"Demand and supply, a chain leading to trafficking," says UN independent expert in new report
( OHCHR) - "Demands for sexual exploitation, cheap labour and domestic workers, organ removal, illicit adoption and forced marriages, begging or exploitation by armed groups all fuel human trafficking," the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, said in a special report to the UN Human Rights Council.
Special Rapporteur Joy Ngozi Ezeilo.
"However," the human rights expert underscored, "the demand side should not be understood merely as the demand for sexual, labour or other services of victims of trafficking, but rather more broadly, as an act that fosters any form of exploitation that, in turn, leads to trafficking."
"Measures taken by States to discourage demand have often focused exclusively on demand for commercial sexual exploitation, particularly of women and girls, and neglected other forms of demand, such as demand for exploitative labour and sale of organs," Ms. Ngozi Ezeilo noted.
In her report, the human rights expert urges Governments worldwide to broaden their perception of the problem, stressing that the demand side of trafficking generally refers to the nature and extent of the exploitation of the trafficked persons after their arrival at the point of destination, as well as the social, cultural, political, economic, legal and developmental factors that shape the demand and facilitate the trafficking process.
"States have a responsibility to protect against human rights abuses, including trafficking in persons and exploitation of persons by third parties, including business enterprises and criminal associations, through appropriate policies, regulation and adjudication," she said.
The Special Rapporteur also emphasized that Governments should ensure that "all business enterprises within their jurisdiction will respect human rights throughout their operations, both at home and abroad, and take appropriate action to stop trafficking in persons or the exploitation of persons from occurring, regardless of the size, sector, operational context, ownership and structure of the business enterprise."
"Businesses must be seen as an important partner in the fight against trafficking in persons," the Special Rapporteur underlined, recalling her previous report on the issue of trafficking in persons and global supply chain presented last year to the United Nations General Assembly. "In a majority of trafficking cases that have been brought to her attention, private actors are often implicated particularly in the context of labour exploitation," she noted.
"Human trafficking is a risk in a wide range of industries and sectors integrated into global markets, including agriculture and horticulture, construction, garments and textile, hospitality and catering, mining, food processing and packaging," Ms. Ngozi Ezeilo warned.
"I would like to stress the necessity of ensuring that anti-trafficking measures do not adversely affect the human rights and dignity of persons, in particular the rights of those who have been trafficked, the Special Rapporteur underscored, expressing particular concern about the respect for all human rights while combatting trafficking.
"I urge States to actively monitor the impact and possible side effects of measures to discourage demand and take appropriate action to address any unintended side effects which restrict the exercise of human rights," she said.
Joy Ngozi Ezeilo started her mandate as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in August 2008. Ms. Ezeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria. She has served in various governmental capacities and consulted for various international organizations, and is currently involved in several NGOs, particularly working on women's rights. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including human rights, women's rights, and Sharia law. Ms. Ezeilo was conferred with a national honour (Officer of the Order of Nigeria) in 2006 for her work as a human right defender.
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