UN & Member States: Prioritize an end to sex trafficking of women and girls!

Human trafficking is a criminal industry amassing $150 billion* USD globally each year with sex trafficking representing 54% of the industry overall.

From 27 – 28 September 2017, the UN General Assembly and governments will review the The Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and agree on a way forward to end human trafficking. With $99 billion* USD generated illegally each year from sex trafficking — primarily from the exploitation of women and girls — we need your help to make sure that sex trafficking and sexual exploitation continue to be recognized and addressed as distinct forms of human trafficking.

In September, the United Nations General Assembly will review the 2010 Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Global Plan, reviewed every four years, calls on governments, UN bodies, and civil society to work together to integrate the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programs on global development and to strengthen security around the world. It also calls for a UN fund for trafficking victims, especially women and children. At the end of the Review, governments will adopt a Political Declaration that lays out the way forward in the fight against trafficking.

With women and girls making up 96% of all victims trafficked for sex, Equality Now and our partners are calling on the UN and governments to prioritize specific measures to end sex trafficking during the upcoming Review.

The Palermo Protocol – the leading international treaty to combat trafficking in persons – officially defines trafficking as exploitation for prostitution or other sexual exploitation as one of the four distinct forms of human trafficking. 171 countries have signed on to the Palermo Protocol, committing to implementing its terms and provisions, including the legal definition of trafficking. And in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), developed to “stimulate action through 2030 (Agenda 2030) in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet,” three targets directly relate to trafficking and the implementation of the Global Plan of Action: Targets 5.2 (trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls), 8.7 (forced labor and child labor) and 16.2 (all other forms of child trafficking).

TAKE ACTION! Millions of vulnerable women and girls continue to suffer grave human rights violations every year at the hands of traffickers who profit from the trade in human beings, and from buyers who fuel this multibillion dollar illegal enterprise. However, we are concerned that sex trafficking is falling under the radar for governments and the UN. For example, a recent High Level Political Forum reviewing SDG 5, made no reference to sex trafficking even though Target 5.2 specifically outlines the need to address the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls

With little time left until the UNGA review of the Global Plan, help us make sure that sex trafficking is addressed and prioritized as its own distinct form of human trafficking. Together with the SDGs, the Plan will be a powerful tool to end the abuse and trauma of millions around the world.

Please join Equality Now in calling on the UN and governments to:

  • Use the international legal definition of trafficking in persons as provided and internationally agreed upon under the Palermo Protocol;
  • Ensure that all three SDG targets related to trafficking: 5.2; 8.7 and 16.2 are prioritized in implementing the Global Plan of Action; and,
  • Urge the remaining 21 governments who have not done so to ratify and enforce the Palermo Protocol.

*International Labour Organization “Poverty & Profits” Report, 2014

Letter To Officials

President Peter Thomson
71st Session of the General Assembly

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chair of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons
Phone:+41 22 917 9220


About Equality Now:

Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy. Our international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality, sexual trafficking, sexual violence, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage.

For details of our current campaigns, please visit www.equalitynow.org and find us on Facebook @equalitynoworg and Twitter @equalitynow.