Stop Modern Day Slavery: Breaking the Web of Human Trafficking

Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Below is the statement complied by attendees to represent Unitarian Universalist voices at the United Nations.

UU United Nations 2007 Seminar Statement

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “no one shall be held in slavery of servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms,” that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world,” and that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment;”

Whereas the Unitarian Universalist principles affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” and “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;”

Whereas approximately eighty percent of all trafficked persons are women and children;

Acknowledging the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, noting especially its provision to promote gender equality and to empower women;

Defining human trafficking as “the movement of people through violence, deception, or coercion, for the purposes of forced labors, servitude, or slavery-like practices” as according to Anti-Slavery International;

Recognizing that human trafficking, in all of its forms – including, but not limited to: sex slavery, domestic servitude, child soldiers, and farm and factory slavery – violates the above conditions for a civil, free, and safe global community;

Recognizing that the root causes of the crime stem from both economic and cultural foundations;

Emphasizing that people in both developed and developing countries remain victims of human trafficking, and that vast inequalities exist within the global community.

Be It Hereby Resolved That:

We call upon all nations to encourage their tourism industries, educational facilities, and other commercial businesses to adhere by the End to Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes’ Code of Conduct;

We call upon the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office to ensure that all hotels used for UU continental and district events have signed said code.

We call upon all nations to also encourage the awareness of this issue, with a focus on the following:

  1. Countries of origin, transit, and destination,
  2. Those likely to be victimized by human trafficking,
  3. Those likely to demand the services of those trafficked.

We encourage all nations, corporations and non-profit organizations to pursue the three-pronged approach recommended by the European Union to combat human trafficking, involving prevention of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers, and protection of the human rights of trafficked persons.

We call upon all NGOs to provide rehabilitative support – including, but not limited to, medical treatment, safe and secure shelter, clothing, protection, and psychological counseling.

We strongly encourage all individuals to support and participate in projects set forth by NGOs that address human trafficking within their communities.

We recommend that all nations:

  1. Institute a policy of granting visas to those victimized by trafficking,
  2. Notify victims of said policy and their rights as victims in a language understood by the victim,
  3. Institute a rest period for victims of trafficking, as outlined in the Hague Ministerial Guidelines for EU Member States,
  4. Promote anti-trafficking criminal provisions, taskforces, research commissions, and law enforcement,
  5. Increase the severity of punishment for human trafficking.

Therefore, as liberal, religious people guided by compassion, and committed to social justice and the UU-UNO’s vision of a world without slavery, we call all peoples to urgent action to address human trafficking and inspire a 21st century abolitionist movement, as we reaffirm our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and to the interdependent web of all existence of which we are all a part.