Kathmandu: Representatives from the government, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the survivors of trafficking in persons (TIP) have emphasized the growing potential and threat brought about by technology that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
Speaking at a program organized to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons by Hamro Sammanm, Winrock International, they spoke on changing ways that human traffickers have been using to lure vulnerable people, particularly girls and women.
Speaking at a program, Sabina Pradhan, Acting Chief of Party of Hamro Samman, said, “After the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of technology shot up. Perpetrators have been taking advantage of the growing use of technology for human trafficking.”
She stressed that efforts should focus on combating human trafficking using technology to trace suspected perpetrators and investigate the cases of trafficking more effectively.
Noting how the pandemic and other recent global events have heightened the vulnerability of marginalized communities, Sepideh Keyvanshad, USAID/Nepal Mission Director, expressed her views, saying, “That USAID recognizes the importance of understanding how modern technology within the digital space increasingly intersects with trafficking and we will continue to partner with the government to find solutions that safeguard the most vulnerable from being trafficked.”
“The United States is committed to helping Nepal address the global issue of human trafficking,” she added.
Dr Karuna Onta of the British Embassy, Nepal, delivering her keynote speech said, “Technology is going to remain for long, we have to be clever in using technology for our benefits. Technology-based solutions will be the need of the day to find innovative approaches to educate people to seek information and make informed migration decisions, use technology to support online reporting, identify criminals, and increase government accountability”.
The representatives also discussed the heightened vulnerability, renewed challenges, and possible collaborative solutions to combat TIP.
Chief Guest Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Uma Regmi Under Secretary MOWCSC Bharat Sharma spoke during the event followed by a panel discussion on the ‘Use and Abuse of Technology: Challenges and Opportunities.’
More than 90 people representing the trafficking survivors and their networks, government agencies, CSOs, the private sector and news media participated in the event.
In order to support the government in its fight against TIP, Hamro Samman said it has been providing technical support to the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens to develop an integrated TIP Data System.
Once functional, it is expected to systematize and ease the data collection on TIP and the analysis of the data will enable the government to adopt more effective methods to combat TIP, the organization added.
Hamro Samman is jointly funded by USAID and UK aid to address human trafficking, specifically in the foreign labor migration and entertainment sectors.