Tackle root causes of conflict to combat human trafficking: Maleeha tells UN Security Council

New York, 25 November, 2107

At the UN, Pakistan called for addressing the root causes of conflict to combat the heinous crime of human trafficking.

Speaking in the Open Debate of the Security Council on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi told the 15-member Council that as the primary body tasked with maintaining peace and security, it also needs to address the root causes of conflict to remove the grounds where such crimes breed.

Unless we eliminate the breeding grounds, she said, whatever action we take may be necessary but not sufficient.

She also called for increasing States’ capacities with long-term political and financial commitment to combat human trafficking.

“Growing conflicts, economic inequality and the widening gap between the rich and the poor provide fertile ground to those who exploit human suffering”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi said that human trafficking as a consequence of conflict and its increasingly worrisome linkages with terrorist groups is a global concern. “On the other hand, human trafficking has also become a cause of friction among nations”, she remarked.

Terming trafficking in persons as the modern-day equivalent to slavery, Ambassador Lodhi said that it was a global phenomenon that violates the principles of morality, human rights and human dignity and undermines efforts to achieve sustainable development.

The Pakistani envoy referred to the report of UN Secretary General on Trafficking in Persons, according to which, raging conflicts and humanitarian crises have resulted in record levels of displacement, with 24.2 million newly displaced, a majority of them women and children.

“These harrowing numbers, the countless stories behind each one of the victims and the spreading patterns of exploitation by terrorist groups call for redoubling our efforts against this scourge and united action by all the nations”, Ambassador Lodhi said and added, “The transnational nature of this complex crime calls for enhanced international cooperation among the countries of origin, transit and destination”.

Ambassador Lodhi argued for a comprehensive and rights based response given the vulnerabilities of men, women and children to numerous forms of exploitation, including sale and trafficking in the context of conflict and humanitarian crisis.

In her statement Ambassador Lodhi underscored Pakistan’s commitment to fight the egregious crime of trafficking in persons. Pakistan, she said was a party to the various relevant international instruments, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the International Convention for Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention.

She said that Pakistan has implemented a comprehensive policy, the National Action Plan for Combating Human Trafficking and was also implementing the National Strategic Framework 2016-22 on trafficking in persons and human smuggling, under which, inter alia, a number of victims have been provided shelter.