Enhancing the concept of combating human trafficking

Haider Al Lawati – haiderdawood@hotmail.com – The efforts and endeavours of the countries in the region are ongoing alongside the international community to raise awareness on the concept of human trafficking. Every year, a number of forums and conferences are held to shed light on this issue, considering that the region is one of the most accessible areas for business and tourism in various economic sectors, not to mention women arriving from all over the world for flesh trade, drug smuggling and other purposes.
The world celebrates World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30 every year, which the United Nations General Assembly has declared globally in 2013 to fight this crime that has no boundaries.
This resolution represents a global declaration of the need to raise awareness on human trafficking and the suffering of victims and to promote their rights and protect them by mobilising international efforts to combat this phenomenon which violates human dignity.
Today, human trafficking is not limited to a specific country, but extends to all nations in different forms and patterns from one country to another. Examples include trafficking in women and children, selling human organs, forced labour, exploitation of domestic workers, selling children for adoption, forced marriage, exploitation of street children in armed conflicts and flesh trade, illegal exploitation of migrants and others as a result of global socioeconomic turmoil.
Recently, the Sultanate launched a new campaign under the auspices of Hussain bin Ali al Hilali, Attorney General, against trafficking, under the name “Ihsan”, which will go on for three months to raise awareness on this issue. In his speech, the attorney general said that crimes of trafficking in persons, particularly those related to sexual exploitation and forced labour, have seen unprecedented rise for the past 10 years.
This undoubtedly represents a serious reversal of the path of human evolution, which prompted the international community to acknowledge the gravity of this phenomenon, and there is growing awareness of the need to contain it with tougher legislative and executive measures and more awareness campaigns.
Accordingly, he added, human trafficking is mostly characterised by its trans-boundary nature, noting that the Oman realised that the Sultanate is not immune to such things taking place on the global scale and containing this crime is not achieved by action only but by supporting the victims through psychological and social care, rehabilitation to restore confidence in them and their communities and protection against abuse in the future.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking, and urged governments to take coordinated measures to defeat this social scourge. Many countries, including the Sultanate, have acceded to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols, which are an integral part of some of their national laws. Other countries have enacted their own anti-trafficking laws, criminalising various forms of exploitation of others, not only sexual, but also other acts including forced labour, slavery and slavery-like practices, as well as illegal organ trade.
In 2012, the Sultanate took action by forming the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, headed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assisted by a team of experts to study and discuss all details related to these issues.