This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Upsurge in human trafficking, says new report
Drawing on information from 142 countries, a new report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) revealed on Monday that human trafficking is on the rise, especially when it comes to children.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov presented the report, which examines trafficking trends and patterns worldwide.
"Child soldiers, forced labour, sexual slavery – human trafficking has taken on horrific dimensions” said Mr. Fedotov, adding that armed groups and terrorists use the illicit trade “to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters”.
The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons spelled out that there is an increase in the number of children being trafficked, who now account for 30 per cent of all victims – mostly girls. Some 59 per cent of trafficking also involves sexual exploitation.
UN Refugee Agency to assess Saudi woman in Bangkok
The Thai authorities have granted the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, access to Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family in Kuwait, hoping to seek asylum in Australia.
Ms. Al-qunun told human rights groups and the media that she was stopped at Bangkok airport in transit from Kuwait, where her passport was confiscated.
UNHCR consistently advocates that refugees and asylum seekers who have been confirmed or claim to need international protection cannot be returned to their countries of origin, according to the principle of non-refoulment – an international principle that prevents States from returning people to territories where they are under threat.
According to Cécile Pouilly, UNHCR Global Spokesperson on gender issues, who spoke to UN News, Ms. Al-qunun has now reached safety.
I am pleased to confirm that we have been granted access to Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun, the Saudi national. She is now in a state of emotional distress, when she needs to be given a little bit of breathing space but in the coming days we keep on meeting with her to try to assess her protection needs.
‘Environmentally-displaced’ people becoming a bigger factor
Also on migration, the UN environment programme pointed on Monday to a new category of involuntary migrants that has been emerging in recent years: Environmentally displaced people.
These are people who have been forced to move because climate change has caused natural disasters or degraded resources that have rendered their livelihoods unsustainable.
According to a study co-funded by UNHCR, the University of Oxford, and the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, climate change is expected to displace between 50 and 200 million people by 2050.
While the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants states that “migration should be a choice, not a necessity”, there are countless groups of involuntary migrants, including refugees, Stateless persons, people who are trafficked and those internally displaced by disasters and conflict.
And now environmental change threatens to become one of the most potentially significant generators of new displacement.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.