Sandra, aged 15

“You have not done enough, you have never done enough, as long as there is still something to which you can contribute” – Dag Hammarskjöld  

Peace is more than not having war. It is a much broader matter that concerns all people. It is freedom from disturbance. It is freedom from violence. It is freedom from civil disorder, dispute or dissension between individuals or groups. It is a treaty agreeing to cessation of war between states. Peace is the resolution of conflict. There are measures we can take to maintain maximum peace and security possible such as determining the existence of a threat, followed by acting provisionally, and calling on members to apply economic sanctions. However despite these efforts, there will still be many more conflicts to resolve. Dag Hammarskjöld said, “You haven’t done enough, you have never done enough, as long as there is still something to which you can contribute”. There are many global issues, some of which are more important than others however; the issue that best applies to Dag Hammarskjöld’s statement is human trafficking. Human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal activity (R.Hammad); it affects millions of people worldwide and is a major threat to peace.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery; a crime against humanity where human beings are treated like commodities. They are bought and sold then sold again and eventually disposed of when they can no longer be productive and profitable. Human trafficking is exploitation, lost dignity and destruction of human lives (EHTN). The number of people being exploited ranges from estimates of 2.5 million to 27 million. This number ranges this much due to not having an exact definition of “trafficking”. Over 70 percent of these people are female. 50 percent are children (EHTN, Conference). According to the ILO, the industry is worth $32 billion a year in revenue. Everyday, 36 000 new people are trafficked (EHTN). They are invisible, yet they are everywhere. End Human Trafficking Now is an example of a campaign fighting against human trafficking. Measures are being taken to prevent this appalling crime however statistics still show that matters are not improving. In the year 2009, vaguely over 4000 people (10 to 11 per day) were successfully prosecuted for the crime (BBC World News Debate). No matter how much effort is put in to fighting this criminal activity, it seems as though it is never ending.

Human trafficking is a threat to peace because it is a form of unsolved conflict. The effect it was on human lives is dreadful. It mainly affects victims and their families however it is also a crime that should shame any human being. Millions of children are abused everyday. They are forced to work up to 12 hours a day without rest, food or water and yet are still forced to keep working. They suffer not only physical abuse but also psychological abuse. They are constantly lied to and taken advantage of. These children are brainwashed to the point where their trafficker terrifies them so they cannot escape this cruel life that they are living and they cannot defend themselves. They become lacking of trust and which leads to being resentful towards other people. Although children suffer to a great extent, they are not the only ones affected by modern day slavery. It has an impact on millions of innocent people all over the world such as young adults and women sold into sexual exploitation. Human trafficking causes lost dignity and freedom, as well as also destruction of human lives.

There are multiple campaigns that fight human trafficking however estimates show that it is still a major issue. Modern day slavery is a serious crime and it is crimes similar to this one that obstruct the world from being at peace. Peace is the resolution of conflict and resolving the issue of human trafficking would be a step closer to peace in families or relations. However, as Dag Hammarskjöld said, “you have not done enough, you have never done enough, as long as there is something to which you can contribute”. This statement indicates that even if the wars against threats to peace are won, other issues will still be present and different ones will arise everyday. As citizens of the world, “we have all been part of the problem. Let us now be part of the solution” (A. Costa). In 2005, UNODC helped multiple countries develop effective law enforcement and criminal justice institutions against human trafficking (www.un.org). This was a helpful idea seeing that numerous people were prosecuted for the crime later. Even so, several years later, the human trafficking industry has continued to grow. It has become the second fastest growing and most profitable criminal activity in the world.

The resolution of this conflict may not be established yet and it will require enormous efforts to put it to an end. People need to be part of the solution and must not give up. Every bit of progress and every stride in the right direction can help save lives, prevent or relieve suffering of innocent people. Having said that, Dag Hammarskjöld’s statement “you have not done enough, you have never done enough as long as there is still something to which you can contribute” must never be neglected.

World peace is not a matter that can be acquired easily, although, it is not impossible. Efforts and contributions toward world peace are unlimited. It is a concern that cannot be solved for good. There will always be new difficulties or conflicts, which will need to be resolved to be a step closer to peace.

About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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