UNSC adopts resolution condemning in ‘strongest terms’ human trafficking

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 21 (APP): The UN Security Council has condemned in  the “strongest terms” all instances of human trafficking in areas affected by armed conflict after a day-long debate on the subject.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2331 (2016) on Tuesday, the 15 member  Council specifically denounced the sale of, or trade in, persons seized in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da-esh), including persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, as well as trafficking in persons by Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and other groups for purposes of slavery, and exploitation and forced labour.

It stressed that human trafficking contributed to other forms of
transnational organized crime, which could exacerbate conflict and foster insecurity and instability.

Also by that text, the Council stressed that acts of human trafficking
during armed conflict as well as gender-based violence could be part of the strategic objectives and ideologies of certain terrorist groups by, among other things, incentivizing recruitment, supporting financing through the sale of women, girls and boys, and use of religious justifications to codify and institutionalize sexual slavery.

It called upon Member States, among other things, to investigate, disrupt and dismantle the networks involved, including the use of anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and counter-terrorism laws, underscoring in that regard the importance of international cooperation in law enforcement.

By other terms, the Council encouraged Member States to build strong
partnerships with the private sector and civil society, including local women’s organizations, and encouraged the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and regional bodies to include analyses of financial flows associated with human trafficking that financed terrorism.

It affirmed that victims of trafficking and sexual violence should be classified as victims of terrorism. The council further expressed its intention to consider imposing targeted sanctions on individuals and entities involved in human trafficking in conflict-affected areas.

At the outset of the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described
trafficking as a global problem, saying the most vulnerable people were those caught in conflict’ women, children, internally displaced persons and refugees.

Terrorist groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and others used  human trafficking and violence as weapons of terror and important sources of revenue. Noting that both ISIL and Boko Haram engaged in the enslavement of women and girls, he said Yazidi girls captured in Iraq were trafficked into Syria and sold in open slave markets.

Emphasizing the importance of fighting trafficking for the sake of the
victims, and of reducing funding for terrorists, he said countries should investigate and prosecute cases in which their own nationals committed such crimes abroad.

All perpetrators must be brought to justice, he said, stressing that only an international response could succeed in resolving an international problem like human trafficking. Because the majority of trafficking victims were women and girls, the response must include special attention to their rights, and States must adopt gender-sensitive and rights-based migration policies, he said.