Honorable ICAPP Vice Chair and DPM SOK AN of Cambodia
Excellency Chung Eui-yong
Honorable Ministers of COMMIT nations,
Distinguished ICAPP Standing Committee Members & Colleagues from ICAPP Women’s Wing,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude to the organizers of ICAPP “2nd Conference on Human Trafficking” for inviting me in this beautiful and historic city of Phnom Phen to join hands in combating the battle against human trafficking. I feel very happy and privileged to be here and recall the memories of the success of ICAPP 1st Conference on Human Trafficking held in Kathmandu in January, 2014. This journey from Kathmandu declaration to Phnom Phen indeed has been very productive in gaining momentum for consolidating the voice against Human Trafficking regionally and globally. It is also my pleasure to see the participation of Ministers from COMMIT nations in this historic gathering. The dimension of trafficking has been expanded from cross border to trans-border nature in the present world.
As we speak here today; thousands of people including women and girls across the world lose their lives or become forever scared at the hands of traffickers. After 67 years of Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaiming all human being are born equal in dignity and rights, we are convened here to discuss on one of the most heinous human behaviors in the human history, known as ‘Human Trafficking’.
Human trafficking is a cold, devastating and disturbing crime against human kind. It is unbelievable how an individual can be cold hearted against their own kind, for exploiting, selling, abusing and slaving them involuntarily, damaging them physically and emotionally. This horrible crime is traced from decades destroying the lives of victims and their families.
I have marked many people have confused smuggling with trafficking. There is a difference between the two. Smuggling is a crime against a country whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Being worldwide, I have seen different countries have different statistics and Nepal is one of the most affected countries. Majority of the trafficked persons are female and the traffickers trade them for sexual purposes. Very few manage to access justice systems and unlikely to hold the criminals, victims pay the price in other words. Some victims get justice, although it isn’t enough for them to heal completely. Ever since human trafficking started, anti-trafficking programs have been built to deter, prevent and help recognize the signs.
How the traffickers manage to get hold of the victims? How do these innocent people trust these criminals for job opportunities and so on? This makes me believe that human trafficking is about taking away the human rights of a person for exploiting their body by controlling their minds.
Statistics show that half of the victims of human trafficking annually worldwide are the young adults. The youngsters should be aware of this. Trafficking of Nepalese youngsters, mainly women and girls to Indian brothels were established from the mid-20th century. Generally speaking, about 50 percent of Nepal’s female sex workers have previously worked in Mumbai and more than 200,000 Nepalese girls are involved in the Indian sex trade. According to the working agencies in anti-trafficking activities in Nepal, there is increasing tendency in trafficking among middle class women who are being trafficked to Gulf countries under the veil of attractive jobs and handsome salaries.
With respect to law, Nepal has enacted Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, 2007. The key features of the Act includes defining and criminalizing human trafficking and transportation offences as per the requirements of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons 2000; incorporating several measures to strengthen the effective investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences; establishing proportional penalties and a more stringent penalty structure for several aggravating factors; seeking to protect the rights of trafficking victims and provide victim assistance; allowing the property of offenders acquired as a result of human trafficking offence to be seized and applying to extraterritorially to anyone committing an offence against a Nepali citizen.
Humanity feels lost when we have to see people sold like commodities and there’s still a lot more to do to change this heart-rending situation. Aren’t we human beings too? Despite the laws and security, why aren’t we able to stop it? All forms of slavery are abolished from the world; legally speaking, there is no existence of a bonded labor or a salve. However, there exists a person, in fact many people, who have been sold for different inhumane purposes, including organ trading, sex trading and labor trading amongst many. Isn’t this the continuation of extreme form of slavery in this modern world? Yes, I strongly believe that this is a form of modern slavery and a global action is required to combat human trafficking.
Last but not least, on behalf of my party Nepali Congress and myself, I would like to express our solidarity to fight against Human Trafficking globally and make this world a better place to live for everyone.
Thank you so much.
http://theicapp.org ( ICAPP Publication)