The United Nations marks the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons under the theme “Use and Abuse of Technology” on Saturday, July 30

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Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2022. 11:31 a.m. CST.

Photo credit: United Nations

By Ruben Morales Iglesias: “Trafficking in human beings is a horrific crime and a total attack on the rights, security and dignity of people,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the World Day Against trafficking in persons, on Saturday July 30.

“Tragically, it is also a worsening problem, especially for women and girls, who represent the majority of detected trafficking victims worldwide.”

The United Nations has declared that human trafficking is a crime that affects all countries of the world, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination of the victims. Human trafficking exploits women, children and men for many purposes, including forced labor and sex.

The Secretary-General said that conflict, forced displacement, climate change, inequality and poverty have isolated tens of millions of people around the world and left them destitute and vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has exacerbated the situation by separating children and young people from their loved ones and leaving them exposed.

Since human traffickers have taken advantage of these vulnerabilities and use “sophisticated technology to identify, track, control and exploit victims”, the United Nations is celebrating World Anti-Trafficking in Persons Day this year under the theme ” Use and abuse of technology”.

“This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and hinder human trafficking,” the UN said.

Moving with the times, human traffickers, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted much of global daily life to online platforms, have kept pace.

They not only use the internet and digital platforms to recruit, exploit and control victims, they also use it to “arrange their transportation and accommodation; advertise for victims and contact potential customers; communicate between authors; and hide the proceeds of crime – and all with greater speed, efficiency and anonymity.

However, law enforcement and criminal justice systems can also use the same technology to counter and eradicate human trafficking.

The United Nations has said that the use of cutting-edge technologies can aid investigations by shedding “light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks; improving prosecutions with digital evidence to improve the situation of victims in criminal proceedings; and provide support services to survivors”.

“We need governments, regulators, businesses and civil society to join forces to invest in policies, laws and technological solutions that can identify and support victims, locate and punish perpetrators, and to ensure a safe, open and secure Internet for all,” said Secretary-General Guterres.

“As part of the 2023 Future Summit, I proposed a Global Digital Compact to rally the world around the need to bring good governance to the digital space.

“On this important day, I call on the world to give this issue the attention and action it deserves and to work to end the scourge of human trafficking once and for all,” said António Guterres.

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