NUIG Professor Siobhán Mullally has been appointed as a UN Special Rapporteur on human trafficking, with her post having a particular focus on the trafficking of women and children.
Prof Mullally, who is Director of the he Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUIG, was chosen for the post by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Her new job will focus on the human rights of victims of trafficking in persons, and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights and to take effective preventive action.
This work will involve visits to countries of interest in order to study their situations first hand, and come up with recommendations on how to fight trafficking on those countries, and support victims.
Prof Mullally will also submit annual reports to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, and brief the Security Council on the links between human trafficking and armed conflict.
“Human Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights, often targeting people living in poverty, victims of discrimination, and people fleeing situations of armed conflict or persecution,” Professor Mullaly said.
The COVID-19 crisis has only made this situation worse, she added, by limiting victims’ access to support services, and moving resources away from crucial preventative measures.
Closing off borders and access to safe migration, along with an increase in poverty brought on by the worldwide shutdown in this pandemic increase the risk of all forms of exploitation including labour and sexual exploitation Prof Mullaly says.
“Children who are increasingly in online environments and not attending school regularly, are particularly at risk of trafficking.”
“It is critical now that effective protection measures are taken to vindicate the human rights of victims of trafficking, and that Governments and the international community take seriously their obligations to prevent human trafficking.”
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