In respecting January 11th, 2024, as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Sovereign Order of Malta Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations hosted a conference that was a call to action on the profound impact governments, civil society (including faith-based organizations), and healthcare professionals can have in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by human trafficking.
The conference was organized by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations in New York in collaboration with Global Strategic Operatives, and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of France, Mexico, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines as well as FAST Initiative (Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking).
The two-hour event was held in the Trusteeship Chamber of the UN and was attended by over 70 representatives of UN Member States, UN Agency staff, health care organizations, NGOs and members of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Our Mission expresses sincere gratitude to Mexico for their tireless efforts in helping us host the event. Special thanks also to H. E. Ambassador Antonio Legdameo, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines, who was a Keynote Speaker. We also greatly appreciate the Missions of France, Nigeria, and Liechtenstein for co-sponsoring the event, as well as Global Strategic Operatives, Finance Against Slavery & Trafficking and the Santa Marta Group for their integral involvement in the Conference.
The diverse array of stakeholders at the conference ensured that pragmatic and actionable solutions were discussed, the implementation of which could alleviate the suffering of victims and survivors. The involvement of relevant member states ensured that the practicalities of implementation were addressed. We are proud to have hosted many of our member states during this event, including the United States of America, Qatar, Austria, Albania, Guatemala, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, the Philippines, Belarus and the African Union.
Keynote speakers included Order of Malta Ambassador Michel Veuthey, based in our UN office in Geneva, offering a comprehensive overview of current human trafficking issues and initiatives sponsored by the Sovereign Order of Malta. Mrs. Debbie O’Hara Ruskowski, Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, focused on practical solutions and an initiative developed by Global Strategic Operatives, sponsored by the Sovereign Order of Malta, aiming to create a protocol for healthcare professionals in identifying trafficking victims. Mr. Kevin Hyland, OBE, managing the Santa Marta Group, highlighted efforts under
Overall, the event fostered a deeper understanding of the critical intersection between human trafficking, international preventative measures, and the impact of healthcare. It emphasized the role of healthcare providers as frontline responders and advocates, enabling victims to free themselves and reestablish their lives. Participants came away from the event commenting that it was one of the few UN discussion events which provided a range of practical solutions and courses of action.
HERE is the full recorded event.