Students Debate Resolutions to End Modern Slavery at Model UN Conference

Human Smuggling, UN

Washington, DC – More than 600 middle and high school students, educators, volunteers and guests participated in the 15th Annual Spring Model UN Conference held at the US Department of State on Friday (26/04).  

The event hosted by Global Classrooms DC (GCDC), the flagship education programme of the UN Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), marked the culmination of a year-long partnership between UNA-NCA and USA for IOM, the nonprofit partner of the International Organization for Migration.  

The students discussed a number of global issues, including the migration-related topic of modern slavery.  

“Model UN has taught me that I don’t need to only support the ‘marketable’ opinion to be able to solve a problem,” said Fatemeh Naghavinia, a ninth-grade student who acted as secretary-general of this year’s conference. “Creativity and open-mindedness serve as a segue to successful diplomacy.” 

As part of the GCDC education programme, USA for IOM collaborated with UNA-NCA to develop a curriculum unit specifically on migration. The curriculum incorporated creative films submitted to the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, a joint initiative between IOM and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. 

“The students demonstrated an extraordinary understanding of migration and modern slavery,” said Maria Moreno, Head of Operations for USA for IOM. “I am so inspired by their commitment to tackle critical problems like sexual and labour exploitation.” 

IOM is the leading organization in the field of migration and has decades of experience working with partners on measures to combat modern slavery. As the largest provider of services to victims of human trafficking across the globe, IOM has assisted more than 100,000 trafficked persons since 1994. With this expertise, IOM staff served as guest speakers to expose students to the growing phenomenon and discussed how countries can work together to confront these complex crimes. 

The students used skills obtained through the curriculum to debate recent global migration crises and negotiate draft UN resolutions to address these challenges. With more people on the move today, this initiative is vital to promote dialogue and understanding among youth. 

For more information, please contact Liz Lizama at USA for IOM, Tel.+1 202 716 8820, Email:

  • Students discussed ending modern slavery at the 15th Annual Model UN Conference held 26 April at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Photo: IOM/Maria Moreno