UNITED NATIONS — The Republic of Belarus sponsored a resolution here to strengthen the worldwide fight against the trafficking of women and girls. The resolution was approved unanimously without a vote.

The document recognizes this “contemporary form of slavery” as a gross violation of fundamental human rights.

The resolution calls upon governments to take steps to eliminate the demand for trafficked women and girls and to reduce factors leading to victims’ vulnerability to trafficking, “including poverty, underdevelopment and lack of equal opportunities, lack of equal access to education” and lack of equal access to decent jobs.

It called on all member states to prosecute those responsible for human trafficking and to ensure that trafficked women were not victimized through state penalties for being trafficked, as is commonly the case in many countries.

Speaking on behalf of Belarus, Andrei Dapkiunas spoke of the need for “governments, international institutions, civil society” to unite the “efforts of the developing and developed countries, of countries of origin, destination and transit, from the South to the North.”

“Only then,” he added, “can we expect a groundbreaking shift for the better in our efforts to eradicate from the face of the Earth all forms of slavery altogether.”

While Belarus has most consistently led the fight against human trafficking on the international level, the resolution’s co-sponsors include Cuba, China, Angola, Vietnam and others.

The document, entitled “Improving the coordination in efforts against trafficking in persons,” was adopted by the General Assembly’s Third Committee in October and adopted by the full assembly on Dec. 20.

dmargolis @ pww.org