Water and the Well-Being of Men, Women, and Children Worldwide

Posted by Luis CdeBaca
March 25, 2010
Boy Runs Through Parched Field in India

About the Author: Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca directs the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

This week, the international community celebrated World Water Day, an opportunity to discuss ways to make water sustainable for generations to come.

Often we are reminded of the importance of water when there's too much or too little -- when a water main breaks or a field cracks due to drought or when rivers overflow their banks. The impact of water and drought doesn't just affect crops, fields, local economies, and water resources; it also affects the security of men, women, and children throughout the world.

The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons tracks how populations are more vulnerable to incidences of human trafficking in water-challenged communities. News reports this year have indicated that there are several incidences of women being sold by their husbands to pay off debts as well as young girls being sold into sexual slavery or forced labor by their impoverished families in water-stressed areas.

Trends from the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signal that as the water supply decreases, so does political, economic, and human security, thereby leading to higher incidences of human trafficking. Women and girls are at a higher risk of suffering from these exploitative crimes, such as debt bondage, sexual slavery, or forced labor than others in the communities due to cultural traditions.

Working with our partners throughout the world, we can bridge the divide between water and human security. Strengthening the world's water supply and ability to manage it during times of instability and uncertainty will help ebb the increased likelihood of trafficking in persons.

Let us hear from you on how the world can work together to keep men, women, and children in water-stressed areas across the globe safer.

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Jack K.
California, USA
March 25, 2010

Jack K. in California writes:

We've been in southern Calif for more than 20 years and have seen how this "Mediterranean climate" has gotten drier. It has taken a long time for the people to realize that there is a water issue that needs tobe addressed.

California, USA
March 25, 2010

Masood in California writes:

Intensification in partnership through Strategic Dialogue will help two countries but people to people interaction will make it happen.

As far as mutual trust there is no lack of it considering the leadership of Pakistan in agreement to the U.S. policies. They may question once in a while to affirm their stand to the reassurance of public opinion otherwise, Pakistani leadership is quite comfortable and their exuberance is obvious in engagement with U.S. counterparts.

However, perception of an average Pakistani is lacking the trust on the United States and own government. Secretary Clinton, initiative on public diplomacy in her trips to Pakistan and the emphasis on people-to-people interaction as a part of strategic discussion will be helpful.


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