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2015-2016 report

Reported by Rita Fishman, ICJW Representative

The NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons (CSTIP) was formed in 2011 to focus on the human rights violation, human trafficking, and meets monthly to address the issue and work towards the elimination of this horrendous crime. Estimates state that there are 20 to 30 million women, children and men enslaved across the world. It is estimated that 600,000-800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 % are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors.

Our efforts include a wide range of outreach with the goal of educating ourselves and our community, attending meetings at the United Nations to better understand the work being done within the UN agencies, participating at the Commission on the Status of Women, visiting Missions to discuss human trafficking, to elevate interest in the issue, with the hope that increased dialogue with nations will result in additional effort on behalf of victims. We invite speakers to our meetings to bring to the committee first hand information from the International Labor Organization, Survivors, and others, as well as offering organizations that sit on the CSTIP the opportunity to share their work. We use GIFT box as a tool to educate communities about human trafficking as well as joining campaigns and letter writing.

Here are some highlights of our 2015/16 activities.

Kevin Cassidy ILO (International Labor Organization) reports that slavery is a $32 billion dollar industry. The ILO estimates that global slavery is responsible for more than $21 billion dollars of unpaid wages each year. The Protocol to the Forced Labor Convention, passed in 1930, is a new, legally-binding instrument that requires states to take measures regarding prevention, protection and remedy in giving effect to the Conventions obligation to suppress forced labor. It supplements the Forced Labor Convention.

Committee members attended a meeting sponsored by the ILO on the 8.7 Alliance. Focus on the SDG8.7 to eradicate forced labor and end modern day slavery and human trafficking and secure elimination of all forms of child labor. Call to Action: “50 for Freedom” website is a way to find out what to do and encourage sign-ons to the Convention on Forced Labor.

Mr. Kevin Appleby: Scalabrini International Migration Network
Forced labor is a global issue but does not get the same level of attention as other forms of trafficking. It is reported that 71% of victims came to the USA legally. Recruited by unscrupulous agents who got those visas and duped them into forced labor, debt bondage, paying back recruitment fees, travel costs, finder’s fees. These conditions and threats to harm families results in voluntary servitude.

Karyn Gershon: Project Kesher
Project Kesher is an NGO member of CSTIP. Project Kesher’s work is accomplished in Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova. Vlada Nedak spoke via Skype from Ukraine. She shared the success of the programs to assist women to build skills in use of the computer. 89% of graduates have improved their economic status. Today, more than 42,000 women have graduated from this program. Project Kesher works in 200 communities. PK was a cofounder of an anti-trafficking coalition in Russia called the Angel Coalition, which united NGO’s in prevention work all of the country.

CSTIP has undertaken to MAP our organizations. In that way CSTIP will know where each of our organizations are working and if they are involved in anti- human trafficking efforts. We want to know which member organization may have a relationship with member states working at the UN. This information can be very useful in several ways. Primarily CSTIP would like to build stronger relationship with- in the UN and we would like to suggest affiliates, across the world, could join forces, where plausible, to work together in coalition.

Since human trafficking is a priority issue for ICJW it would be beneficial for ICJW to know which of our affiliates are working on the issue as well as knowing what their programming is. We know that outreach has occurred in Argentina, Toronto, Canada and New York, where our affiliates have reported activity. 

General Assembly of the United Nations High-Level Event:
“In stronger partnership and coordination to stop Human Trafficking”
The Global Plan for Action emphasizes the need for countries to comprehensively and vigorously address human trafficking and encourages them to access the success of their activities. The Security Council called on states to “criminalize, prevent, and to strengthen efforts to detect and disrupt trafficking in persons” In late 2017 the General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting to conduct a second appraisal of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, adopted by the Assembly in 2010.

At CSW60 CSTIP presented a Parallel Event:
Ending Violence Against Women and Girls: Partnerships, Coalitions and Grass Roots Activists
The panel, composed of representatives from Governments, UN Agencies, Civil Society and Religion addressed their common but differentiated responses to the violence that is trafficking, explored the issue and offered ways in which to improve the situation

The GIFT Box
GIFT Box was presented at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and was on view for several months. Visitors from all over the world stopped and spoke with well-trained volunteers thereby elevating the understanding of the issue by so many viewers. We are now beginning to work to bring GIFT Box back to Union Square in New York City where we launched this interactive sculpture that teaching about human trafficking.