Subscribe to our Newsletter

Human trafficking a low-risk, high-gain crime, says UNODC

Source: Qatar TribuneĀ  Sept 9 2014

ALTHOUGH 90 percent of the world's countries now criminalise human trafficking, the number of adjudicated cases is extremely low, which sends a message to criminals that trafficking in persons is a low-risk high-gain crime, an official of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday.

"Fifteen countries had no cases adjudicated of in the period from 2010 to 2013, while 25 countries had only one to ten cases adjudicated during the same period. We have to prove to those criminals that we can impose adequate sentences and can cooperate on the national, regional and global levels. This regional workshop is a good example on our ability to join forces in order to curb this heinous crime", he added.

UNODC official Dafur Reus was speaking at the three-day Arab Initiative for Building National Capacities for Combating Human Trafficking (AIBNCCHT) event, held in Doha by the Qatar Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation (QFSPR), in collaboration with the UNODC-MENA and the League of Arab States (LAS).

During his speech, Reus discussed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and what he described as the protocol's 'Three Ps'; Prevention, Protection and Prosecution."To attain the 'Three Ps', however, we have to address the root causes of human trafficking, such as underdevelopment and poverty", he noted.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins University Research Professor of Law Dr Professor Mohamed Mattar reviewed the penal code articles that currently deal with human trafficking in various Arab countries, such as the Qatari law, which considers begging and the use of children in pornography as forms of trafficking in persons.

Mattar also reviewed some Yemeni legislators'proposal for considering early marriage as another form of trafficking, and Saudi Arabia's recent housemaids' protection law that denies a person the right to employ house workers if they violate their rights. Interestingly, Mattar cited Sudan and Syria as having a more encompassing definition of the human trafficking.

The research professor also mentioned the Arab Charter on Human Rights as one of the first to acknowledge trafficking in persons, especially involving women and children, which will serve as the jurisdictional basis for the upcoming Arab Court of Human Rights which is awaiting the approval of the LAS'Ministerial Council currently held in Cairo.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was adopted by the LAS's Council in 2004 and affirms the principles contained in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

In his welcome speech, QFSPR Executive Director Dr Yousef Abdulrahman al Mulla welcomed this year's participants, noting that the objectives of the last two years'programmes have been accomplished successfully, with the support of all partners."This year, we urge all participants to engage in serious discussions and exchange creative ideas and constructive solutions that will help us reach our objectives", Mulla said.

On its third and final year, the AIBNCCHT commenced with two parallel programmes; Building Capacities of the Civil Society to Combat Human Trafficking, which is mainly concerned with victims of trafficking, and Building the Capacities of Labour and Employment-related Sectors in the field of Combating Human Trafficking, which targets law and policy makers regarding trafficking in the business environment.

Director of the UNODC in Abu Dhabi Dr Hatem Ali thanked participants in the previous years' workshops, noting that the AIBNCCHT was able to attract more than 1500 participants in those workshops including law professionals, civil society institutions and concerned authorities from all over the Arab world.

"We have also been able to help a large group of Arab professionals become qualified trainers in this regard. One of the main objectives of this year's programmes is to involve them in training the next generation of professionals alongside experts in the field", the Sub-regional UNODC Director said.