This year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons highlights the urgent need to step up responses to the trafficking of children and young people.
Protecting the most vulnerable among us has become ever more important, as humanitarian crises and armed conflict have left children and young people at greater risk of being trafficked. The perils are compounded further still when children and young people are on the move, often separated from their families.
At the same time, human traffickers are misusing the Internet and new technologies to broaden their reach, using apps and chat rooms to exploit and abuse young people, who represent some of our most connected and most engaged online citizens.
Effective anti-trafficking responses, which take to heart the best interests of children and young people, require coordination and cooperation.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is helping governments implement such action through our comprehensive support to countries to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Nearly every country in the world has pledged to put the Protocol against human trafficking into action, and it represents our best and most effective means to protect children and young people by ending impunity for traffickers, and ensuring that criminal justice responses safeguard the interests of children at every stage.
Through the Blue Heart Campaign, UNODC is raising public awareness of these issues and the plight of trafficking victims, almost a third of whom are children. UNODC is also helping to ensure that child victims become survivors through the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking.
UNODC serves as Coordinator of ICAT, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons, which brings together 23 UN and other international and regional partners to harmonize and reinforce anti-trafficking responses.
We are also working with private sector and civil society partners to clamp down on cybercrime, to prevent and counter trafficking, abuse and exploitation of children through the Internet. By
Making the world safer from drugs, crime and terrorism building cross-border cooperation and law enforcement capacities, we are helping tech be part of the solution to keep children and young people safe online.
Let us take this opportunity on World Day against Trafficking in Persons to further strengthen partnerships and seek solutions. All of us have a responsibility to prevent and stop human trafficking, and protect the health, well-being and potential of all children, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.