Human Lives Human Rights: Rights experts have called on South Sudan to redouble its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons, for purposes of sexual exploitation, child marriage and recruitment, and forced labour.
Although progress made by the National Taskforce on Counter Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, could be seen, yet authorities need to strengthen prevention measures and improve protection and support for victims and also adopt comprehensive migration policy.
At this junction of peacebuilding and state building in South Sudan, urgent action to prevent trafficking in persons, and to protect survivors, especially women and children, is crucial.
A UN expert visiting South Sudan said: “Conflict-related sexual violence including trafficking, remains a serious concern. There is a need for continued attention to the risks faced by children associated with armed groups and armed forces, including of conflict-related sexual violence and trafficking.”
Internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence, coupled with climate-induced displacement, gender inequality, and limited access to education, increase the risks of trafficking, including for purposes of child recruitment and marriage, sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude.
Continuing violence also contributes to increased abductions and sale of children.
Prevention of trafficking in persons, for all purposes of exploitation, and protection of survivors, to ensure a human rights and survivor-centred response to trafficking in persons, are paramount.
The Special Rapporteur also met with a range of survivors and victims of trafficking, including those who had been trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation, domestic servitude, child and forced marriage, and child recruitment and use.
The expert met with sex workers, feminist activists, women leaders and community leaders, and lawyers.
As a country that hosts a high number of refugees and migrant workers, the Government of South Sudan must prioritise prevention of trafficking, including through increased awareness raising, and through ensuring just and fair conditions of work.
Rights experts also stressed the need to continue to prioritize ending sexual and gender-based violence, child and forced marriage, and to promote women’s empowerment and participation in peace building and state building processes.