Human Slavery and Trafficking in Conflict Zones

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Program on Peace-building and Human Rights convened a panel on “Human Slavery and Trafficking in Conflict Zones” (10 May 2017). Director David L. Phillips moderated the panel. 

Lucy Usoyan, President of the Ezidi Relief Fund, presented on Ezidis in Iraq and northern Syria and their experience in ISIS captivity. She focused on the need for basic services to those released and continued efforts to free the approximately 3,000 Ezidi women and girls still in ISIS captivity. She called for intensified efforts towards accountability by government and intergovernmental bodies.

Thomas Wheeler, Senior Policy Advisor for Development and Human Rights at the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations, presented on the Modern Slavery Act in the United Kingdom and global drivers of human slavery, focusing on conflict. He discussed the U.K.’s efforts at the UN and Security Council, including chairing the “Group of Friends on Modern Slavery” and leading the Security Council debate in March 2017.

James Cockayne, Head of Office at the United Nations University, presented on the opportunities and challenges for action through the United Nations. He discussed UN Security Council Resolution 2331 (December 2016), Alliance 8.7 and the opportunities presented by the Sustainable Development Agenda. He recognized the challenges of effective, strategic coordination, while noting the opportunities created by increased political interest in the issue. He closed with an emphasis on focusing on the needs of those vulnerable to modern slavery and human trafficking in conflict. 

The event was co-sponsored by Human Trafficking Search, a global multilingual database on human trafficking. Click here to access the database.

Pictured left to right: Lindiwe Knutson, Program Coordinator at the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights; David L. Phillips; James Cockayne; Lucy Usoyan; and Thomas Wheeler.