International Human Rights Day: Freedom From Bondage And Oppression

The International community has overwhelmingly recognized the fundamental right of all people to be free, irrespective of nationality, race, age, disability, religion, sex, sexuality, or gender. Human trafficking is a serious crime that fundamentally curtails freedom, making it the gravest of human rights violations. No country in the world is immune to these crimes. Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. Currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world; Women and girls account for about 75 per cent of all trafficked people detected globally, 27 per cent of all victims detected globally are children of all trafficking cases detected globally, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58 per cent and trafficking for labour exploitation accounts for 36 per cent.

In Africa trafficking for labour exploitation is more frequently detected. Statistics show that 80 million or 41% African children 5-14 years old work, 200,000 to 300,000 children trafficked and/or smuggled each year in West and Central Africa, 10,000 to 15,000 children work on cocoa plantations in Cote d'Ivoire, 25,000 children working in Gabon, Ethiopian girls trafficked/smuggled to Middle East to work as domestic servants etc.

Human Rights Day, celebrated each year on 10 December, marks the anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is our hope that this. day will continue to raise awareness on the existing policies and how civil society, the Church, the community and individuals can effectively participate in policy implementation to reduce the scourge and lift the banner of respect for human rights and enhance understanding on the importance of safety and dignity for all citizens across the ethnic, racial and political divide as a way of combating trafficking in persons.

On Human Rights Day, tackling human trafficking implies centering the human rights of trafficked persons and those in vulnerable situations, in all anti-trafficking activities. Acknowledging the equality of all persons to exercise, defend and promote their inherent, universal and indivisible human rights. Non-discrimination on any grounds, including - singly or in combination - race, ethnicity, descent, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, gender, age, migrant status, national or social origin, birth or other status, or occupation (including work in the informal sectors such as domestic work, sex work, etc.) Primacy of the principles of accountability, participation and inclusivity/ non-discrimination in working methodologies, and organizational structures and procedures. In this respect, self-representation and organization of those directly affected by trafficking are strongly encouraged and supported.