RIYADH: Coinciding with World Trafficking Day, the vice-chair of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, Sarah Al-Tamimi, has been nominated by the UN Office in Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for her efforts in raising awareness against human trafficking in the Kingdom.
This year, UNODC’s campaign focused for the first time on profiling people that work in human trafficking. Nominations came from various offices around the world and Al-Tamimi was the only person from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to be chosen.
“Enhancing quality of life for all is a key pillar of Vision 2030, which is a goal we also strive for at the committee,” she said.
The US State Department upgraded Saudi Arabia’s ranking in its latest annual Trafficking in Persons Report.
The report, globally recognized as the most comprehensive analysis of anti-trafficking efforts, raised the status of Saudi Arabia from “tier 3” to “tier 2 watch list.”
It highlighted improvements in inter-ministry coordination, greater transparency and data-sharing and “significantly increased” numbers of prosecutions and convictions under the Kingdom’s anti-trafficking laws.
Al-Tamimi said that this is “an achievement we are proud of. Our goal is to reach tier 1.”
She joined the fight against human trafficking when she joined the committee in October 2019. One of her responsibilities was developing strategy.
In March, the Kingdom launched its first National Referral Mechanism. The mechanism coordinates the responsibilities of all relevant Saudi authorities in the protection of victims and the prosecution of trafficking-in-persons crimes.
“Overseeing the National Referral Mechanism is the best practice to tackle this crime,” she said.
In February, she was appointed the committee’s vice-chair. Her work includes coordination with various ministries and authorities that work together as a national team.
She oversees training programs at the committee with partners at the UNODC Office for the GCC region and the International Organization for Migration as part of her capacity-building strategy, along with coordinating protection responses for victims and potential victims of trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a crime that knows no borders, therefore neither can we who fight it,” said Al-Tamimi. “Combatting human trafficking, therefore, requires the participation of a variety of international and local actors that goes far beyond the public sector and operates in many areas –ranging from cyberspace to private-sector supply chains.”
The Kingdom’s work on countering human trafficking falls under the “four Ps of anti-trafficking”: partnerships, prevention, protection and prosecution.
“The most vulnerable are the ones who are most likely to be victims,” she added.