United Nations

UN Agency Reports an Increase in the Number of Children Trafficked Worldwide

In January, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, “guardian” of the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, released its fourth Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. This publication provides an overview of patterns and flows of human trafficking at national, regional and global levels based on information submitted by142 Member States of trafficking cases detected from 2014-2016. The Report collected data from 94% of the world’s population.

The main form of trafficking reported by countries was trafficking for sexual exploitation, 59%. Overall, 30% of those reported trafficked worldwide are children; 23% girls and 7% boys, but the Report states that of those children trafficked for sexual exploitation, 72% are girls and 27% are boys.

Although the Global Report shows an increase in the overall number of persons trafficked worldwide, because trafficking in persons is the second most lucrative illicit business in the world, reliable figures for the total number of those trafficked worldwide are hard to know and, doubtless, greater.  It is important, however, that in the eight years that the Report has been published the capacity of countries to gather data has greatly improved and the Report further shows convictions of traffickers are on the rise, greatly enhancing our efforts to combat trafficking.

ECPAT-USA's Carol Smolenski Joins Nasdaq for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Executive Director Carol Smolenski joined Nasdaq's Global Head of Sustainability, Evan Harvey, in conversation on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The day of awareness and action, created by the United Nations in 2013, serves to highlight the problem of human trafficking while calling for a coordinated and consistent effort to end the scourge in all its forms. 

The Nasdaq Live conversation touched on child trafficking prevention, the UN's Agenda for Sustainable Development, corporate social responsibility, and more. Click below to view the full conversation.

ECPAT-USA Panel Highlights The Power Of Youth Advocacy At CSW

ECPAT-USA Panel Highlights The Power Of Youth Advocacy At CSW

Alongside this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), ECPAT-USA presented a panel detailing how youth are using technology to empower their peers and raise awareness of child sex trafficking. The event, featuring Survivor-Advocate Shanifa Bennett and Brooklyn Technical High School students Nasrat Jahan and Rumana Khan, highlighted how important it is for students to take precautions online and for adults to talk to kids about the potential risks.

ECPAT-USA Applauds ITP's Vision for 2030: Sustainable Growth & a Fairer Future For All

This fall, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) launched their Vision for 2030. The Vision for 2030 includes the launch of ITP’s goals, four commitments to work among ITP member companies to address four issues in the hospitality industry: Youth Employment, Carbon, Water, and Human Rights.

The International Tourism Partnership is an international organization that works to bring hotels together to address social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Vision 2030 is designed to be a practically achievable call to action for the entire hospitality industry on four of the main sustainability issues impacting hospitality brands. The initiative’s goals were created with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, as a way for the industry to make a positive contribution to the SDGs.

ECPAT-USA applauds the International Tourism Partnership for leading the way on these issues and creating a call to action for the tourism industry to lead on sustainability and human rights.

The goals in each area are:

  • YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: Collectively impact one million young people through employability programmes by 2030, thereby doubling the industry’s current impact on youth unemployment.

  • CARBON: Embrace science-based targets, and encourage the wider industry to join in reducing emissions at scale.

  • WATER: Embed water stewardship programmes to reduce the number of people affected by water scarcity; also improve water-use efficiency and identify ways to address water scarcity.

  • HUMAN RIGHTS: Raise awareness of human rights risks, embed human rights into corporate governance, and address risks arising in the labour supply chain and during hotel construction.

With the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), ECPAT-USA works with the tourism industry to integrate training about human trafficking, a human rights issue, into human resources standards. The International Tourism Partnership’s initiative to address human rights, as well as sustainability issues, is a commendable project that shows how the tourism industry can use its power and influence for good.

To learn more about ITP’s Vision for 2030 click here.

To learn more about ECPAT-USA’s work with the hospitality industry, visit https://www.ecpatusa.org/private-sector-engagement/.

Youth Action to End Sexual Violence

On Tuesday March 21st, ECPAT-USA hosted our 3rd Annual Youth Panel as a side event to the United Nations' 61st Commission on the Status of Women. Close to one hundred people came out to support our young people as they shared the stories of their involvement in the movement to end child sex trafficking.

In fulfillment of the panel's title, Youth Action to End Sexual Violence, students from two schools showcased their projects. The audience was nothing less than impressed. Our youngest panelist Awa Haidara, a middle schooler from the Academy of Future Leaders, created a Public Service Announcement with her peers. The PSA was directed, filmed, and edited by youth and demonstrated that victims of child sex trafficking are often silenced. The first part of the 2-minute piece showed students with tape over their mouths, asking for help, while the second part showed young people raising awareness about the issue demonstrating that while children can be the most vulnerable to child sex trafficking, they can also be the leaders in the movement to end it. Awa hopes to to start a girls’ group at her school which will provide a safe space for young women to come and talk about their experiences with these issues.

Our high school students, Julia Zeng and Rumana Khan from Brooklyn Technical High School, shared their experiences as co-Secretaries of the Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) Club. They emphasized the importance of providing diverse platforms for youth to use to raise awareness about the issue. Their Y-ACT club created a website that provides facts about child sex trafficking, resources for victims, and updates on what members are doing to help end this human rights abuse. In addition, they participated in an international art exhibit through a non-profit organization in India named Guria who garnered beautiful artwork from the Brooklyn Tech students. These artists were both members and non-members who used their talent to create powerful works of art with the message: people are not for sale.

Iryna Makuruk, courageously shared her story of being lured into domestic sex trafficking by her former boyfriend and the pain and /challenges she endured during that time. She challenged the audience to rethink what “victims” look like and to provide a judgement-free space for people to share their experiences because one never knows what’s going on with others. She passionately told the audience—especially the young women—that they are beautiful and do not need to depend on anyone to let them know it. Iryna’s message is that our youth can and will make a difference if they truly want to.