This year is the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, and its historic Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
Some of the Exploitation victims go experience include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Blue Heart Campaign
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has established the Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking . The Blue Heart represents the sadness of those who are trafficked, while reminding us of the cold-heartedness of those who buy and sell fellow human beings.
2020 Theme: Working on the front lines to end human trafficking
This virtual high-level event highlighted the crucial roles of a range of groups of people engaged in responding to trafficking in persons, particularly in the context of the global response to COVID-19.
This year, the focus was on the first responders to human trafficking. These are the people who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Still, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized.
Through stories from first responders describing their practical work in assisting victims we intend to spotlight their contribution and that of their function, institution, organization, team, or community and its impact on fighting trafficking. The key messages focus on the positive, recognizing the importance of the work done by first responders, as well as seeking support and raising awareness that these actions need to be sustained and replicated. The stories will also highlight how first responders remained committed during the pandemic.