On Floor three in Fairfax A, the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) is hard at work solving one of the world’s most pressing issues: child trafficking. The International Labor Organization posits that each year, around 1.2 million children are subject to trafficking. This includes forced labor, sexual trafficking, and children in armed forces and drug trades. Recognizing the complexities of the topic, the delegate from Togo astutely pointed out that “there has never been a concrete solution” to the issue. However, that was no impediment to these delegates., who welcomed the challenge.
In tackling the multifaceted issue, delegates have thus far proposed two strong working papers that address the economic, social, and legal aspects of child trafficking. A delegate from Sweden, working with countries such as Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, described his working paper, titled PACT – a “Plan Against Child Trafficking,” a five point plan. PACT’s first consideration is to clarify the definition of child trafficking, which is currently stated to be the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation.” Although the delegate was unable to provide a redefinition, the purpose of such a plan seemed to be not to rearrange the current working, but rather to seek a more widespread understanding of such activities.
PACT also considers collaboration between countries, the issue of financing the efforts against trafficking, bringing awareness through social media awareness and to border officials and police forces, and rehabilitation of the victims. As the delegate from Sweden emphasized, rehabilitation is perhaps “the most important” issue, given that it unites child trafficking and the equally important topic of mental health.
Across the room, the delegates from Congo, Brazil, Pakistan, and Nigeria were in deep discussion, formulating their own plan. Their informally named “six point plan” also considered educating the people, rehabilitating victims, and how to best fund these projects. In regards to rehabilitation, the delegate from Pakistan pointed out that currently, the “gap between victims being saved and going back into normal society” is far too large. Unlike PACT, the six point plan further encompassed pushing for new laws, increasing border security, and formulating an international database to aid in cross country collaboration.
Delegates from the six point plan emphasized that their working paper is specifically meant to target the interests of smaller, underdeveloped countries, saying that they hope to represent the “ideas of people.” From the outside, this working paper seems to effectively target a wider range of issues. However, the delegate from Japan – a supporter of the PACT paper- had some reservations: the six point plan, he criticized, “has unrealistic goals” and doesn’t go into enough detail.
From the outside, one can see that these two plans are really quite similar: they work to educate the people, help the victims in the recovery process, and figure out a way to fund their projects. Throughout their speeches, delegates reminded their constituents of the importance of cross-country collaboration. This is now being put to the test.
The real question is, can the countries from both these workings papers unite to form one cohesive solution?