Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS)
Human trafficking, an act that violates human rights, is a major problem for global society. It is an international crime which reduces human dignity and human values; it also causes other problems such as illegal drug problems, smuggling, prostitution, etc.
The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, is a 2000 UN-sponsored multilateral treaty, sometimes called the Palermo Convention. It defines human trafficking as the means of procuring, transporting, relocating, sheltering or accepting people by threatening or using force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception. Also included is abusing power or causing injury, giving or receiving money or benefits to a person controlling others to benefit oneself. This includes the exploitation of others in prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, slavery, or any other act similar to slavery or movement of any organ of the body, etc.
Forms of human trafficking
- Sex trade - The victim may be in a position of servitude or coercion to sell sex services.
- The use of slave labour such as in gardens, farms, houses, factories, fishing boats, etc., with hard work. Abuse may include lack of rest.
- Organ trafficking – the theft or purchase of human organs through coercion or force.
- Forced marriage - A broker may search for people to be coerced into marriage to strangers. After marriage, one partner is in a state of slavery, perhaps including being compelled to sell sex services.
- Forced begging - A broker may take children, the elderly, and/or the disabled from their hometowns to beg in big cities both at home and abroad.
- Forced illegal behaviour - The victims are often children who are forced to deliver drugs directly to retail traders or customers.
To address this issue of human trafficking, efforts are being made, both internationally and nationally. The United Nations, which established the convention, and the United States, which enacted the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, assess conditions according to minimum standards to end human trafficking in countries. The following levels may apply:
Tier 1 : countries that fully meet the minimum standards.
Tier 2 : countries that have not fully met the minimum standards, though there is an attempt to do so.
Tier 3 : countries that have not fully met the minimum standards, with no attempt to do so.
In Thailand, we are currently at Tier 2 (we were at Tier 3 in 2014). Currently, the trafficked individual is considered a victim, not a criminal, and must not be prosecuted; instead, trafficked victims must be restored to society.
Later, the 2008 Human Trafficking Prevention and Suppression Act was enacted to expand the definition of “victims” from trafficked women and children to any trafficked individual, regardless of gender and age. The key was to define trafficking offences as an organized criminal process, even if the members of the criminal organization did not commit their own offenses (which is consistent with the current boundary-less state of society).
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL, a 100-year-old service organization with more than one million, two hundred thousand members, has formed a Rotary Action Group known as the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS). It was formed to combat human trafficking in 2013 and was established in Thailand last year, with a coordinator* acting in Thailand.
By establishing this group to educate, understand, and promote ways to join and support the anti-slavery and human trafficking campaign, RAGAS looks to provide information about, and promote ways for you to engage and support anti-slavery and human trafficking projects, programmes, and campaigns.
**You can do this by:
- Publicizing and joining the work o, other anti-slavery organizations
- Reminding Rotarians of their ethical responsibilities with regard to the rights of children
- Encourage Rotarians and Rotary clubs to take action by:
- actively supporting the work of anti-slavery organizations in the fight against slavery and human trafficking
- directly supporting various projects such as Slavery Rehabilitation Centres through personal visits and participation in grant projects
- identifying and boycotting offending products
- supporting campaigns that highlight illegal activity and seek justice for victims
Operations will include training and seminars to educate teachers, students, or people at risk to gain knowledge and understanding. This will help them protect themselves from being deceived or being a victim in various ways, including trafficking via modern technology.
This issue of human trafficking is one of the seven Rotary Foundation's Areas of Focus Goals for Peace; if the world continues to have a trafficking problem, it will be difficult for this world to have peace. There is no way to solve this problem through the efforts of the government alone. A solution requires the cooperation of all parties.
Rotary works together to create peace through service for all human beings.
**Website - https://ragas.online/