Thursday, April 16, 2009

United Nations and Inter- Parliamentary Union Join Forces to Combat Trafficking in Persons


8 April 2009- Yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) launched the publication Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians.

"Parliaments and parliamentarians have the power to prevent human trafficking by raising awareness and curbing exploitative practices". Said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. The President and Secretary-General of IPU, as well as the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament, were present at the launch.

As public awareness of human trafficking grows, people are demanding that action be taken to end it. As their elected representatives, parliamentarians have a responsibility and the power to ensure that laws and other measures are put in place and implemented to that end. The Handbook is intended to inspire them to enact sound laws and adopt good practices that will strengthen national responses to human trafficking.

The handbook also contains a compilation of international laws and good practices developed to combat human trafficking, and offers guidance on how national legislation can be brought in line with international standards by, for example, defining trafficking in persons and criminalizing all its forms. It outlines measures to prevent commission of the crime, to prosecute offenders and to protect victims.

"I urge you to use this Handbook, not only as a reference, but as a blueprint for strengthening your country's response to this crime" the Executive Director added.

In conclusion, it is clear that parliamentarians have a role to play in the fight against human trafficking. As agenda-setters and voices of the people, they can have significant power and influence in developing anti-human trafficking laws and policies.

Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians is a useful step forward for legislators and compiles a significant amount of information. The Handbook lays out the various definitions of human trafficking and the international legal framework for combating trafficking in persons, the criminalization of trafficking, monitoring and reporting on human trafficking and enhancing the role of civil society in fighting human trafficking. This Handbook could be a useful resource in developing a common methodology for monitoring and reporting on human trafficking. Presently, a major problem with human trafficking statistics is that they are no comparable across countries and the standards of data collection vary significantly.

However, it is important to stress that, even when a country enacts stronger anti-trafficking in persons laws, this does not mean much for trafficking victims if these laws are not properly implemented. While Combating Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians may ultimately prove to be a useful resource for legislators for basic facts, more must be done to ensure that laws are not only enacted but fully implemented and actualized.

No comments:

Post a Comment