Battle against human trafficking in top gear

January 23, 2013 - 6:15:08 am

The Minister of Justice H E Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim addressing the third Doha Forum on Combating Human Trafficking, which began at the Hilton Hotel, yesterday. Kammutty VP

Doha: Qatar is ready to sponsor the Arab initiative for building national cadres to fight human trafficking and to implement it in partnership with the United Nations and the Arab League.

This was disclosed by Dr Abdulllah Al Mal, Director of Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking, during the Third Doha Forum on Combating Human Trafficking, which opened here yesterday under the theme “Contemporary Trends in Combating Human Trafficking”. Some 350 consultants and experts from all over the world are participating.

Dr Al Mal said that implementation of the programme for the 2013 will be on the level of Gulf countries and Qatar will correspond with the inter-Gulf cooperation that involves both government and non-government organisations.

The Arab League representative to the UN, Suad Al Saehi, said the League has laid down a comprehensive strategy for combating human trafficking, endorsed by the Arab ministerial council. 

“The Arab League strategy has laid down the general framework for combating human trafficking in the area and left the choice for individual countries to implement it according to national policies and work plans,” Al Saehi said.

The Minister of Justice H E Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim said in his inaugural speech that Qatar continues its efforts to address human trafficking by  building bridges of international and regional cooperation in this area.

The latest national initiative in this regard is the establishment of Qatar’s National Alliance against Human Trafficking to achieve partnership between the public and non-governmental sectors to combat human trafficking.

The minister pointed to the alarming fact that human trafficking is still on the rise despite all efforts made by the international community, whether countries or organisations, adding that every year around 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders. 

“Some international and non-governmental organisations put the estimate at a much higher number. The trade is still growing, and added to this are the unspecified numbers of those who are trafficked within each country,” the minister said. 

The UN estimates that international criminal organisations involved in human trafficking make the third highest income in organised crime, after drugs and arms trafficking, said the minister.

Noting the 2012 report on Human Trafficking issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, the High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilisations and President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, said that between 2007 and 2010, 27 percent of the victims of this crime were children – most of them girls. 

According to the same report, 68 percent of the victims were from Africa and the Middle East, 39 percent from South East Asia and the Pacific, 27 percent from North and South America and 16 percent from Europe and Central Asia. Of these between 50 percent and 60 percent were women.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons. According to the plan, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for the victims of Human Trafficking, especially women and children, was established. Qatar was the first and biggest donor to the Trust Fund. 

Al Nasser highlighted the important role played by Qatar in supporting the Trust Fund during his tenure as President of the 66th session of the General Assembly. The Peninsula