|United Nations Association of Greater Oklahoma City
|United Nations Association of the USA
Greater Oklahoma City Chapter
P.O. Box 60856
Oklahoma City, OK 73146-0856
A Crime that Shames Us All . . . .
-- The UN's Role in Addressing this Insidious Problem
-- 7 Things You Can Do To Help
The brutal murder of
Carina Saunders was a reminder for us in
Oklahoma of the insidious nature of human trafficking.
On October 13, 2011, the body of the 19-year-old graduate of Mustang High
School was found in a vacant field in Bethany, near NW 23rd & Rockwell Ave.
Police investigators were able to determine that she had been tortured before
By Christmas, two men had been arrested in connection with the crime. According to police, the men were
implicated in drug trafficking and prostitution. Saunders' murder, as described in a court affidavit, was
intended to coerce other young women into cooperating with the prostitution ring.
Human trafficking is a crime with many dimensions. It includes commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor,
and reproductive slavery. The victims of human trafficking are frequently vulnerable because of their young
age and lack of economic opportunities. Women and children are most at risk.
The problem of human trafficking is
global in scope. It has been identified
as the fastest growing criminal industry
in the world. After trade in illicit drugs,
it is our planet's second most profitable
illegal industry. Because of these facts,
the global community has turned to the
United Nations for leadership and
support. The UN has responded in a
number of ways.
First, the United Nations convened a conference in Palermo, Italy, to negotiate a new international agreement.
The agreement is called the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women
and Children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol). It was adopted by the United Nations in 2000.
Technically, it is an international legal agreement attached to the United Nations Convention against Transnational
According to Wikipedia: "The Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a
century and the only one that sets out an agreed definition of trafficking in persons. The purpose of the Protocol is
to facilitate convergence in national cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons."
The Trafficking Protocol defines human trafficking as:
"...The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or
receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or
other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception,
of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the
giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the
consent of a person having control over another person, for the
purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum,
the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of
sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or
practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."
The protocol, which has been ratified by 117 nations (as of June, 2010), has two main features.
One, it relies on local, state, and national governments to provide mechanisms to combat trafficking. So, for
example, the investigation of Carina Saunders' murder was conducted by the Bethany Police Department using
laws enacted by the State of Oklahoma. The United Nations has no direct role in the investigation of crimes or
the apprehension of human traffickers.
Two, the Trafficking Protocol provides protection for the victims of trafficking under a right-based approach.
Pursuant to the protocol, the perpetrators of human trafficking crimes are those who achieve control over
another person through means such as fraud, deception, coercion, abduction, etc. It is recognized that the
victims of such manipulations are not guilty of a crime -- even though they might reluctantly give their consent,
in a half-hearted way, to participating in prostitution or forced labor, etc. The consent of the victim is held to
be irrelevant in such cases.
Moreover, according to the Protocol, "...The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a
child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered 'trafficking in persons'" -- even if this does not involve
any fraud, deception, coercion, etc. A "child," for this purpose, is defined to be any person under the age of 18.
Other Ways the UN Helps.
Excerpted from Wikipedia ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has assisted many non-governmental
organizations in their fight against human trafficking. Through its research and publication
efforts, the world has learned a great deal about the extent and pattern of the crime. A 2006
report ("Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns") helped to identify 127 countries of origin,
98 transit countries and 137 destination countries for human trafficking.
UNODC has been particularly active in areas of the world where populations are most at risk. For example,
during the 2006 armed conflict in Lebanon, some 300,000 domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and the
Philippines lost their employment and became targets of traffickers. UNODC led an emergency information
campaign (organized with the NGO Caritas Migrant) to raise human-trafficking awareness. A similar effort was
launched along the border between India and Nepal. And, UNODC has provided subsidies for NGO trafficking
prevention campaigns in Bosnia, Croatia, and Herzegovina.
In March, 2007, UN.GIFT was launched by UNODC with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
Formally titled the "United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking," UN.GIFT is managed in
cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM),
the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The Global Initiative is based on a simple principle: human trafficking is a crime of such magnitude and
atrocity that it cannot be dealt with successfully by any government alone. This global problem requires a
global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world.
UN.GIFT works with all stakeholders —
governments, business, academia, civil society
and the media — to support each other's work,
create new partnerships, and develop effective
tools to fight human trafficking. A particular
objective is to reduce the vulnerability of potential
Oklahomans Against Trafficking of Humans
Since 2008, Oklahomans Against Trafficking of
Humans -- has been raising awareness about the
activity of traffickers operating here in Oklahoma.
OATH has adopted a victim-centered approach to advocacy. Among its many activities, OATH moderates an FBI
working task force on human trafficking with network agencies and service providers in an effort to identify
victims of human trafficking and to provide them the services they need.
At the OATH website you can find news items about human trafficking in Oklahoma as well as resources and
ideas about how to get involved with their activities. There is also a link to information about reporting a
missing or runaway child.
OATH's Mission Statement: Bringing Oklahomans Together to Expose and End Slavery!
(1) Tell your state and local officials that you support the vigorous enforcement of
laws to protect against human trafficking. In a time of funding shortfalls, state and
local police agencies may be tempted to divert their limited resources away from human
trafficking investigations. Tell your mayor, your city council member, your state
representative, etc., that you support their efforts to suppress and prevent prostitution, kidnapping, and forced labor
-- including programs to empower young people, women, and children.
(2) Become aware of human trafficking in Oklahoma. Read the special 2010 report from the United Way of
Central Oklahoma, "Vital Signs Special Report on Human Trafficking." (PDF, here). Excerpt: "The two largest
human trafficking cases prosecuted to date in the United States are in Oklahoma."
(3) Become aware of human trafficking in the world. Watch this 5-minute video from the United Nations
Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights ... www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5u2IUF8JUw
Survivors of human trafficking in Europe, Asia, and Africa tell their personal stories.
(4) Visit ungift.org to learn about anti-trafficking programs and initiatives that are supported by
governments, businesses, media groups, and NGO's around the world. Learn about the Blue Heart Campaign
at this website ... www.unodc.org/blueheart/
(5) Learn about policy options that have been adopted by the 50 states to protect victims of human
trafficking. Visit the website of the Polaris Project (www.polarisproject.org), where you can review a summary
of state and federal laws ... www.polarisproject.org/resources/state-and-federal-laws ... Be sure to see their
legislative toolbox, including a state-by-state ratings chart that tracks the presence or absence of 10 categories of
state statutes that Polaris Project believes are critical to a comprehensive anti-trafficking legal framework.
(6) Organize a screening of "Not My Life," a documentary film endorsed by UNODC,
UN.GIFT, and UNICEF (among others). Find more information at ... http://notmylife.org
(7) Join UNA-USA. Your membership helps us to raise awareness about and create
support for the good work of the United Nations. Our mission: "We are dedicated to
educating, inspiring and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and vital work of the
United Nations, strengthening the United Nations system, promoting constructive United States
leadership in that system and achieving the goals of the United Nations Charter."
Join Here ...
"In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention
Month. President Obama stated in his initial proclamation that Americans commemorate the Emancipation
Proclamation which went into effect on January 1, 1863 and the 13th Amendment which President Lincoln sent
to the States for ratification on February 1, 1865. Due to those momentous acts that declared the freedom of all
citizens and served to abolish slavery, President Obama declared from January 1st to February 1st of each year as
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The month long event would culminate in the yearly
celebration of National Freedom Day which is celebrated on February 1st of each year.
"January 11th is National Human Trafficking
Awareness Day, which was set by the 110th
Congress - 1st Session S. CON. RES. 40 -
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, passed by the
Senate on June 22, 2007. The resolution was
established to support the goals and ideals of
observing an established National Day of
Human Trafficking Awareness."
Amit Shah conducts
outreach for the UN
Association at a
conference in South
7 Things You Can Do
to Help Stop Human Trafficking
Read a "Treehugger" interview with John Bowe,
author of "Nobodies: Modern American Slave
Labor & the Dark Side of the New Global Economy."
The book includes an account of the notorious
2001 incident in which the John Pickle Co. was
ordered to pay $1.3 million to 52 male victims of
discrimination and human trafficking. The incident
occurred at the company's factory in Tulsa. It
involved workers from India who were subjected
to abuse, intimidation and exploitation.
January is National Slavery and
Human Trafficking Prevention Month
and January 11th is observed as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day