International Current Affairs 2017

July 30: World Day against Trafficking in Persons

The United Nations (UN) World Day against Trafficking in Persons is observed every year on July 30 to raise awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promote and protect their rights.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation or sexual slavery for the trafficker or others.

The 2017 theme of the day is “Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons”. It highlights the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants. It also puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face.

It also seeks to addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses i.e. most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided.

Background

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons by adopting resolution A/RES/68/192 in 2013,. The resolution had declared that the observance of the day is necessary to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.

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Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota port deal

Sri Lanka has signed a US $1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake of the strategic Hambantota deep-sea port to China. Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.

The deal was signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holding Co. (CMPort). Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort will invest up to US $1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities. CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and services.

Comment

The port is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which will link ports and roads between China and

Europe. It is also considered that, this deal gives an advantage to China in the bunkering business, which provides fuel to ships.

India’s Concern

India is apprehensive that the port is part of Chinese ‘string of pearls’ with an objective to surround India and dock its military vessels. The String of pearls is a geopolitical theory on potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication extending from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan. These sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca and the Lombok Strait as well as other strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.

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