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Topic A: Modern Day Slavery
Slavery has its modern incarnation in the form of human trafficking. Whether it is in commercial sex, agriculture, fish, minerals or construction, victims of slavery are exploited in every sector of the globalized economy. International efforts have mostly been directed at addressing the migration aspect of ‘trafficking’ through efforts to stop cross-border migration. Yet, it is slave-like exploitation of bonded labor, forced labor and traffic slaves that requires attention: how should nations address modern day slavery? Delegates must deal with: the demand for cheap labor and prostitutes, the supply of vulnerable people through conflict or lack of access to formal credit, but also the protection for children. The key contentious issues involve issues such as the legalization of prostitution (would this better protect victims or legitimize exploitation?), prosecution in global supply chains (where does the responsibility lie when Southeast Asian fishermen are known to traffic slaves, but Walmart still buys from them?) and reparations (if the US was built on slavery, does it have the moral obligation to compensate African nations for the persistent effects that slavery has had on economic outcomes today?).
Jasmine is a sophomore at Harvard College studying Government and Religion, with a secondary in Economics. She has only begun taking part in MUN significantly this year, and will be crisis directing Myanmar's Constituent Committee at HMUN. As a Thai-Singaporean, she has a strong interest in international affairs and is doing thesis research in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Beyond academic pursuits, Jasmine is an aspiring journalist and writes for international affairs magazines, and is also working on a start-up to reduce farmer debt in Thailand. She loves debating democracy with people from different backgrounds, so engage her in a conversation and its highly likely that she will not stop talking. This will be her first WorldMUN and she cannot wait to meet people from all around the world, and to learn about the food (especially the food) from other cultures!
Topic B: Food Security, State Infrastructure and Political Crises
Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Amidst drastic changes in climate, food security is an ever-growing issue: drought due to the 2016 El Niño is putting intense pressure on subsistence farmers in Asia, Latin America and much of Africa. Agricultural growth is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as compared to growth in other sectors. The question delegates must address is: how should the state and the international community support agriculture for the rural poor? Agricultural growth has not been successful in reducing poverty everywhere: in Bolivia and Brazil, growth has been concentrated in a dynamic export-oriented sector of large capital-intensive firms. State infrastructure often ignores the subsistence needs of farmers: the most pervasive instrument of the state, taxation, does not take the irregularity of income for farmers into account, and agriculture-specific social insurance is lacking. Moreover, agricultural subsidies in developed countries disadvantage developing countries, whilst food aid has often been linked to political instability, especially where this aid delivery irregular.