Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues (SOCHUM)
Forest Hills Eastern High School
Human trafficking is fundamentally opposed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other UN principles, which makes it an especially important topic for this committee. Record-high numbers of human trafficking cases have been reported in recent years. However, a record number of convictions shows that these crimes do not go unpunished. The UN has recognized this issue for decades by adopting the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and forming committees dedicated to stopping this serious problem. The Human Trafficking Knowledge Portal and Global Reports on Trafficking in Persons have also provided valuable information to help states tackle these crimes.
The EU, of which Portugal is a part, has worked both with the UN and alone to address human trafficking, which is prohibited by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and defined by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as a particularly serious form of organized crime. The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants is one joint effort between the EU and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to fight the problem. In addition, the EU has put in place a comprehensive, gender-specific, victim-centered legal and policy framework (the Directive 2011/36/EU) as well as an EU Strategy on the matter. An EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator helps coordinate efforts by member states. Individually, Portugal has also worked diligently to cut down on this problem. Four Shelters Protections Centres, five Specialized Multidisciplinary Teams, and five Networks for Assistance and Protection to Trafficking victims provide support to victims of trafficking across the country while working with national and local government and non-governmental partners. We have adopted multiple action plans to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, in recent years putting special focus on education and awareness. In 2008, we created the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings to collect and analyze trafficking data and improve our policies on addressing the crime.
As recorded on the EU Together Against Trafficking Portugal Report, we have found it fruitful to work closely with Brazil, a country of origin for many of our trafficking victims, and our work with the EU has helped us prevent more regional trafficking. Consequently, Portugal believes that the best way the UN can improve its work on this problem is by fostering ties between countries of destination and countries of origin. Countries of origin and countries of destination could share resources, information, and practices, and efficiently cut down on trafficking from both sides. This could be facilitated through already existent UN reports on trafficking cases and already existent UN committees, such as the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons. Eventually, it might be possible to save most victims before they ever leave their country of origin, without thrusting them into an unfamiliar place immediately after a terrifying situation.
- Claire Parish