One third of all victims of human trafficking are children, who face a heightened risk of forced labor, forced marriage, sexual exploitation and other abuses amid the ongoing pandemic, warns United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the UN marks World Day Against Human Trafficking. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has created a campaign to highlight the stories of trafficking victims, while trafficking expert Siobhan Mullally notes that many countries fail to protect child victims, instead arresting or forcibly repatriating them.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths is visiting Ethiopia this week to hear from humanitarian aid workers and civilians about their experiences in the country's Tigray region and meet with federal officials. Over 100,000 children in the region are facing acute malnutrition and new mothers in the region urgently need food aid, said UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado, following a visit to Tigray.
The more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is contributing to a fourth wave of the pandemic in the Middle East, where vaccination rates remain low and case counts are surging, the World Health Organization says. The US, Brazil, Indonesia, the UK and India accounted for the highest numbers of new cases over the past week, while global deaths related to the virus jumped 21% in that period.
A number of displaced women living in Burkina Faso have come forward alleging that local men have demanded money or sexual favors from them in exchange for a position on lists used by humanitarian organizations to distribute aid -- a practice several aid agencies have acknowledged is a problem. United Nations official Metsi Makhetha says the situation in Burkina Faso is increasing in complexity, and notes that humanitarian organizations "simply must and will do more" to protect women in the country from such abuses.
Record high temperatures in Europe and North America in recent weeks would not have been possible without the effects that humanity has had on the earth's climate, says World Meteorological Organization senior climate scientist Mike Kendon. "When you see observations like that, they are taking us outside our own envelope of experience of what we have seen before," Kendon says.
Taliban authorities must uphold their responsibility to negotiate a political settlement with the government of Afghanistan or risk losing the international legitimacy the group has gained during negotiations in Qatar, says Deborah Lyons, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country. The Taliban must also halt repression of women and girls and other human rights abuses to maintain its global standing, Lyons says.
Victims' voices lead the way for 2021 World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Let us be guided by the resilience of trafficking survivors & build the resilience of our societies to this crime, to end suffering & achieve justice. #EndHumanTrafficking@UNODC@UN
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