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Trafficking is a hidden crime, curb it: Graduate Women International

Jul 28, 2016

Urging the world leaders to end modern slavery, Graduate Women International says that women and girls who have been trafficked are subjected to extreme violence.

Graduate Women International

Geneva, Switzerland: Graduate Women International (GWI), a global nonprofit, has urged countries and communities for initiating all possible preventative measures to protect vulnerable persons against human trafficking, a growing and often ‘hidden’ crime.

Issuing appeal on this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, GWI states that human trafficking is a human rights violation that exploits women, children and men alike.

According to a Global Report on Trafficking in Persons-2014 by UN Office on Drugs and Crime human trafficking is a global menace and is pursued for a range of purposes including forced labour, marriage, prostitution, organ or tissue removal and surrogacy, begging, pornographic exploitation (including internet pornography), baby selling, illegal adoption, armed combat, and for ritual victimisations.

The report elaborates that sexual exploitation is the predominant form of human trafficking suffered by women and girls, and commonly related to organised crime across the world.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that while 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally, women count for 60% of all trafficked victims, and girls and women make up three-quarters of all trafficking victims.

GWI states that human trafficking is a fast-growing activity among transnational criminal organisations, aided in part by increased migration as a result of crises, conflict and political instability. “A vast majority of states parties have signed and ratified legislation against trafficking; notably the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons but translating protection, detection, prosecution, redress, and prevention into reality remains a hurdle,” says GWI.

According to GWI very few criminals are convicted and most trafficked persons are never identified or assisted. The nonprofit emphasises the need for action on three strategic levels; human rights education, training and awareness-raising, promotion of legislation, strengthening of partnerships and co-operation among civil society and communities.

GWI President Catherine Bell believes education and awareness-raising are crucial for preventing exploitation and cannot be underestimated in tackling the menace. “Education is also the route to ensuring children, women and men understand their human rights, achieve their economic potential and are thus better equipped to avoid this modern day slavery,” she asserts.

GWI underlines that the damage for trafficked victims is physical and psychological. “Women and girls trafficked routinely suffer harm - confinement, severe sexualised and reproductive injuries, powerlessness, humiliation, forced dissociation, exhaustion, drugging, for example as well as  sexually transmitted diseases and other serious injuries,” the NGO says.

Women and girls who have been trafficked are subjected to multiple forms of violence including torture perpetrated by traffickers and other non-state actors over a considerable period of time.

Founded in 1919, and spread across 80 countries, GWI is a membership-based international nongovernmental organisation (NGO) based in Geneva, Switzerland. GWI is a girls’ and women’s global organisation advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.

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