and hide criminal proceeds – and all that with greater speed, cost-effectiveness and anonymity.”

However, law enforcement and the criminal justice systems can also use the same technology to counter and eradicate human trafficking.

The United Nations said the use of advanced technology can help investigations by shedding “light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks; enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to alleviate the situation of victims in criminal proceedings; and providing support services to survivors”.

“We need governments, regulators, businesses and civil society joining forces to invest in policies, laws and technology-based solutions that can identify and support victims, locate and punish perpetrators, and ensure a safe, open and secure internet for all,” said Secretary General Guterres.

“As part of 2023’s Summit of the Future, I have proposed a Global Digital Compact to rally the world around the need to bring good governance to the digital space.

“On this important day, I call on the world to give this issue the attention and action it deserves and work to end the scourge of human trafficking once and for all,” Guterres said.


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