NEW YORK: At the United Nations, Pakistan called for addressing the root causes of conflict to combat the heinous crime of human trafficking.
Speaking in the open debate of the UN Security Council on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Dr. Maleeha Lodhi told the 15-member council, that as the primary body tasked with maintaining peace and security, it also needs to address the root causes of conflict to remove grounds where such crimes breed.
“Unless we eliminate the breeding grounds, she said, whatever action we take may be necessary but not sufficient,” said Lodhi. She also called for increasing states’ capacities with long-term political and financial commitment to combat human trafficking.
“Growing conflicts, economic inequality, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor provide fertile ground to those who exploit human suffering,” she added.
Lodhi said that human trafficking as a consequence of conflict and its increasingly worrisome links with terrorist groups is a global concern. “On the other hand, human trafficking has also become a cause of friction among nations,” she remarked.
Terming human trafficking as modern-day slavery, Lodhi said that it’s a global phenomenon that violates the principles of morality, human rights and dignity, and undermines efforts to achieve sustainable development.
The envoy referred to the report of UN Secretary General on Trafficking in Persons, according to which raging conflicts and humanitarian crises have resulted in record levels of displacement, with 24.2 million newly displaced, a majority of them women and children.
“These harrowing numbers, the countless stories behind each one of the victims and the spreading patterns of exploitation by terrorist groups call for redoubling our efforts against this scourge and united action by all the nations,” said Lodhi.
“The transnational nature of this complex crime calls for enhanced international cooperation among the countries of origin, transit and destination.”
Lodhi argued for a comprehensive and rights-based response given the vulnerabilities of men, women and children to numerous forms of exploitation, including sale and trafficking in conflict and humanitarian crisis.
She underscored Pakistan’s commitment to fight the egregious crime of trafficking in persons. Pakistan, she said, is a party to various relevant international instruments, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the International Convention for Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children, and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention.
She said that Pakistan has implemented the National Action Plan for combating human trafficking and was also implementing the National Strategic Framework 2016-22 on trafficking in persons and human smuggling, under which several victims have been provided shelter.