Trafficking and impunity
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
A recent report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) pointed out that despite a recent trend towards more people trafficking convictions in many African and Middle Eastern countries, “the total numbers in these areas remain very low.”
It warned that “vast areas of impunity” remain globally for people traffickers, with victims subjected to crimes ranging from sexual exploitation to organ removal. “There appears to be hardly any risk for traffickers to face justice,” the report stressed.
The report said 100 cases of organ removal had been reported over the period 2014-17, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa, with cases also reported in Europe and Central and South America.
Perpetrators of this form of trafficking take advantage of “severe levels of vulnerability,” the UNODC says, for example people in refugee camps who are recruited “with false promises of receiving payments and/or transfer to safer locations.”
However, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation remains the most common form of trafficking, accounting for 59percentof the victims detected in 2016. The UNODC underlined the role of groups involved in various armed conflicts in using human trafficking “to finance activities or increase their workforce,” as well as for sexual slavery.
It adds that the overwhelming number of detected victims of trafficking globally were female, with just under half being adult women while 23 percent are girls but the report warns that their share of the total is increasing.
Human trafficking is a serious global problem and the impunity that allows these dastardly criminals operate without fear is an issue that governments have to address if more people, especially the vulnerable women and children who are victimized the most, can be protected from this threat. A country with a sizable migrant population like the Philippines needs to shore up its defenses against human trafficking by strengthening the support its embassies can provide to Filipinos overseas while going after trafficking rings operating in the countrythat prey on their own countrymen.
Human traffickers thrive when they can operate with impunity. The only way to stop them is if our government can demonstrate its determination to protect its people from such criminals by going after these criminal gangs and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.*