The theme of PANAMUN XXVI is “Strengthening our Humanity,” and the Human Rights Council will debate human trafficking, a crime that the US State Department estimates impacts 600,000 to 800,000 people every year around the world.
Human trafficking is a pressing issue and a major violation of human rights. Most countries around the world have people who are victims of trafficking. Just on July 28, 2018, BBC published an article about 150 children who were identified as having been trafficked into Wales. Many of them were girls, and had been victims of sexual exploitation. Wales is one of the three “independent child trafficking advocates early adopter sites”, who provide help to children who are seen as possibly having been trafficked. Human trafficking, however, does not only happen with children; both men and women are affected by this. The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) was created to promote and protect human rights, and deal with issues like this in which these rights are violated.
To learn more about the impact of human trafficking, I interviewed Laura Courteau, ISP junior and chair of the Human Rights Council in this year’s PANAMUN, about her decision to tackle the issue of human trafficking and its relation to this year’s theme of “Strengthening our Humanity”.
Why did you choose human trafficking as one of the issue bulletins for this year’s conference?
Laura: I chose human trafficking because it is one of the most pressing and growing issues we face today. Seeing as human trafficking is such a broad topic I believe it would make the committee interesting and controversial as each country has different ways and laws for dealing with this issue.
How does the issue of human trafficking relate to this year’s theme?
Laura: This year’s topic, “Strengthening our Humanity” relates to human trafficking as humanity is often associated with compassion, understanding and kindness. Human trafficking would not occur if people valued each other and had compassion for one another. Human trafficking violates a series of human rights and if we strengthen our humanity the amount of people being trafficked around the world would be largely reduced.
Do you believe that this is an issue that many are aware of?
Laura: I believe that people are aware of human trafficking seeing as it is a very broad issue that includes: sex trafficking, forced labour and organ harvesting, to name a few. However it is very likely that most people are unaware of how often this happens and how vulnerable most people are to this type of crime.
What are some actions or measures that you think can be taken by nations in order to prevent human trafficking from occurring?
Laura: It is very hard for nations and countries to deal with human trafficking seeing as it often happens in several countries (ex: human trafficking from Syria to Greece). In which case each country has different policies and laws on how to handle each crime. I believe that countries should come together and establish basic procedures, laws and prosecuting methods to decrease and protect human rights.
What are some things that people can do to raise awareness about human trafficking?
Laura: People can raise awareness by speaking of human trafficking and warning people of the usual methods people get lured into human trafficking, in order to prevent and save people from falling in those traps. By raising awareness you are preventing and most likely saving people from ending up trafficked.
As can be seen through a news article published just a few months ago, as well as through Laura’s decision to choose human trafficking as an issue to debate in the Human Rights Council of this year’s PANAMUN conference, it is clear that human trafficking is a very pressing issue today, and has been for a very long time. Through the discussion of this issue, delegates will be able to reflect on the different perspectives of each country as well as the measures they are taking to prevent human trafficking, and come to realize ways in which they can strengthen their humanity. Delegates will be able to discuss ways in which human trafficking, or the selling of human beings, can be stopped and/or prevented.