EU-UNODC Cooperation: Preventing and Addressing Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling

Vienna, Austria 29 May 2019 - The European Union (EU) and UNODC have a long history of close cooperation. Areas of cooperation cover all UNODC geographic regions and mandates, including preventing and addressing Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). Current UNODC-EU cooperation on TIP and SOM focuses on strategy and policy development, legislative assistance, training and technical cooperation as well as bilateral, regional and international cooperation to prevent these crimes and protect and assist victims of trafficking and vulnerable smuggled migrants. Cooperation primarily materializes though the implementation of a series of projects, including the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT).  Against this background, UNODC and the Delegation of EU to the International Organisations convened a high-level side event in Vienna along the margins of the 28 thCommission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). The event, moderated by H.E. Alena Kupchyna, Ambassador of Belarus and Chairperson of the 2019 CCPCJ, featured GLO.ACT partner countries exchanging on:

  • Closing the impunity gap;
  • Strengthening protection and assistance for victims and vulnerable migrants;
  • Fostering regional and trans-regional cooperation;

Addressing the participants of the high level side event, Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director, UNODC said Addressing the participants of the high level side event, Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director, UNODC said "I am proud to say that innovative and impactful programming, implemented in cooperation with IOM and UNICEF, has been a common thread running through all GLO.ACT work" while EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Ms. Myria Vassiliadou stated that "the strategic EU partnership with UNODC can be further fostered. Partnerships and outreach are essential in our efforts to eradicate trafficking."

Several of the distinguished speakers took the time to elaborate on how EU-UNODC cooperation under GLO.ACT specifically helped strengthen their countries response to TIP and SOM and stressed the importance of non-criminalisation of victims and provision of victim assistance and protection. The event was also an opportunity to hear about the next phase of the project, which will focus on Asia and the Middle East (2018-2022). More specifically, the panellists representing some of the new countries covered under GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East, spoke about actions taken in their countries to criminalize, prosecute and more importantly prevent these crimes while also highlighting challenges faced when addressing TIP and SOM and the need for further cooperation. During her remarks, H.E. Ms Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel, Ambassador of Afghanistan said, "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and UNODC have already developed strong links of cooperation and partnership in several areas. GLO.ACT is a new opportunity to cooperate to counter human trafficking and migrant smuggling".

GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East builds on a global community of practice set in motion in the first phase of the project (2015-2019). This second phase of the project will continue to support governmental authorities and civil society in targeted, innovative, demand-driven and sustainable interventions.

The side event attracted a very large number of CCPCJ participants reaffirming a global interest and commitment to ending these crimes.

High level speakers included H.E. Mr. Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, Minister of Refugees and Repatriation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Ms. Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Permanent Representative of Colombia, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Baker Fattah Hussen, Permanent Representative of Iraq, and Ms. Carolina Barrio Peña, Specialized Prosecutor from Spain.

GLO.ACT is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to assist to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including assisting victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

Twitter:    @glo_act

To read Executive Director Yuri Fedetov's speech click here

Further information: