Ban wants human traffickers punished

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The old and the new: Ban Ki Moon and Guterres at the ceremony in New York today
The old and the new: Ban Ki Moon and Guterres at the ceremony in New York today

By Tiamiyu Arobani

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the international community to help victims of human trafficking and punishing perpetrators of the crime.

He made the appeal on Tuesday when he gave his final address at “Security Council Open Debate on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations”.

The debate was organised by Spain, the Council’s President for December.

He called for more attention to immediate crimes and underlying causes.

“I come with a plea for Member States to take steps to help victims of trafficking today – and to prevent further cases in the future. That means attention to immediate crimes and underlying causes.

“Trafficking is a global problem, but the most vulnerable people are those caught in conflict – women, children, internally displaced persons and refugees.”

According to him, war provides oxygen to terrorist to grow and space to flourish.

“ISIL, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and others are using trafficking and sexual violence as a weapon of terror and an important source of revenue.

“Both ISIL and Boko Haram have engaged in the sexual enslavement of women and girls through trafficking.

“Yazidi girls captured in Iraq are trafficked into Syria and sold in open slave markets as if they were things, not people.”

Ban regretted that human trafficking victims from Somalia. Syria, Iraq and other conflict-torn countries are found in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

“Traumatised Syrian refugee children are being forced to work. Instead of studying and playing, they are sewing clothes, serving food and selling items on the street.

“We have to fight trafficking for the sake of the victims. When we do, we will also decrease the funding for terrorists and make everyone safer,” Ban said.

The outgoing secretary-general said action was needed on two fronts to fight the menace – justice and accountability and human rights and stability.

On justice and accountability, Ban said human trafficking crimes demand immediate international action adding international law must be respected and implemented.

“Governments have to respond especially when their own nationals are involved.

“I call on all States to investigate and prosecute cases including where their own nationals commit this crime abroad.

“All perpetrators must be brought to justice; the problem of trafficking is International in nature and only an international response can succeed.”

On human rights and stability, Ban said the international community needs “strategic leadership in ending war – and also in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace”.

“That is why I have strengthened the UN’s commitment to supporting Member States in early action and in preventive diplomacy.

“As this may be my last speech to this Council, let me emphasise again: prevention should be at the forefront. I welcome my successor’s focus on this very important priority.

“Let us work together to help today’s victims of trafficking while creating a more stable and just world for all,” the two-term UN chief concluded. (NAN)

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