By Sophie Otiende
July 30 every year marks World Day against Trafficking in Persons. On this day, organizations come together to create awareness on Human trafficking in addition to giving support to victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is just but another term for modern day slavery. People especially women and girls find themselves in situations such as forced labor, child soldiers, forced marriage, selling children, removal of organs and forced begging.
With the COVID-19pandemic, many people have lost their sources of livelihoods. In fact, according to World Bank, Covid-19 pandemic will be pushing 40-60 million people into extreme poverty and impact two billion people who work in informal sectors worldwide. This means that more people are likely to fall victims of human trafficking.
With this in mind, the government among other organizations should start seeking ways to help people who will lose their means of livelihood to ensure that citizens have at least basic needs such as food and shelter.
Organizations such as Awareness against Human Trafficking (HAART), have collaborated with other organizations and members of the public to raise funds for victims of human trafficking and survivors whose means of livelihood have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.
The government should come up with policies that ensure that people are treated with respect and that each member of the society has a place to put their head on and that they have a source of support for food and clothing. They should also create a conducive environment for Non-governmental organizations to operate in their countries and assist in going after the human traffickers and smugglers.
Religious institutions such as churches and mosques should also do their part to bring hope to persons who have lost their jobs especially during this pandemic period and also ensure that that members give offerings that help victims who have lost their jobs to avoid them from falling victims of desperate times.
As private citizens, we should also speak out against trafficking in persons in both the public and private sphere, sentiments that erode public empathy and which allow traffickers to operate unchallenged and unpunished. We need to demand accountabilities from our leaders in all the 47 counties who tolerate narratives that dehumanize migrants of all kinds.
Leaders also need to ensure that they invest in protection systems. Such systems include child protection systems, systems aimed at workers’ rights and victims of domestic violence. We have to ensure that they have sufficient resources that will help meet the needs of all vulnerable people especially victims of child trafficking.
The writer is a Board Member and Adviser at Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART).