Today, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, GFEMS is sharing insights from global anti-trafficking leaders with our global community. We asked a series of leaders to answer one of the following three questions:
- What does the World Day Against TIP mean to you? What do you hope to see accomplished?
- 2020 has been a year unlike any other. Why is this year’s day against TIP especially important?
- How should people at home recognize the World Day Against TIP? What are some appropriate and effective actions to support the cause?
Here’s what they had to say:
NEELAM CHHIBER, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, INDUSTREE CRAFTS FOUNDATION
“In a year of acute financial distress with regards to incomes in rural India, the Day against TIP takes on additional importance, as it’s a call for action to support endeavours that can mitigate these risks and save futures for the most vulnerable. “
SHAWN HOLTZCLAW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE KNOBLE
“The Knoble is a growing network of fraud, cyber, fintech, and financial crime professionals with a passion for protecting vulnerable populations, particularly those at risk for human trafficking. We proudly partner with and support the organizations and individuals who act as first responders. We join them in envisioning a world where no one can profit off the suffering of other human beings, and we seek to create system-wide networks to disrupt the illicit flow of money through the world’s financial systems.”
ZOE TRODD, DIRECTOR OF RIGHTS LAB, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM
“The pandemic that began in 2020 will have short, medium and long term impacts on the problem of human trafficking and modern slavery. This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is an opportunity to highlight the resilience and efforts of the anti-trafficking community as it works to mitigate the new and increased risks for victims, survivors and vulnerable populations created by COVID-19. The community’s many new ways of working during this pandemic will lead to policy and practice innovations that, longer-term, will mean great leaps forward in our shared goal of ending trafficking and slavery.”
SUSAN OPLE, FOUNDER, BLAS F. OPLE POLICY CENTER AND TRAINING INSTITUTE
“I hope to see a continuation, if not an escalation, in global conversations about modern slavery amid and beyond this pandemic. I wish to see a stronger push towards technology-driven tools to combat slavery similar to the newly-launched Integrated Case Management System that we have in the Philippines. And, finally, I hope that States will ensure the safety, rights, and protection of migrants around the world especially of foreign domestic workers.”
NICK GRONO, CEO, THE FREEDOM FUND
“As lockdowns were imposed around the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous strain on already highly vulnerable communities. The resulting economic fallout has placed people who are at high risk of exploitation even more at risk. Families will be forced to take ever more desperate decisions, high-interest loans and risky job offers. There is no question that the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused will lead to an increase in trafficking. This year it will be critical for all organisations that work to combat slavery and trafficking to adjust their longer-term programs to this new reality.”
ABHA THORAT-SHAH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BRITISH ASIAN TRUST
“There are increasing concerns that the economic cost imposed on the world due to COVID and the lockdowns could exacerbate vulnerabilities in the most marginalized sections of society. And this can have outsized consequences on the safety and security of children – they might become easier targets for traffickers preying on the economic desperation of families who have lost their livelihoods or taken loans they can’t pay back. This is why in 2020, TIP is more critical than ever, to remind us that there are invisible victims of this pandemic that go beyond the obvious, and our focus on them needs to be redoubled.”
DANIEL NEALE, SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION LEAD, WORLD BENCHMARKING ALLIANCE
“Discuss the issue at home and recognise the scale of the problem, with tens of millions of people suffering in forced labour. Secondly, look out for and report suspicious activity that might be linked to modern slavery and trafficking. Thirdly, dig into your favourite brands and see how they do regarding forced labour and mapping their supply chains. If a company scores badly – consider using the huge power of your wallet to support companies who are doing more to deal with this issue.”
AMY RAHE, INTERIM DIRECTOR NORTH AMERICA, THE FREEDOM FUND
“For me, the World Day Against TIP is a reminder that we have a lot more work ahead of us to accomplish our goals of eradicating modern slavery. I hope that this day becomes an annual day of remembrance for those lost to modern slavery and for the atrocities of the past. We have to end all forms of modern slavery. Until we do, I hope the day is one of many motivations for us, as a global community, to work tirelessly towards every individual’s access to freedom.”
ASHIF SHAIKH, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, JAN SAHAS SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the risk of debt-induced trafficking for the economically vulnerable and marginalised populations across the globe. This year’s World Day Against TIP highlights the much-required collaboration between society, governments, private sector, NGOs, philanthropies, and media to ensure that every individual lives a dignified life that is free of trafficking and exploitation. It is essential that empathy and equity be the guiding values so that a brighter future can be envisaged in the new normal.”
JAMES COCKAYNE, HEAD OF SECRETARIAT, FINANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING AND SLAVERY
“Traffickers make $150 billion each year from the forced labour of their victims. That forced labour makes things for the supply chains of companies we invest in through stock markets and pension funds, and the profits go into the banking system. So ask yourself, your bank, your broker or your retirement asset manager: Are we unwittingly funding human trafficking?”
RUTH FREEDOM POJMAN, GLOBAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING EXPERT
“It is fitting to see that in 2020 the UN will focus on ‘first responders to human trafficking’ to recognize the frontline folks who counsel, provide support, help victims to access remedy, and help survivors to heal, to re-gain confidence and to re-integrate sustainably over the long term. It is amazing to witness the dedication of those assisting victims during this time of COVID-19 to overcome challenging restrictions. While it is tragic that almost 17 million have been directly and millions more indirectly affected by COVID, it is heartening during these dark times to see how people do their part against the odds.”
MATHIEU LUCIANO, HEAD OF ASSISTANCE TO VULNERABLE MIGRANTS, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON MIGRATION
“World Day always reminds me how much more needs to be done to protect everyone, everywhere, from human trafficking. This year, many migrants have been hit hard by COVID-19, and many more will become vulnerable to exploitation as the economic consequences of the pandemic unfold. While most migrants will continue to show extraordinary resilience, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that nobody is left behind.”
JEAN BADERSCHNEIDER, CEO AND CHAIR OF THE BOARD, GLOBAL FUND TO END MODERN SLAVERY
“This is a day to renew our commitment to global coordination and to rededicate ourselves to creating a coherent global strategy that includes governments, businesses, the financial sector, NGOs, and civil society in a way that brings the full force of the world down on traffickers to end this crime once and for all. Let’s forge partnerships, collaborate openly, share results freely, and knit together a real anti-slavery movement. We at the Fund are in this fight with you!”
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