The Conference was organised by “The Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement” (SMWIPM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain and under the auspices of H.H. Shaikha Sabeeka Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of H.M. the King of Bahrain. It was held on March 2nd and 3rd in Manama, Bahrain. It was sponsored by Motor Oil Hellas, Orascom and Artoc Group.Mr. Samih Sawiris, Mr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and Yosra.
The conference was held as a follow up event of the Round Table of the Business Community against human trafficking that had been organised on behalf of the SMWIPM by Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” in Athens, in 2006.
The international repression strategies, legislative prerequisites, prosecution and punishment of traffickers, the methods of informing about the networks through which the traffickers act, the services of victims protection, the importance of the contribution of the enterprising community and mass media were discussed during the conference.
H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis.
The Conference was attended by representatives of governmental organizations, NGOs, businessmen, artists, scientists and activists, such as H.H. Shajkha Sabeeka, the President of the SMWIPM H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, H.R.H. Prince Αbdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic Mrs. Μargarita Cedeno de Fernandez, the Egyptian Minister of Trade Mr. Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the President of the African Parliament Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, the Chairman of the U.N. General Conference Mr. Miguel dEscoto Brockman, the Director-General of the UNODC Mr. Antonio Mario Costa, the Chairman of MOTOR OIL HELLAS, Mr. Vardis J. Vardinoyannis, and Mrs. Marianna Vardinoyannis who was one of the speakers of the Conference, the Chairman of ORASCOM, Mr. Samih Sawiris, the Chairman of ARTOC GROUP Mr. Shafik Gabr, the Chairman of MANPOWER Mr. David Arkless, the Chairman of the Ithmaar Bank Mr. Khalid Janahi, journalists such as Mr. John Defterios of CNN, artists such as the Egyptian actress Υosra, film directors such Justin Dillon and Μichael Cory Davis, and many others. Many of the Board Members of the SMWIPM were also present such as the former UN Secretary-General Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former First Lady of Poland Mrs. Jolanta Kwasniewska, the former President of the Belgian Senate Mrs. Anne-Marie Lizin, Dr. Aleya Hammad, Dr. Leila Takla, Mr. Taher Helmy, Mr. Walid Shash, Mr. Αmr Badr, etc.
Mr. David Arkless, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and Mr. Rachid Mohamed Rachid.
H.H. Shaikha Sabeeka opened the Conference with a speech underlining that Human trafficking is an affront to human dignity that must be stopped Much of the resource to wage that battle is in the hands of the business community The experience of addressing and combating the problem of human trafficking has proven that there is no immediate or easy way to reduce its painful effects. It requires patience, determination and capacity building for those concerned with solving this issue. She also applauded Bahrain’s efforts in combating human trafficking, including those of the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also chairman of the Economic Development Board.
Mr. David Arkless, H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, H.H. Shaikha Sabeeka, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain and Mr. Antonio Mario Costa.
The SMWIPM President, H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, spoke immediately after, highlighting the movement’s work to combat human trafficking since 2004. She referred at first to the Global Campaign «End Human Trafficking Now» that was launched in Athens in 2006. She, further, underlined that there is still a lack of awareness about human trafficking. Many still see human trafficking as sexual exploitation, but actually it goes further to include bonded labour, domestic servitude and other criminal activities, which were seriously under-reported. The issue of human trafficking, she said, is increasing in severity and magnitude, especially during times of economic depression – and women and children were the main victims. “While the primary obligation to prevent and combat human trafficking lies with national governments, we believe that the business community can make an immense difference by assuming a leadership role in supporting innovation in labour policies, supply chain management and corporate social responsibility initiatives” Mrs. Mubarak said. “By shouldering its share of responsibility, transforming the dynamics of the profession, adopting a zero tolerance approach to trafficking in the policies of their enterprises, the business community can sever the demand-supply chain of this soaring criminal practice and regain the much needed confidence and trust of the wide public.” She also said according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recent global report, women accounted for more than 60 per cent of traffickers in certain regions. “Most of these women are victims of trafficking themselves and the result of an incomplete strategy on victim protection and reintegration. Mrs. Mubarak said the movement had been working hard to stimulate dialogues between multiple-stakeholders, sharing available statistics and effective grassroots approaches. The movement has also launched a Cyber Peace Initiative (CPI) to inspire, empower and engage people internationally to utilise the infinite power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in fostering safer and more secure societies.
Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Mr. Vardis J. Vardinoyannis and Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis.
Mrs. Vardinoyannis was a speaker at the closing session of the Conference. During her speech she said:
As one of the first members of this campaign, who hosted in Athens the first Round Table of the Business Community against Human Trafficking on January 2006 , I wish to express how delighted I am to see the progress we have made since then in such a short time.
Human trafficking is such a terrible global problem that it is easy for us to get discouraged. But, after this Conference here in Bahrain, I know that we have taken the right step in launching this campaign.
The Suzanne Mubarak Women?s International Peace Movement is true evidence of the role of women in the quest for a just society but also for a society with a greater wealth of ideas, vision and action. For this reason, I would first like to commend the great vision and foresight of its Founder and President, H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak. She has been the driving force behind this initiative, inspiring all of us and radiating her energy, determination and sensitivity in every effort. Because of her, the fight against human trafficking is a top priority of the civil society and of the private sector, not only in the Middle East but worldwide.
I would also like to commend the tremendous support in our campaign, of Her Highness Shaikha Sabeeka, who has so kindly and generously hosted this Conference in her beautiful and historic country. Her personal contribution through this Conference and several other projects as well as her support to our Movement?s Office in Geneva, which has worked tirelessly on this issue, have been extremely decisive factors of our success.
We leave this day with this wonderful declaration that was pronounced by Her Εxcellency Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak on behalf of all of us. And I would like to propose to reconvene this meeting in two years from now, in Egypt, that has been the cradle of this activity, together with our partners in the Women?s Coalition which was the first to address the idea of adopting this campaign. Until then, we will work very hard to be able to report on the progress we have made with all our partners.
The protection of the most vulnerable groups, especially children, will be our first priority. We join our forces in order to create the necessary conditions and a protective environment for all children. An environment which will safeguard them from any exploitation and abuse before it happens, and where they can grow up in safety and in dignity. It is in our hands and our responsibility to offer them what is their basic right. The right to live free, to play, to go to school, to dream!
In my capacity as Board member of the Movement, I pledge my full support, as I have done today in this Conference, and I will continue to enlist the support of the business community worldwide to join us in this effort.
Human trafficking has become a growing concern throughout the world today, from which no country is exempt. While some countries have become major transit areas, others are important source countries and others still major destinations. Victims are enticed by offers of better jobs and paid work in other countries. They are often fleeing poor conditions in their home countries, which are increasingly exacerbated by global crises such as food shortages and diminishing work opportunities. In view of its prime location between the east and the west, the Middle East has an important role to play in tackling human trafficking. Increasingly aware of the risk posed by this global scourge, Governments are stepping up their efforts to address the root causes of human trafficking and develop counter measures. The private sector is increasingly recognizing the magnitude of the problem and its share of responsibility in tackling this issue in its own sphere of influence. The involvement of civil society and non-governmental organisations in highlighting the problem and calling for action has also increased. The complex nature of the human trafficking problem requires the involvement of a multiplicity of stakeholders to work together towards effective solutions. The latter includes legislative frameworks; advocacy initiatives representing different age groups and professionals; security measures that have succeeded in uncovering trafficking networks; and effective victim protection services, all of which have their place in moving this agenda forward, and helping countries -governments, businesses and civil society come closer to achieving the goal of ending human trafficking now. In this context, the sessions planned build on the previous stages of the campaign and areas identified for future action.
The conference concluded with the Manama Declaration on HumanTrafficking at the Crossroads, supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The conference’s outcome proved to be a testimony to the region’s commitment to continue supporting the Athens Ethical Principles and to energetically build on the newly adopted declaration. In the light of this Crossroads Conference, Bahrain reiterates its strong support to fight human trafficking while assuring that more companies take action and encourage corporate responsibility as after all it is everybody’s business.
FINAL REPORT AND MANAMA DECLARATION (pdf file).