World Day against Trafficking in Persons Statements (2016)

Statement of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
on United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons - 30 July 2016

All over the world, tens of millions of people are desperately seeking refuge, many of them far from home and even farther from safety.  Migrants and refugees face imposing physical obstacles and bureaucratic barriers. Sadly, they are also vulnerable to human rights violations and exploitation by human traffickers.

Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable. To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees -- and particularly young people, women and children -- from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer and more dignified future. We must govern migration in a safe and rights-based way, create sufficient and accessible pathways for the entry of migrants and refugees, and ultimately tackle the root causes of the conflicts -- extreme poverty, environmental degradation and other crises which force people across borders, seas and deserts.

These issues will be central to the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, to be held in New York on 19 September 2016. This meeting aims amongst other goals to win renewed commitment for intensified efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and refugees, ensure protection and assistance for the victims of trafficking and of abusive smuggling, as well as all those who suffer human rights violations and abuse in the course of large movements, and promote respect for international law, standards and frameworks.

I call on every nation -- whether country of origin, transit or destination --  to recognize our shared responsibility. As a first step, we need a strong legal basis for action. I encourage all States to adopt and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on human trafficking as well as all core international human rights instruments.   

On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I urge everyone to recommit to protect, respect and fulfil the human rights of all migrants and refugees. Creating and supporting well-governed, safe and human rights-based migration and asylum procedures will be an important step towards ending the abhorrent practice of profiting from human despair and misery.

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Statement of the UNODC Executive Director
on United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons - 30 July 2016

Human trafficking is a parasitic crime that feeds on vulnerability, thrives in times of uncertainty, and profits from inaction.

While the international community struggles with what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the biggest refugee and migration crisis since World War II, human traffickers and migrant smugglers are taking advantage of misery to turn a profit.

Criminals prey on people in need and without support, and they see migrants, especially children, as easy targets for exploitation, violence and abuse.

Armed conflicts and humanitarian crises expose those caught in the crossfire to increased risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, organ removal, servitude and other forms of exploitation.

While not all migrants are vulnerable to being trafficked, the forthcoming UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016 identifies a clear pattern linking undocumented migration to trafficking in persons.

Certain migration flows appear particularly vulnerable to trafficking in persons. Citizens from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador represent about 20 per cent of the victims detected in the United States, while the legal migration flows from these countries represent about five per cent of the total. Similar patterns are found in Western Europe, where citizens from South Eastern Europe comprise a large share of detected victims.

The UNODC report, which will be released later this year, further highlights the links between human trafficking and refugee flows from countries including Syria and Eritrea, and involving Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

We clearly need to do more to stop human traffickers as part of coordinated and comprehensive responses to the refugee crisis and continuing migration challenges we are facing around the world.

I call on governments to ratify and effectively implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on trafficking and migrant smuggling, to assist and protect victims and the rights of smuggled migrants, and promote the international cooperation needed to bring criminals to justice.

By strengthening action under the Protocols, we can reinforce protection for vulnerable children, women and men, and help promote the safety and dignity of refugees and migrants at all stages of their journey.

Furthermore, I urge governments, companies and individuals to support the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons: www.unodc.org/humantraffickingfund.

The Trust Fund is financed solely through your donations. The Fund works with NGO partners across the globe to assist trafficking victims, providing shelter and vocational training and schooling, as well as access to health, psychosocial, legal and economic services.

Finally, I encourage everyone - voters and community leaders, business owners and employees, teachers and students, consumers and tourists - to educate themselves and the people around them, and help raise awareness of this terrible crime.

On this United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us pledge to work together to give victims, as well as the many children, women and men on the move who remain far too vulnerable to trafficking, a much-needed voice and a helping hand.

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JOINT STATEMENT - Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT)
on United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons - 30 July 2016

 

This year has been another deadly year for migrants and refugees, with thousands killed across the world - many of whom were seeking to escape conflict and chaos.

Migrants and refugees are in situations of vulnerability throughout their search for sanctuary and safety. The absence of sufficient legal and safe pathways can lead migrants to undertake perilous journeys. Every stop, every journey on train, boat or truck, risks the possibility of abuse, violence and exploitation at the hands of those who scorn internationally agreed laws and standards. Those preyed upon are rights-holders, regardless of their immigration status, and they are entitled to our assistance and protection.

Amongst these people are many victims of human trafficking. After risking their lives in arduous journeys, instead of home and rescue, people find themselves subjected to abuse and exploitation in transit and destination countries.

The often precarious legal status of displaced persons and refugees, a lack of legal employment opportunities and income, limited access to social services and support structures, minimal protection schemes and gender inequality make many women, men and children, especially unaccompanied children, more vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking in persons.

Trafficking in persons is a global problem that affects virtually every country in every region of the world and yet, it remains an invisible phenomenon to the eyes of many people. Victims of trafficking are building our homes, cleaning our houses, processing our food and tailoring our clothes.

Trafficking is present in the sex industry where women and young girls are held in debt bondage; in the construction sector, where thousands of workers are abused and deceived; in farms and fisheries, where victims, including children, are isolated and exploited without being paid the wages they were led to expect; and in the houses and apartments of wealthy people where maids are not allowed outside.

A better understanding of the circumstances that increase people's vulnerabilities to trafficking in persons can enhance public awareness that human trafficking occurs around us or can even be related to our own actions, involving, for example, exploitation in our own societies. Informed understanding can also guide national responses to mitigate the risks of becoming a victim of human trafficking and to prompt victims' identification.

In contrast, failing to acknowledge the vulnerabilities to human trafficking enhanced, for example, by irregular migration contributes to people never being identified and/or assisted as trafficking victims throughout their trafficking experience. As a consequence, victims do not access their fundamental rights and the assistance and protection measures they are entitled to, including physical and mental health support, witness protection and remedies.

A High-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September 2016 will address the issue of large movement of migrants and refugees. It is hoped the outcome of this Summit will include a renewed commitment from Member States to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking, to ensure protection and assistance to victims of trafficking and to better implement the relevant international instruments.

Through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted last year, the international community has committed itself to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to the provision of access to justice for all and to the building of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (SDG 16). In doing so, we have collectively committed to combat all forms of organized crime (16.4), including trafficking in persons. We have further to this, specifically promised to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate human trafficking (8.7) and end the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children (16.2); eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation (5.2); and to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration (10.7).

Assistance to victims and those who may become victims continues to be urgently needed, and existing international mechanisms like the IOM Global Assistance Fund and the United Nations Voluntary Trust Funds on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and for Victims of Human Trafficking can be used to provide direct and/or immediate relief for victims of trafficking.

Conflicts and natural disaster have led millions of people to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring countries and beyond, in turn placing stress on existing national systems and resources. Criminal networks engaging in trafficking in persons thrive in contexts of conflict, instability and other circumstances that increase people's vulnerability. If justice and human rights are to prevail, human traffickers must be stopped from abusing and exploiting the hopes of migrants and refugees. But to do this, the world needs to act together to tackle the root causes of conflict and irregular migration, as well as addressing the exploitation and victimization that many migrants suffer.

In its third year, the World Day provides an opportunity to reflect on our shared responsibility and show solidarity with those victimized. Human trafficking is a parasitic crime that feeds on vulnerability, thrives in times of uncertainty, and profits from inaction. With greater understanding and by working together, we can give trafficking victims, as well as the many children, women and men on the move vulnerable to human trafficking, a much-needed voice and a helping hand.

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World Day against Trafficking in Persons Statements (2015)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Message on World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2015

Around the world, criminals are selling people for profit. Vulnerable women and girls form the majority of human trafficking victims, including those driven into degrading sexual exploitation.

Trafficked persons are often tricked into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job. Migrants crossing deadly seas and burning deserts to escape conflict, poverty and persecution are also at risk of being trafficked. Individuals can find themselves alone in a foreign land where they have been stripped of their passports, forced into debt and exploited for labour. Children and young people can find their lives stolen, their education blocked and their dreams dashed. It is an assault on their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Criminal trafficking networks thrive in countries where the rule of law is weak and international cooperation is difficult. I call on all countries to fight money laundering and sign and ratify the UN Conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime, including the latter's human trafficking protocol.

We must also provide meaningful assistance to those in need, including protection and access to justice and remedies I applaud the donors who have enabled the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons Fund to assist thousands of people. At the same time, I urge greater contributions to help the many million other victims of this crime move forward with their lives.

Every country must join together to overcome this transnational threat by supporting and protecting victims while pursuing and prosecuting the criminals. On the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, let us resolve to act as one in the name of justice and dignity for all.

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov:
Message on World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2015

Many millions of vulnerable women, men and children are being cruelly exploited - coerced into working in factories, fields and brothels or begging on the street; pushed into armed combat or forced marriages; trafficked so their organs can be harvested and sold.

We are living in an era of many crises and troubles, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned. Record numbers of people are fleeing war and persecution, and the international community is grappling with acute migration challenges in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, in the Andaman Sea, Latin America and Africa.

For human traffickers, these hardships represent business opportunities.

The world is facing many grave challenges, and our resources are strained. But we cannot allow unscrupulous criminals to exploit these crises and take advantage of desperation and suffering.

No place in the world is safe: the latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the trafficking victims identified in 124 states were citizens of 152 different countries.

More and more detected victims of trafficking are children, especially girls under the age of 18.

Over the past decade there has been no significant improvement in the overall criminal justice response to this crime. In the period covered by the Global Report, some 40 per cent of countries reported less than ten convictions per year. Some 15 per cent did not record a single conviction.

This illustrates a level of impunity which is unacceptable and highlights the fact that, at the moment, the traffickers are getting away with their crimes.

30 July is United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, established to raise awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promote and protect their rights.

Let us take this opportunity to give hope to trafficking victims, pledge to do our part and help end this terrible crime.

The first step to taking action is taking this crime seriously.

Governments must ratify and effectively implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol on trafficking, to protect trafficking victims, promote cooperation between countries and ensure that criminal traffickers, wherever they are, are brought to justice.

I encourage everyone to educate themselves and help others become aware of the problem.

As consumers, employees and business owners, ordinary citizens can advocate for measures to prevent the use of forced labour in operations and supply chains, and eliminate abusive and fraudulent recruitment practices that may lead to trafficking.

Finally, I urge governments, companies and individuals to support the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons: www.unodc.org/humantraffickingfund.

Financed solely through voluntary contributions, the Trust Fund works with NGO partners across the globe to identify women, children and men who have been exploited by traffickers, and give them the assistance, protection and support they need.

Since 2011, the Trust Fund has helped some 2,000 victims annually, providing shelter, basic health services, vocational training and schooling, as well as psychosocial, legal and economic support.

Join the #igivehope campaign today and show your solidarity with victims of human trafficking: www.unodc.org/endht.

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Statement from the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner:

On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we are reminded of the plight of millions of victims that are suffering at the hands of their exploiters. But we are also reminded that there are tangible ways to help these victims. The United Nations established the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons as it recognized the urgent need for the world community to assist those vulnerable members of our society.

There is virtually no place in the world that is safe from trafficking in persons. One in three known victims of this crime is a child, with girls and women accounting for 70 per cent of overall victims worldwide. That being said, men are also targeted, in particular those from low socio-economic backgrounds and those who lack legal status abroad.

So what can we do? All of us can make a difference, through supporting one victim at a time! The United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons does just that, by selecting projects from NGOs across the globe that provide specialized, effective and long-term assistance to trafficking victims. Through the Trust Fund, we can help survivors of this horrendous crime heal their wounds and take back their lives, in real and practical ways.

Thanks to the tireless work of the 30 NGOs receiving funding through the Trust Fund, around 2,000 victims a year have been assisted since 2011. Last year, the Trust Fund held a second Call for Proposals, which received 113 applications from NGOs across the globe. Regrettably, despite the obvious real needs that exist, there were only enough funds to support 19 of these projects!

The Trust Fund Board was impressed by the high quality of the proposals submitted and their potential in achieving effective assistance to victims. Therefore, it has placed over 50 proposals on a reserve list, hoping for more donor contributions in the next months, in order to provide more grants to selected projects and be able to help many more victims rebuild their lives and receive justice for the crime committed against them.

This second World Day against Trafficking in Persons is another call to action to end this crime and give hope to victims. Yet we cannot be complacent. I encourage you to have a heart for the victims of trafficking in persons and support the Trust Fund in any way you can. Working together is the only way to bring an end to this shameful crime.

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Statement on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons - 30 July 2015
UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino

Today marks the second United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons - an opportunity to focus our attention and compassion on the millions of people around the world whose lives are affected by Human Trafficking.

As Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime it has been my privilege to have been involved in the Organization's efforts to support victims of human trafficking. I have seen first-hand both the terrible plight of the victims of this crime, and the incredible strength of the survivors.

Nowhere in the world is immune from Human Trafficking. Every year, untold numbers of vulnerable men, women and children are exploited by criminals, forced into working in factories, fields, brothels, even begging on the streets. The situation is dire, but it is not without hope.

The UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons supports incredible organizations all over the world that provide specialized, targeted and effective assistance to help those who have been most affected by this horrendous crime.

I have witnessed how a small contribution can improve the lives of hundreds of children, women and men who have been exploited by traffickers, restoring their dignity and hope for a better future.

We can all do something to reach out and give hope to a victim of Human Trafficking. Today I take this opportunity to encourage you to do just that. Join the I Give Hope campaign online, spare a few minutes to find out more about Human Trafficking and the difference you can make to victims of one of today's most truly despicable crimes. We all have a part to play; only in working together can we put an end to this horrendous crime. So please, wherever you are, I encourage you to have a heart for victims of human trafficking and support the Trust Fund in any way you can.

Thank you.

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Video Statement - GWA Ali Rahimi
World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July 2015, delivered at the Filmfestival Rathausplatz)

Dear visitors to this year's Filmfestival Rathausplatz.

Today marks the second United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons - a day established to bring attention to a global concern which affects the lives of millions of people around the world, including right here in Austria.

As a national Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime I have been privileged to have been involved in the Organization's efforts to support victims of human trafficking.

Through the UN Trust Fund established for this purpose, I have witnessed how a small contribution can improve the lives of hundreds of children, women and men who have been exploited in the hands of traffickers. The Trust Fund supports civil society organizations providing specialized, targeted and effective assistance to help those who have been most affected by this horrendous crime, thereby restoring their hope and human dignity.

Tonight I take this opportunity to invite you to do the same: I encourage each and every one of you to visit the stand that has been set up here for the World Day. If you can, please spare a few minutes to find out more about the difference you can make to victims of one of today's most truly despicable crimes.

Thank you for your time - and enjoy the evening.

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